New Office - Server Room Updates #2


Jan 9, 2003
So I figured i'd start a new post for this because... we are done with our relay rack and on our way to finishing the main server rack.

The server rack doesnt have any wire management yet. We just threw the servers in tonight to see how loud it was. Whats VERY surprising is that our single PoE switch in our relay rack is louder then all of the servers + battery backups (combined). VERY strange. I figured the 2U servers would be very loud, as i know they can be very loud since I built them... but go figure.

Anyway we spent about 10-12 hours at the office today finishing the wiring. I worked on the wiring last week as you probably saw in my other post, but finished it today. I went with 2 25pair of wires for my phone system which saved a TON of time and a TON of space. Very glad I followed some suggestions from HardOCPr's on that. Anyway here are some pics from today:


Wiring up the phone wires (i used the 25th pair as a wire tie to keep wires together, worked great)




All equipment in... now we just need to wire in the patches (the top "blank" cover is actually a cover on my 4U shelf... which will house 2 cable modems for phones and then our Cisco/Ultra routers/modems for our internet)




We made a mess out of my workshop:


Back of server rack as we began installing servers. Im missing a few as they are in a live production environment right now and i can't take them down yet

Missing my Ghost server, which is in another office being used (top server is my HTPC for my office actually)

The bottom server is our DVR... which is why theres so many different ports. Dual video cards, dual 16 channel camera cards and other accessories)




Hooked up the wires to test things out


Not bad for a Saturdays worth of work. Tommorrow i'll go in and start wire management on the server rack and I need to start dropping some wires. I think i'll test out my HTPC in my office tomorrow with my TV.
Last edited:
Clean work, good stuff. I like those 2U cable management pieces with the box behind the rack for excess cable, who makes those?
Lookin good. What software do you guys run on your DVR`s? I am looking for a good alternative to our Panasonic DVR's and am always looking at what other people are running and how well it works.
GeoVision, at first it wasnt the best (years ago) but now they have SO MUCH stuff available its my #1 choice. Its really a pretty good manufacturer. We use them a lot in panic systems now... employee pulls panic button and a map of the facility shown on a security desk PC shows the floorplan and blinks in the room that went off. Cameras can auto pop-up also and we can trigger other things like alarms and lights... we can have a PTZ automatically move to the point where the panic went off, or move and then follow a person (which is really neat, it actually follows a persons gate, pretty cool).

Right now im up there wiring the back up with wire management bars. Ran out of bars so not much left to do, hooked up my audio system in my office. Sounds great. Sub isnt the best but it fits under my desk nicely.

I'd recommend GeoVision though, we're a dealer if you ever need pricing but theres lots of places to get them online. Just DONT buy from eBay there are a lot of knock-off/fake cards out there.

Yes used the neatpatch for our relay rack. Its pricey (bout $55) for each one, but in a relay rack you don't see the wires at the back, which is what the boss wanted. For other racks where i want to save money and don't care if you see wires (and for the most part you dont see the wires because the switches hover over them) i use what i call "cheap patches"

Half the price at $25 and have more plastic fingers then the neat patches (which i like because neat patch only has 16 fingers)
*nods* my boss had a bad experience with rack rails and from what i read in reviews for norcos products, they can be a pain to deal with. Servers are pretty light (sept for the bottom two) and hold up nicely. The 2U servers I use 2 screws (which is all they allow me i believe). For botom servers, 3 out of the 4... i had an alighment problem with a 3rd set, sooo total of 6 screws for each server
not sure I'm diggin the whitebox server's without rails, prefer using tier1 hardware, but your wiring is certainly nice. Good job!
*nods* my boss had a bad experience with rack rails and from what i read in reviews for norcos products, they can be a pain to deal with. Servers are pretty light (sept for the bottom two) and hold up nicely. The 2U servers I use 2 screws (which is all they allow me i believe). For botom servers, 3 out of the 4... i had an alighment problem with a 3rd set, sooo total of 6 screws for each server

Bad experience with rails? Please elaborate... I would think it would be the other way around. You are going to have a bad experience when pulling a server for maintenance without rails...
Bad experience meaning to put them together, lol. Pulling the servers out are easy. They come out very very easily. I actually just came back from a client about 10 minutes ago where I had to remove a 4U server. It was a server 2nd up from the bottom. Came out without a problem. Slid it right back in.

You have to remember, theres no empty space below servers. So when i undo the screws, the server doesnt actually move, as it rests on top of the other server when there are no screws. And i can slide it out with ease. Railse are therefore not needed, especially with the cases im using. They are 2U cases and are very slim, very light weight (a micro atx, PS, cd-rom drive and 1 Hd in each server... sept for one of the bottom 2U servers, that has i believe 2 hds in a raid 1 array) so the servers themselves are very light. They are no heavier then say 2 LCD monitors i'd imagine.

As far as the "whitebox servers" what do you mean whitebox servers??? And tier 1 hardware???

We're a small company of a dozen employees, lol. We use 1 server right now and decided for our new office we'd put a server in for everything.... so far heres what we went with (and its overkill we could have done with 1-2 servers sharing the load)

1) File Server
2) DVR
3) Backup Server (backs up clients data remotely)
4) Ghost Server (hosts my ghost files for ghosting my DVRs i build)
5) Application Server (we are developing our own software to make business stuff easier... leads/projects/accounting)
6) Web Server (its actually an in-house test server for our web guy, so he can test stuff before making it live)
7) Keyscan server (our access control system, it also will house software for a Topaz access control system, 1 single database is all thats being stored here, but we wanted it seperate)
8) My HTPC
9) Vital Signs (this is our DVR monitoring software, we monitor client DVRs to let us know if things go down, cameras go out, space is low, etc...)

Each one I custom built... micro atx processors running dual-core (not even core2 needed). Each one cost me sub $400... can't beat it really for our needs.
not sure I'm diggin the whitebox server's without rails, prefer using tier1 hardware, but your wiring is certainly nice. Good job!

I have to agree with Adam on this one. Small company (less then 20 users) doesn't require enterprise class OEM hardware. For instance a simple HP proliant ML150 or DL320 start at around $1000 and has way more power then what Adam said he needs. For $400 a box you get much better value to money not to mention he is on site so if something dies, just overnight a new part from newegg or CDW or better yet if its something you can pick up from the local PC shop its that much faster.

On the flip side as an MSP if I were selling a company like this hardware I would be selling DL320 or 360G6 boxes from HP (or Poweredge 1950 if you prefer dell) because as a off site IT provider it is easier to call HP and have them replace the part as part of the support contract then to order a part from newegg, get the customer to approve the invoice, and then wait for the part to ship, go on site, and replace the part myself. So it is all about your situation.
^I'll agree with this and I'll wager it's exactly the same reason why he doesn't have big dollar network gear. If you don't need the high end stuff, it's a poor decision to waste the dough on it.
^I'll agree with this and I'll wager it's exactly the same reason why he doesn't have big dollar network gear. If you don't need the high end stuff, it's a poor decision to waste the dough on it.

Exactly, not to mention going with those netgears at about $200 a pop over Dell Powerconnect 5424s or HP procurve 2824s starting at around $1100 each saves a huge amount of money. Even if you went with simple web managed Powerconnect 2824s or Procurve1810G-24s your still looking at $500+ a switch and the extra performance is questionable. So long as they will do jumbo packet, they are gigabit, and maybe even STP depending on the network layout it is good enough for me. Hell they don't even need to support LACP (though it would be nice).

And as a side note with all the money you save by not buying more then you need you can do things like buy higher quality racks, better patch panels and cable management, a KVM with more options, justify buying 2x 24" monitors for your office etc. Your network isn't defined by how much you spent, but what you spent it on, and to me it looks like Adam has his head in all the right places.
For my customers I put dell servers in. For my network, build it myself. Why would I pay someone else for a server at 2-3x the price when I can build it myself. We're taking a little gamble on our file server, but we're on site so if something dies, i walk outside my office door and into my server room to fix it.

I have one client I build servers for, tis the massive 30 monitor setup. But they are local to me and i can support them better. Plus at 27 computers we're putting in, its a lot of savings and they only need simple machines to monitor alarms and what not.

I went with a dell rack. For the money it was a good buy. A middle atlantic rack similar would have cost about 300-400 extra. We went with a Norco KVM actually, so far not too bad. Its a little stiff but i mean im not gonna complain. It doesnt slide out as far as the dell i've used but its fine for our needs.

I run dual 19" on my desktop. 4 17" lcds on my work bench. Rack has a 19" slide out.

We're spending money on the audio/visual... to put it lightly... we spent $400 on each server... but we spent about $3500 on light switches. Yes switches, the things that turn lighths on/off. ANd im not talking like 200+ switches, we have maybe 20 offices.

Each switch was about $60 each though. They are scene control switches that use the zwave (i think its zwave) technology, so we can control every light switch in any room from a computer or our alarm system, or iPhones... THATS where we're spending money on that stuff.
Amazing wiring job and your office sounds really cool. I have never had to wire a phone system yet, but everywhere we work that has had one done by someone else is so sloppy compared to yours, it makes me weep. :p

With the DVRs I imagine you work at some sort of security company?
Our company... lol. We install DVR's, access control, security systems, panic systems. We also do custom programming, web development, IT services (networks, wiring, computer support), as well as home automation.
I setup my IR receiver/extender tonight... also wired some more stuff up in the rack... some videos and photos:

My "HTPC" (realy an OTPC, office theater pc)... in a nice custom made rack mount shelf

Wired in 2 of the bottom servers (even though one is coming out tomorrow to get a new motherboard)

My receivers at the top... crappy photos taken from my iPhone

Testing my TV in my office (32" LG... thinking of upgrading it to a larger size, but i got it for $399 on black friday cant beat that, 1080p)

Video of rack:!/video/video.php?v=1294130508772

Video of me testing out HTPC:!/video/video.php?v=1294128908732

Video of me playing with KVM:!/video/video.php?v=1294125228640
First vid has privs issues, that TV looks wonky! Would love to have a chance to start from scratch on our office
Dunno what wonky is... lol

Permissions fixed on the videos.

Our conference room has nothing in it but wires right now, lol. But it'll be nice when its done.
Finally got my DVR up and running. Had to switch motherboards... heres a shot of the back of it... every single spot is filled:



From left to right...

PTZ controller card (with green thingy)
16 Channel DVR Card #1
Video Card (Rack monitor + my office [via hdmi])
Video Card (Boss's computer + conference room/sales [via hdmi splitter])
16 Channel Audio Input Card
16 Channel DVR Card #2
16 Channel Output card (vga cable goes to my workshop and then i can test customer DVRs with my own cameras)
Thats one crazy machine :) ... by wonky I mean the LCD doesnt seem 'level' in the pics
Great job overall, especially on the wiring. My rack at home is nowhere near that clean!

But I agree with the others that you put the money in the right places. If you can get away with saving a buck on using standard desktop equipment instead of expensive server grade stuff, go for it.
Heres some of the panels we started putting up this weekend:


Left (from top): HAI Panel (automation/alarm), HAI Panel (automation/alarm), HAI Panel (automation/alarm), GE Topaz Panel (Access Control)
Middle (from top): Power Box, Power Box (for PTZ cameras), Equipment panel (various things in here), equipment panel (16 channel input/output box going to DVR), equipment panel (coax connectors, etc...),
Right (from top): 16 channel power box (for door strikes and PTE/RTE buttons), power box (ties into fire alarm, for our mag lock), Keyscan panel (access control, 8 doors), keyscan panel (access control, 2 doors)

Still have to mount the phone system equipment

I should mention not one wire can be seen... all wires go through holes behind panels into open space behind wall. we put double sheet rock up and plywood... so its basically SHEETROCK > PLYWOOD > SHEETROCK
very nice, looking at your pictures brings back so many fond memories of the office build out i did in 08. our alarm/camera installation only had 4 boxes though to deal with.
Cable lines ran:



The 5 way splitter has a direct line right to our cable in (our cable in comes from the pole, directly to a big ole box... cablevision engineer told us we basically have fiber optic coming in, cant get any better quality)... but the 5 way splitter is for our 2 cable modems (4 phones on each) and the 3rd line goes to our ultra service.

the 8 way splitter again comes from a 2nd feed from cable company box and then out to tv's throughthout the office..
i'll take a picture of the cable box tomorrow so you guys can see the thing they have installed and the lines coming in, its quite need.
Heres some new photos from last night. We're moving in this weekend. We had to take apart our nice relay rack because the switches are all known to have problems, so we're RMA'ing them. We also had to run phone lines temporarily for our offices till we move perm.







Whole setup is lovely, got enough remotes on your desk there? lol.

Love the look of the conference room too, just a shame about the tiled ceiling :(
Its nice ceiling tile actually. Yes i have enough remotes, working on the harmonys programming now. Its being a bit quirky lately but i have other things to worry about then the programming of it.

Heres a photo after i got some blinds in, just put a table in also today but no photo yet

How/where did you run the wiring to the conference room table? (I'm assuming it's wired)

I'm planning a move in less than a year... we will be contracting most of it out because I am a one-man-show IT department, but just looking at all this makes me say "what have I gotten myself into" :p

Your office is very nice! Hope you have a chair mat under that chair. I am working on getting a window office when we move... right now I'm in the middle of the floor with no windows.