July 5 2012

Network Upgrade At Our Office

Posted on the 10:30 am under Monthly News,Network Management by Darren Boyer

Lenovo RDS240 Server with IBM X3650

New Lenovo RD240 Server on top and IBM 3650 Server on bottom with blanking panels between servers

Patch Panel, Switch, Modems, Data Cabling, Router, Firewall

Network Equipment with cabinet door off. Patch panel was ran to the front of server cabinet and 24 port switch installed underneath. Eastlink modem and Skyway DSL modem both connected to Fortinet 60C Universal Threat Management appliance. (Two internet providers provides higher uptime.)

New Lenovo RD240 Server in rack

New Lenovo RD240 Server on top and IBM 3650 Server on bottom with blanking panels between servers

A recent upgrade of the servers and network infrastructure at our office was designed to help accommodate data growth and processing power requirements. We also wanted to add a production server on new hardware and use the existing server as a lab or testing environment. With a new server the lab could more easily be kept on a completely segregated network. It was also fun to say our existing server was 3 years old and we wanted some new toys…..but there were some legitimate business reasons for the upgrade as well.
The fastest hardware we could find
The new Lenovo RD240 is a great combination of engineering quality, speed, and functionality. The Xeon E645 processors have a speed rating of 2.4 GHz and 6 CPU cores. We installed 2 of these processors. Next we added 32GB of RAM and 6 300 GB 15000rpm SAS hard drives in a RAID 50 array with Battery Backup Write Cache on the RAID controller. This design is to be used to support 2-4 virtual machines. Initially each server Operating System will operate with 1 dedicated processor and 16GB of RAM. We also added 2 extra network cards for a total of 6 Gigabit network ports. As we go from 2 server Operating Systems to 4 each server will have it’s own dedicated network port with 1 port dedicated to the Hyper-V host system. For a company needing 2-4 servers we believe this is one of the fastest hardware combinations that can be designed. RAID 60 hard drives would be slightly faster but we chose to go with RAID 50 for the extra storage delivered.
Loud and Hot
The first thing we noticed was that the 2 servers running at the same time in our server room was that it was very loud. So loud it affected the whole office even when the doors were closed to the room. If the increase in noise is due to the internal thermometers detecting too high of a temperature and increasing the fan speed we are prepared. We added an APC network management card with external temperature sensor to alert us when the heat is just too high. If the heat remains above the recommended thresholds we will have to buy either a dedicated ac unit for the server room or a lower cost air flow system to move enough air out of the server room.
A New Rack
Our new server was also installed in a new APC SX Rack Enclosure. The new rack is mounted on wheels and even though it is very heavy rolling it is not a problem. (Getting it onto the 2nd floor when it was shipped required 4 men to push and pull over 1 stair at a time – this was a problem.) We also have 3 shelves to mount our backup server, network equipment, and test equipment. The rest of the server will be filled with blanking panels. These panels are mean to force air flow from the front of the rack to the back and out of the top of the rack. With the new rack it is also great knowing that the all of the equipment can be kept under lock and key. A locked cabinet makes it that much harder for someone breaking into our office to walk away with any electronic assets.

Written by Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer is the founder and president of pcit.

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