For a long time I have looked at a row of server boxes, sitting on a table, in the kitchen of my work. They were exposed to people, they were exposed to potential accidents. When we were remodeling our kitchen one of the owners said: I want one of those sprayers so we can wash our dishes. So I made reference to where that sprayer might be pointed if for some reason something bad happened. he turned around and saw the row of servers. Now we had two projects on our hands. Finish the kitchen… and design a server rack!
Server racks are readily available, if you have rack mounted servers! Unfortunately we had all individual towers and this posed a challenge. We needed to be able to house at least 7 servers plus battery backups and some other odds and ends! All of this needed to stay cool but protected. So I spent a little time in Sketchup and was able to put together a plan. Once I acquired materials I set to work putting this thing together. Most of these projects take nearly as much time cutting as they do building. So after quite a bit of time on the band saw I was left with this pile of steel.
Assembly of the chassis of this server rack was pretty simple, keep everything square and get it all tacked up. Once I got all the welds on it I started assembling my secret ingredients. I used a sheet of perforated steel and used my bead roller to put some details in the sides. These details not only make the steel stiff, but they also just give it a little more of that quality custom look.
This thing is big. I mean really big, it is certainly able to fit in our building with no issues, but in order to accomodate these servers it is tall and heavy. With a sheet metal top to protect in case of a roof leak in the building, perforated steel sides and heavy duty casters it was no joke getting this into a uhaul to get it moved up to its final resting place.
Finally, once installed I picked up a piece of smoked acrylic sheet and fit it as a door for the front. This gives it some protection where the perforated steel sides, shelves and open back give it great cooling.
This thing is heavy duty and solidly protects all of our servers. Next step. Rewire the whole building.
10/15/2016 update: I finally got around to rewiring the server rack, all wires in and out of our DSL and Cable modem (redundant systems and backups) The word on the street is 15% increase in speed. I discovered a few pretty incredibly old wires as well which really made me think that we dodged a bullet. If one of those wires failed I am certain we would have had massive problems and who knows how long it would have taken to figure it out. The system is entirely on Cat6 cabling now which replaced all cat 5 cabling.