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Datashack Update - Shelves!

Posted 01-01-2015 at 11:06 PM by ttk

I finally got around to hanging a couple of shelves in the Datashack, and I don't think the crazy person who constructed the building used proper 2x4 studs. The shelf brackets had holes on either side, about an inch apart, and I had to toe-in the screws pretty hard to get both of them to bite into stud. They must have used 1x4's or 1x2's or some other wacky thing.

Anyway, two shelves are in, and the equipment on that side of the building is on them (though I need to figure out something better for the power cord .. probably a power strip or two. But at least it's not all sprawled out on crates anymore!)



The wall-mounted black box on the wall is the WebPower network-controlled power strip. Right now the only thing plugged into it is the air conditioner, so when it gets too warm in there the gateway can turn it on, but it will also power the Pocket Cluster's cabinet when that's set back up. The black thing on the top shelf is the ethernet switch for that side of the room. It's got a cable going to the WebPower, another going to the gateway below it, and that white cable disappearing off the left side of the picture is reaching over to the other side of the building, where it goes into the ethernet switch feeding Beater (a desktop system), Typhon, Atlas, and the Pocket Cluster nodes I'm working on there.

On the lower shelf is the old laptop acting as the Datashack's gateway. Its battery is still good for maybe an hour, so it's somewhat resilient to power outages. It also bridges the networks (the one in the Datashack and the one in the main house), and runs the software that monitors the air temperature and controls the air conditioner. The air conditioner is set to "on" and "max cool", so when the WebPower is instructed to turn on the power outlet it's plugged into, it will run full-out until the WebPower turns it back off.

Eventually the Pocket Cluster (ten computers), Typhon (the home fileserver), and Atlas (which will be replacing the ciar.org web/mail server) will also be powered via the WebPower unit, so I'll be able to turn them on and off remotely, from the house or from my office at work.

The Datashack may or may not be where Atlas lives permanently. I need to either figure out a colocation service nearby, or put a lot more work into the Datashack to make it a suitable replacement. Pacific Online moved the existing ciar.org server into XO's datacenter in Fremont (two hours away from home) and got out of the colocation business, and I'd really like the server to be close enough to easily visit.

My employer provides colocation services, but they're kind of pricey, and while they may give me a break while I'm an employee, I'm loathe to depend on that in the long term.

Another solution may be to use a virtual instance (via gandi.net or similar) for the mission-critical ciar.org services, and host secondary services and bulk web data on Atlas in the Datashack. That way if we lose power or connectivity at home, and the UPS runs out of juice, the main web services and email will keep running (on the virtual instance), and we'll only lose those services which we really want to host on our own hardware. I'm still mulling things over.

Also, I'm still trying to figure out a blog replacement for LQ's blogging service. Blosxom looks promising. I'll update here with a link when I've settled on a solution.
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