[Beowulf] Q: Cooling units? Raised floors? General machine room stuff..

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Mon Jul 5 06:23:39 PDT 2004

On Fri, 2 Jul 2004, John Hearns wrote:

> On Fri, 2 Jul 2004, Jim Lux wrote:
> > >   Secondly, given this is a rather small machine room (aiming for a max
> > > capacity of 5 42U racks), what advantage would be found in going with a
> > > raised floor?  And does anyone have any cost estimates on raised floors
> > > for rooms on the order of, say, 15' by 15'?
> > 
> > Kind of depends on how you're arranging the racks.  If you've got them all
> > side by side in the middle of the room (so the cold air comes in the front
> > and blows out the back of a "wall o'racks") the raised floor probably isn't
> > worth it.  You'll have plenty of room on both the front and back for cable
> > trays, etc.  Raised floors are handy if you have rows and rows of racks, or
> I tend to agree. Raised floors are of course the business in a large 
> computer room.
> I've recently though seen one new server room at a university in England 
> which I rather liked. 
> Cable trays installed above the racks, suspended from the ceiling using
> Unistrut. The cable trays were (if I'm not wrong) open metal work types
> (think of supermarket baskets, not metal trays).
> For mains, commando type sockets coming down from above, about a foot 
> above the rear of the racks.
> I'd try that - just convince your sparkies (*) to run the mains 
> distribution along the ceiling to commando sockets.

This is not unlike our layout.  You can take a look at it via a virtual
tour on http://www.phy.duke.edu/brahma/brahma_tour.php.

As an added bonus, the tour begins with a rare photo of Seth Vidal,
author (along with Michael Stenner) of yum, looking grumpy.  Seth is
looking grumpy because I am photographing him, which annoys him.
Putting his photo on the tour annoys him even more, so I take especial
pains to point him out.  Snicker snicker.

The photo for the CHAMP cluster, for example, clearly illustrates a
topdown fed power pole, an overhead open cable tray, and (in the top
foreground) an overhead AC delivery/return for the long room.  Other
photos later detail parts of the infrastructure, although the tour is
already old enough that it misses e.g. the four post rack with the three
opteron mini-clusters in it, the much neater workbench, and a few other
useful amenities (rolling monitor cart, for example).  I have pictures
of some of this stuff if I ever dig them out, shrink them to the right
resolution, and add them to the tour.

Hi ho, hi ho...


> (*) english slang for electricians
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Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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