Locating backup server in detached garage - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-02-2013, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi All

I just bought a new 4U rackmount chassis to replace my current HP microserver. I currently have about 8TB of storage (about to increase). All my critical data is backed up with crashplan.

I want to locate my old server in my detached, uninsulated, wooden garage (Chicago), so that in event of burglary/fire, I still have a local copy of my data, which will save weeks of ripping. Obviously, it gets very cold in winter and very hot in summer. Anyone got any ideas of how I could house the server and keep the temperature OK.

My thoughts so far:

Build a small enclosure to house the server and UPS. Put two layers of R19 insulation around it. Would the heat from server and UPS keep the internal temp warm enough?

In summer run some ducting with a fan to the roof vent

Anyone done anything crazy like this?

Regards

mark
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-02-2013, 10:16 PM
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The cold will likely wouldn't be an issue. If needed, simply sealing the rack and possibly insulating as you noted would suffice. But the summer heat could be a huge hurdle. A fan circulating ambient air that is 90+ degrees isn't going help much.
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-02-2013, 10:42 PM
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Heat is the killer for electronics, not cold, so in a cool environment like a garage, your server will be fine, provided you make sure it's in a dust free environment. Mine is in a temporary cabinet in the garage, but I'm building a new one with air filtering on the door and top to allow for better airflow, and the cabinet will be up on the wall to keep it further away from floor dust.

If the garage gets hot in summer/hotter weather, you'll need to do something to keep the temps down. When installed look at the CPU temps and make sure they're not unhealthy and if necessary, do something about it. The duct sounds like a good idea, perhaps with an inline fan to draw lots of air past the chassis in warmer weather. To save power, have it thermostat controlled.
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-03-2013, 02:11 AM
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Yeah I see the hot summer months being a problem, esentially you are trying to cope with two extremes in a way that preferably doesn;t require you to make changes every spring and autumn.

Actually I would have said that thermal variance was as much a killer as heat, espescially rapid and frequent changes, because the cycles of thermally induced expansion does things like encouraging cracks to form in circuit boards.

In the very cold environment, the electronics will keep themselves warm enough so long as they are running - but they won't in sleep mode. The cold in itself should therefore represent no problem, but the repeated cycles of going from very cold to the heat generated during working time could, over a long period.

Obviously, in the very hot summer months, it becomes a simple issue of overheating, with possible solutions outlines above.
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-03-2013, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Heat is the killer for electronics, not cold, so in a cool environment like a garage, your server will be fine, provided you make sure it's in a dust free environment. Mine is in a temporary cabinet in the garage, but I'm building a new one with air filtering on the door and top to allow for better airflow, and the cabinet will be up on the wall to keep it further away from floor dust.
.

Is your garage air conditioned or doesn't it get that hot?
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-03-2013, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebiroth View Post

Actually I would have said that thermal variance was as much a killer as heat, espescially rapid and frequent changes, because the cycles of thermally induced expansion does things like encouraging cracks to form in circuit boards.
The changes aren't rapid, more gradual as the seasons change. High thermal gradients over minutes can be an issue.

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Is your garage air conditioned or doesn't it get that hot?
Moderate climate here and no a/c.
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post #7 of 16 Old 11-04-2013, 08:19 AM
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Have you looked into water cooling the PC? I initially thought that would be the most efficient way to get rid of the heat. Winter time shouldn't be a problem as stated.

JAB

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post #8 of 16 Old 11-04-2013, 10:51 AM
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Water cooling is good if you have a cooler place to put the radiator, but it won't help that much if the radiator is in a +100F environment

There was a long argument about places to locate servers in the Linux forum a couple months back that led to a valuable member (quantumstate) leaving the forums altogether and deleting a whole bunch of their previously very helpful posts. The basis for that argument was geographically different summers. Qstate seemed to indicate their summer in Michigan never reached scorching heats

What is a record high in Chicago for summer time?

I'm truly asking, because the attics and non-a/c garage temperatures around me in the summer time can reach 130-140 easily. Not record days, but week over week. If your summer peaks at +70F or even hits 80 for a brief time during the day you'd probably be okay. If you live in the sunbelt, it's a horrible idea. I don't really know what it's like in Chicago, but if it's a rare one day event that temps spill over 80 then you shouldn't have much to worry about. Shutting down on a record day may not be a bad idea.
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-04-2013, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Water cooling is good if you have a cooler place to put the radiator, but it won't help that much if the radiator is in a +100F environment

There was a long argument about places to locate servers in the Linux forum a couple months back that led to a valuable member (quantumstate) leaving the forums altogether and deleting a whole bunch of their previously very helpful posts. The basis for that argument was geographically different summers. Qstate seemed to indicate their summer in Michigan never reached scorching heats

What is a record high in Chicago for summer time?

I'm truly asking, because the attics and non-a/c garage temperatures around me in the summer time can reach 130-140 easily. Not record days, but week over week. If your summer peaks at +70F or even hits 80 for a brief time during the day you'd probably be okay. If you live in the sunbelt, it's a horrible idea. I don't really know what it's like in Chicago, but if it's a rare one day event that temps spill over 80 then you shouldn't have much to worry about. Shutting down on a record day may not be a bad idea.

My garage ahs hit over 130 on very hot days. Actual temp can be high 90's (2 days this year)
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post #10 of 16 Old 11-04-2013, 02:39 PM
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My garage ahs hit over 130 on very hot days. Actual temp can be high 90's (2 days this year)
If you'd put that in the OP it would have been helpful.
Don't run the PC in an ambient of 130F. You'll need to place it elsewhere if those are the temps, or turn it off on days predicted to cause those sorts of temps in there.
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post #11 of 16 Old 11-05-2013, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post


If you'd put that in the OP it would have been helpful.
Don't run the PC in an ambient of 130F. You'll need to place it elsewhere if those are the temps, or turn it off on days predicted to cause those sorts of temps in there.

 

This, or keep the server inside a closed AC controlled enclosure. 

I´m also interested in how cold does it get there? Hard drivers dont strive well in the cold, so anything under 75F can cause issues in the long run.

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post #12 of 16 Old 11-05-2013, 03:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hemmiandra View Post

This, or keep the server inside a closed AC controlled enclosure. 


I´m also interested in how cold does it get there? Hard drivers dont strive well in the cold, so anything under 75F can cause issues in the long run.
I want it out of the main building in case of fire/flood/burglary (unlikely, or at leas less likely) that both structures will be destroyed/burgled
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post #13 of 16 Old 11-05-2013, 09:35 AM
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I want it out of the main building in case of fire/flood/burglary (unlikely, or at leas less likely) that both structures will be destroyed/burgled

Surely the garage is more likely to suffer from fire or burglary than your house.

David
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post #14 of 16 Old 11-05-2013, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Surely the garage is more likely to suffer from fire or burglary than your house.

David

Unlikely, (much more stuff to steal in a house and much more stuff to start fires: electrical, gas, etc.) but don't care either way, as long as BOTH don't get burgled and BOTH servers are stolen; or both structures don't burn down (would have to be a BIG fire).

After a few months (hopefully), the entire media collection will have backed up to Crashplan (my important data is already there). I will make sure my meta data gets priority in the media backups too.
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post #15 of 16 Old 11-05-2013, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Heat is the killer for electronics, not cold...
Actually cold (and Chicago cold at that) is bad for a number of reasons:
1. Moving things like fans and disks don't like cold (creates more friction)
2. Large temperature variations are bad as they cause things to expand and contract with greater amplitude

Flexible RAID:
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post #16 of 16 Old 11-05-2013, 05:32 PM
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Actually cold (and Chicago cold at that) is bad for a number of reasons:
1. Moving things like fans and disks don't like cold (creates more friction)
I was speaking about the electronics (semiconductors) which basically halve their life for every 10*C increase.
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2. Large temperature variations are bad as they cause things to expand and contract with greater amplitude
Of course. But what is the temperature gradient over a given day? Remember there is a fan or other cooler moderating the higher temps so the gradients will be slower and more gradual, which is why I suggested watching the CPU temps and making a decision on that basis.
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