hardware layout

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Now I have purchased my hardware and know how big each piece is, I can figure out how they can best be placed.

what it is

I came up with the rack and desk diagrams below. They show the hardware layout, in a way that is halfway between the squished reality of my shed and a network topology diagram.

Most of the computers fit on the rack. Their placement is shown in the diagram below. Placement is partly decided because I ended up with more desktop-layout base units than tower ones and this is the only way I could get them to fit.

LIC topography: computers on the rack and desk
table rack tight fit

In addition to the rack I have a desk with a KVM set on it. This KVM set is attached to the KVM switch.

stack the rack

  • each IBM PC is either a mini tower or desktop base unit. Each one has the tag "PC:" below.
  • each PDU (Power Distribution Board) is a mains extension lead.
  • kbd. is an abbreviation of keyboard, part of a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) set.
  • Each piece of hardware is given a name. A hardware name is based on a host name. All host names in the LIC are five characters long.
LIC topography: computers on the rack
      pdu01                     pdu04        
      ifw01   ics01   cup01   ces01   cks01     cvm01   xcl01   xup01   xks01        
      pdu02                     pdu05        
      ifw02   ics02   cup02   ces02   cks02     cvm02   xcl02                
      pdu03                     pdu06        
      ifw03   ics03   cup03   ces03   cks03     cvm03                    

This gives me plenty of room to store computers. I put the shared stuff in the middle and the computers at the edge. There is space on the rack to add more computers later, and free power sockets to plug them into.

The PCs on the left are the brain of the LIC. The two PCs on the right, xcl01 and xcl02, are external to the LIC.

The diagram shows

  • 8 PCs
  • 3 ethernet switches
  • 3 KVM switches
  • 3 video monitors
  • 3 UPSs
  • 6 PDUs


The desk contains no less than four keyboards and four mice. There is also a monitor, plugged into a spare socket on PDU01.

I have a limited amount of space. The problem of arranging four keyboards is a git. There's no feeling quite like realising you typed your file purge commands on the wrong keyboard.

LIC topography: hardware on the desk
  LIC kbd.: ckb01 LIC mouse: cms01      
  LIC kbd.: ckb02 LIC mouse: cms02    
  LIC kbd.: ckb03 LIC mouse: cms03  
  LIC kbd.: xkb01 external mouse: xms01  

One 2 port KVM switch xks01 connects the KVM set sits on my desk (video monitor xvm01, keyboard xkb01 and mouse xms01) to the PCs external to the LIC: xcl01 pretends to be the Internet and xcl02 pretends to be the enterprise.