General Question

haegenschlatt's avatar

How to hook up a server room?

Asked by haegenschlatt (122points) February 7th, 2010

I’ve heard of server rooms grown out of spare computers. I am computer-savvy but don’t know much about how server rooms are set up. I do have a spare machine running a web server that stores personal files, but it’s a very simple setup and I’m interested in learning more advanced stuff.

Could someone please tell me, from beginning to end, how to a server room is set up? I’m talking about the stereotypical server rooms you see, such as this one here:

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11 Answers

Tenpinmaster's avatar

Well you first need to set up a LAN ( Local Area Network ). You can do that by use of an Router. A router is a way for the computers to share resources with each other, and share the same internet connection between all of them.

The kind you see in peoples houses really compose of routers (or local hubs), ethernet cabling, computers (or 1 PC acting as a server), and more advanced ones may have RAID storage. RAID provides redundant backup for data.

I use my walk in closet as a server room. I have a file server in a corner with a wireless and wired routers inter-connected. This allows me to have wifi and wired connections with my systems. The server rooms that large businesses have are built are full of computers that utilize hot swappable drives and are mounted on racks. At the company I work at we process alarm signals so we have a lot of alarm receivers (which process incoming calls from alarm panels), and dozens of mounted computers which handle the database end.

haegenschlatt's avatar

Thank you very much, but after setting up the LAN, how should I configure the computers? I don’t have any real servers but I have a few spare computers that I wish to use.

Also, we already have a router in place as our house’s network. If I were to connect a router to this one (that is, router 1 is the one already in place, router 2 is connected as a client of router 1) would I need any special configuration?

Tenpinmaster's avatar

Well, depends on what you want your network to do. If you just want simple file sharing, the router will do all the leg work. If you have a PC network using windows, all you have to do is enable file sharing on your hard drives and you will be able to share resources between systems.

The router will auto configure for the most part. In your case having multiple routers will allow you to add more computers if you filled up all the ports on one router. I guess you really don’t need more then 1 router unless you need more port space.

Are you planning on doing anything special with your network?

dpworkin's avatar

You don’t need multiple routers, you just need switches and an AP.

haegenschlatt's avatar

@Tenpinmaster I’m talking about creating a web server, using a few computers together.

To all: Why would a server room have multiple servers? What is the purpose of having multiple ones?

Tenpinmaster's avatar

@dpworkin No you don’t but you can use them if you already have them available to expand your network. Otherwise yes, you are right.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

Well companies have lots of computers that either act for redundancy, or perform different tasks. For example, my company has server computers for their database, their telephony, their call recording storage, web / internet, storage for the various work groups.

phoebusg's avatar

Well, a room is a room. So what makes one a server room?
UPS, a large one. You can make a hacked version using car batteries – and make the servers run for days without outside power. The temperature needs to be low, and stable at that. No dust, don’t hang or sleep in said room (skin-> dust). De-humidifier. Some security… mm what else. Of course network switches, if you want to do it proper light switches and fiber. But you’ll never get to that at home so a gigabit switch will do.

Should be all. I’m sure there’s plenty of lists out there or info. Have fun with your server room! (I took mine down, now I just have 3 laptops and a desktop :P).

Tenpinmaster's avatar

@phoebusg Oh yes, UPS backup! Most Def! Gotta ramp up security too! Good points!

haegenschlatt's avatar

Perhaps I should have worded this better.

If I were to start a web hosting service out of a few spare computers, how would I set it up?

phoebusg's avatar

You need a T1 at least or similar connection. (Same downstream with upstream.) I once ran a service on 2 cable modems with an interesting yet legal hack – but doubt you could do that today.
You need to make sure the parts/hardware is stable.
You will need a stable OS for hosting (I’ve always used linux or freebsd) – depends on your preference.
It is a good idea to have a user control panel for them to do most of the configuration of their account themselves, also to manage accounts and what not (billing etc) – you can look into – or commercial solutions – cpanel, plex etc.
Find a list of common services and configurations you need to provide – just looking at any webhost like (They are one of the reasons I’m not into hosting anymore ;)

What is absolutely essential is having a daily (or less) backup system. With retention of at least a month. I used to use tapes. Daily tape, weekly tape, monthly tape etc. See what’s available right now. Make sure you know how to recover things from backups etc.

Always keep everything up to date. There’s plenty of attack scripts out there running non-stop ;) (Got to love script-kiddies etc)

I assume you’re doing this for fun and learning, or personal hosting/friends family stuff like that.

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