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Thread: Server rack suggestions?

  1. #1
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    Server rack suggestions?

    Has anyone purchased a new or used server rack to hold all their gear in their home labs? I'm looking into something in the 22U to 24U size to put in my basement. I'd like it to have side panels and possibly room for a power strip or two. I've seen people in forums recommend for local craigslist sales (which I'll search for) but I'm curious if there are any recommended brands from past experience or places to buy them? Any things to watch out for?

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    Fixture ddrueding's Avatar
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    Really happy with the APC racks, but they are some of the most expensive. I have a cheap 42U 4-poster in the living room at home, no brand or anything. I will be getting rid of it in the next few months, but shipping to you would cost more than a local rack.
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  3. #3
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    I like the APC racks we have in our lab but like you said they tend to be expensive from the limited searching I've done on them. I also can't easily fit a full 42U in my basement...well, maybe I could but I really don't need that much space. Another rack company that I've seem recommended is Rack Solutions. They are also a bit on the expensive side once I spec out a 24U rack with the options. Once configured, it's around $960.

  4. #4
    Storage? I am Storage! blakerwry's Avatar
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    I'd watch out for older racks (stuff 10+ years old) if you plan to install servers. Many new servers are too deep for them, and a lot of the old racks don't provide room for cable management. Newer stuff from APC, Tripp-lite, Dell should be well built and include these features. I personally prefer racks with square holes that let you install your own screws and nuts (typically clip in); I would stay away from racks with threaded or round holes. I also prefer racks with clear designations at each U.

  5. #5
    Serial computer killer Hairy Aussie CougTek's Avatar
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    I bought this Tripp-Lite rack during the holidays, for hosting our company's servers and networking hardware. Cost about a thousand U$.

    I've received it las week, but haven't had the time to transfer the servers into it (will have to plan a 2-day shutdown during a week-end). It's still all wrapped up, so I don't have any comment about it yet.

  6. #6
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions. The 42U you linked to Coug is a bit too much for me but they do have a 25U that would work great. It's still close to $1000 though.

  7. #7
    Serial computer killer Hairy Aussie CougTek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CougTek View Post
    I bought this Tripp-Lite rack during the holidays, for hosting our company's servers and networking hardware. Cost about a thousand U$.

    I've received it las week, but haven't had the time to transfer the servers into it (will have to plan a 2-day shutdown during a week-end). It's still all wrapped up, so I don't have any comment about it yet.
    Well, I moved the servers and networking gears to the new rack this week-end and it's too short for the HPE StoreEasy 1650 Expanded. It's very tight with the 3PAR rails too. The rear lateral PSU management also are useless since the rack is so short that the server rails overlap the rear 0U management. You can't fit a PSU in their.

    However, I've still figured out how to fit everything. I put velcro on the side and holds the PSUs with it. The StoreEasy sit at the bottom on a shelf. Overall, it's still an improvement. I didn't have enough space for a deeper rack anyway.

    I've worked 22 hours this week-end. I carried both the old and the new rack in and out of the server room, on my shoulders. All the servers too, although I had help to install them back on the rails. That was quite a workout.

  8. #8
    I can't believe I'm a Fixture LunarMist's Avatar
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    Why do they make you work so much on the weekends? Do you get comp time or some other benefit?
    --Lunar

  9. #9
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    The T100 never sleeps.

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    Not really a Hairy Aussie
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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMist View Post
    Why do they make you work so much on the weekends? Do you get comp time or some other benefit?
    When do you think the servers are idle and can be taken offline? During business hours M-F?

  11. #11
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    I'm considering getting this StarTech 25U Adjustable Depth Open Frame 4 Post Server rack. It comes shipped in a flat pack which would make it easier to get into my basement.

  12. #12
    Serial computer killer Hairy Aussie CougTek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handruin View Post
    The T100 never sleeps.
    It's T-800.

    As for compensation, they don't offer enough. But you can't plan a global system shutdown on a monday morning either, so I didn't have a choice to do it during a week-end.

  13. #13
    Serial computer killer Hairy Aussie CougTek's Avatar
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    We often use a Black Box 25U rack on coaster to setup customers' architectures. It doesn't have any cable management, but it's sturdy and cheap. You can combine it with cable managers to do a cleaner build.

  14. #14
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    Looks good but it says it's 22U and I need at least 24 preferably a little more. Their next size up is 37U which is a little too big unfortunately.

  15. #15
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    I'm digging up an old thread but I figured I'd mention I finally decided to try the StarTech.com 25U Adjustable Depth Open Frame 4 Post Server Rack. I also picked up NavePoint Universal 1U Rack Mount 4-Post Shelf Rail - 33.5" deep 5-pack to go with it. Should be delivered in a few days and I can set it up and see if it's any good.

  16. #16
    Not really a Hairy Aussie
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    I'm looking forward to your feedback.

  17. #17
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    I'm impressed so far that this rack shipped as quick as it did. I ordered through Newegg but it's one of their market place sellers called Mega Retail Store. They said 5-7 business days but it'll be here tomorrow. The rails should arrive Friday and they were old and shipped from the manufacturer NavePoint. Hopefully Saturday I'll have time to put it together to give feedback on it.

  18. #18
    Serial computer killer Hairy Aussie CougTek's Avatar
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    I've ordered a few cable managers from the Fiberstore. They are a fraction (about ¼) of the price of Startech and Panduit models. I should receive them late next week or the one after. I hope they won't be too cheaply made, but my expectations are low, given the price.

    The few transceivers I've ordered from them are all ok so far. I wouldn't sell that to a customer yet, but for the internal needs of the dev architecture and temporary configurations, why not. They'll get some of my money until I'm burn.

  19. #19
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    I got the rack setup which took me about an hour and a half to bolt it all together. There weren't any real issues but the instructions could have used some clarity when describing the orientation of some of the pieces. Everything feels very solid given that the rack is assembled and adjustable unlike most enterprise racks which come welded and assembled.

    The rails needed a little more space likely due to the way this setup is I can't stack each system right on top of each other so I gave each system 1U of space between. I did not have enough cage nuts so the top-most server is just sitting there with the rails not screwed in. I have those on the way from Amazon.

    Overall I'm replacing a cheap shelving unit from Lowes with this more-secure steel rack. The fact it's on wheels also helps because it's a pain to get behind the rack to do some work.


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  20. #20
    Hairy Aussie timwhit's Avatar
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    What room do you have that in?

  21. #21
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    It's in my basement.

  22. #22
    Not really a Hairy Aussie
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    Looks nice. Very tempting to get the same thing for my collection of goodies in the basement. Is the top really 50" off the floor when assembled?

  23. #23
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    I didn't actually measure it but I'd believe that it is a bit over 50" with the casters on it (which I have on mine). You can leave them off if you want to save a couple inches. It also comes with leveling bolts that work with or without the casters attached. I did some measuring prior to assembly because the depth of the rack is adjustable but you need to set it before installing everything including the rails. I left a bit of extra space in the back to manage the cables. There are cable management clips that attach off the sides but I don't find them that helpful for my needs. I just used a spool of velcro to wrap up cables and fasten them to the rails. I did not add any power bricks to the rack because everything direct-connects to the UPS at the bottom.

    The rack came with all the tools needed to assemble it which was a nice bonus. Make sure to count the number of cage nuts you might need as I ran out. It came with M6 nuts and bolts but the NavePoint rails only came with bolts and no nuts. My rack had some very minor damage which is likely more the result of poor packaging and shipping than anything else. One of the two bottom end-plates was bent up slightly on the edge. I hammered it back down flat with a rubber mallet and it was fine.

  24. #24
    Not really a Hairy Aussie
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    Thanks for the reply. I'll need to measure how much height I can accommodate where I'm thinking to put it (or something like it).

  25. #25
    NVIDIA> AMD Fixture Handruin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post
    Thanks for the reply. I'll need to measure how much height I can accommodate where I'm thinking to put it (or something like it).
    I can measure the full height to confirm when I get home if that helps with your planning.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handruin View Post
    I can measure the full height to confirm when I get home if that helps with your planning.
    That'd be cool, thanks. Like you, I'd want to use the casters.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handruin View Post
    I can measure the full height to confirm when I get home if that helps with your planning.
    It looks like I have 59.5" from the concrete to the bottom of the quasi rack I have hanging from the floor joists. I would guess that even with the casters it's not quite that tall, but I wouldn't anticipate a lot of room between them.

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