I’ve been working full time in IT for about 20 years now, and I’ve had computers at home for a little over 30 years. My personal interests and passions sometimes lead me to getting a bit carried away. There was one point in my life where I had over 300 computers in a 1,500 square foot house. Yes, really.
After the pain of moving several times, tearing down and rebuilding the home lab, it got to be too much. I tired of $1,000 electricity bills every month. I tired of the noise, the heat. And when I moved back from Pennsylvania to North Carolina about 10 years ago, I distributed 99% of my hardware to the winds and didn’t take it with me.
The industry has changed tremendously in the last 10 years, as IT is wont to do. The skills I use today bear superficial resemblance to those I had to bring to bear back then. And I’m learning so much of it on the job now. This has led me to a good bit of frustration, knowing I have to focus on delivering value to my employer even if that means I can’t dive as deeply into something new as I’d like, or take a little extra time to really deeply grok a new thing.
The homelab was always great for this. I dare say I had, for many years, a more impressive and resilient infrastructure in my house than I was ever allowed to create for any of my employers. It worked, it worked well, and there was a certain pride in good engineering work that went with it all. I kind of miss it. Even the heat and the whining fans.
So today I drove down to Cary, North Carolina in my Subaru Forester to pick up a Dell PowerEdge 2420 rack enclosure. Dell did a good job of putting specifications on their web site, and I found similar measurements of the cargo bay of my 2012 Subaru Forester (though through an enthusiast web site and not via Subaru themselves). Well, it was going to be a snug fit, but it was going to fit. I hardly believe it myself. I think there was also some doubt on Twitter.
@Magnus919 Gotta be honest. I really expected that to fail. Well done
— Carl Caum (@ccaum) February 2, 2014
Wow. It fit. But like the numbers suggested, there was only a small buffer of space between the rack and the hard limits of the cargo capacity of the Forester.
Here’s what the 2420 looks like when it’s not in the bowels of a Subaru:
Before I can get it into my house, though, I’ve got a 55 gallon aquarium to dismantle and move into storage. It’s sitting where the rack is going to go.
I’ve also got a server to put into this rack. I’ll tell you more about that in the next go-around.