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Because I’m a nerd.

Because I’m a nerd, I have a huge desire to go over the top and build an internal home network at my apartment.  Being honest, the goal of the project is mostly to get off of Comcast’s gear and on to my own modem and router. Why am I doing it? Well, I want to make a storage PC, Minecraft / other games server.

Now, I’ll discuss where I will begin this project. The first thing I will need to do for this project is to pick a server cabinet size. Picking a server cabinet will help me know how much space I have to fit all the components I would need in my system. The best solution for this I think would be to make my own custom rack out of wood and then build in soundproofing. I’m thinking of making the cabinet 18U tall. The first component I want is a 2U high patch panel, so I can expand in the future patch panels, which are only a few extra dollars.

The next step would be to get a PoE switch to connect the servers, modem, and access points. Another important piece of hardware is a firewall. I would probably buy a Watchguard Firebox X series firewall and put Pfsense on it. Pfsense is an open source firewall, DNS server, VPN endpoint, and more.

Next in line will be the first server, I think I’ll use an 1U Minecraft / game server. I would buy a retired data center server, most of their servers are still strong and reliable, but also affordable machines. I’m thinking about getting a Dell PowerEdge 2950 Server with dual Xeon processors and 16gb of ram. That should be more than plenty to handle any game on the market. 

Last of the servers would be a 4U network attached storage. I would want to build it myself or get a 45 Drive NAS built. I want to have enough storage so I can backup every computer on the network every night, in the case of hard drive failure. Having a system like this would be nice to store larger video files, music samples, midi, and old projects of mine.

The left over space at the bottom is a 2U uninterruptible power supply. UPS are a backup battery that kicks in when the power goes out and can be programmed to turn off the servers safely. These will help because when servers turn off incorrectly they can lose data or even corrupt data. UPS gives the servers clean power, which is also nice. Why? Because power from outlets fluctuate which can harm the power supply pf the system. But the main reason I want a UPS is so I still can have Internet when the power is out. The UPS can run the access points, switch, and modem for up to five hours. UPS running whole cabinet can last for 45 minutes, which is still pretty awesome.

Now, if any of this is over your head, I apologize. I hope all of you nerds out there appreciate this and share as much excitement as I do with this build out as I am hoping to soon turn this vision into a reality.