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[HELP] me not suck at rack mount equipment

electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
So I just got a 42 RU TechRack 19" server rack essentially for free ($1 off eBay comedy bid).

However, I have never actually dealt with server rack's and populating them before. I have a couple of things which are rack-mountable, hence the purchase, including my bigass Norco server case.

Now I get that you screw these things in front first, but I was very much wondering what else I needed to know in this equation? Do you need rails or shelves for particularly heavy servers?

Help me out here. What things do I want? What pitfalls should I know? There's a decent chance that now that this thing is in my house, it may get loaded up fairly quickly since my brothers are in the middle of going all tech startup, saw it and said "wait, we could just stick a bunch of low powered servers in there couldn't we?"

electricitylikesme on


  • TyrantCowTyrantCow Registered User regular
    heaviest stuff on the bottom, put the feet on if you got them.

    how heavy/long is this stuff? if it will span the depth of the rack hopefully you can get rails for it. otherwise, i have seen people use simple shelves for short and relatively light items (shelves take up space though and will fuck up your pretty, solid Us). i would never just stack things on top of each other without some sort of extra support. i've never tried it; but, it doesn't seem like a particularly good idea.

    i've only ever used dell racks; but, from the fact that people always define what brand rack that rails are for, i'm assuming different brand racks have different hole dimensions?

    we have a couple racks at work worth of machines. i wasn't around when the room was fitted for it; but, i assume power came in to the equation at some point.

  • punkpunk Professional Network Nerd Phoenix, AZRegistered User regular
    I'm assuming that it's this kind of rack (aka cabinet) and not this kind (aka telco/relay rack) - if it's a telco/relay rack, I don't recommend using it for servers. FYI, I've worked with both - a lot.

    I'm assuming you don't need any square threaded cage nut inserts for the cabinet. A lot of cabinets use those as a means to allow you different sizes of screws and a lot of universal server rails utilize the square holes as a means to snap-in without screws - love those. The HP racks we use at work utilize them. Some cabinets are pre-threaded so you have to find the correct types of screws. Looks like Techrack uses the square cage nuts as well.

    Like Tyrant said, you'll need to consider power. More than one way to skin a cat there. At home you're not going to have the same kind of setup that a professional install in a data center would have - just mind the load on the power strips for fire hazard/electrical bill purposes.

    Never stack hardware on top of each other without support for each individual server unless you enjoy removing half a rack of equipment to get at the one piece at the bottom. Also, a server does not appreciate a dog pile any more than a person does. You should have rails for each server. If not, you can use shelves but like Tyrant said they can burn up a lot of room.

    Make sure it's on solid ground (cement is best) and deploy the feets.

    Not sure what else you'd want to know...can go several thousand dollars worth of nuts if you want.

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    That's the sort of thing I wanted to know. Well, it's not going to be filled to brim with servers, but it's in what's become our wiring room so my plan is server's on the bottom, probably a fold out LCD thing (since they can be had cheap these days it seems) at waist height, and then AV stuff higher up, with the network panel up top. With any luck leaving me a nice batch of RU's above the main server for whatever type of additional crazy happens.

    And yeah I had thought of the power concerns - if server crazy happens at some point I'll call out an electrician to give us nice fat dedicated outlet for it.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Generally UPS and power equipment at the bottom, it's the heaviest, and you don't want a UPS to fall 4Us and crash on a server or something. Or if it explodes and the acid rains down. Plus super easy to get them in at the bottom.

    I'd get 1-2 power strips, rackmountable KVM, rackmountable LCD (we just have an LCD sitting on our half rack), get some velcro zip ties (trust me don't go plastic) and get some wire labels too.

    Generally after you've got the basics there (monitor goes at comfortable level), just start popping in servers from bottom to top. You may consider getting spacers/cable management arms/trays too. CXTec is a local company out here that specializes in this stuff that we use, I think they ship everywhere in the US though ELM.

    If you can't get all that stuff, the best thing to be getting is velcro. Oh god managing a rackmount with zip ties.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • ghost_master2000ghost_master2000 Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    If you can't get all that stuff, the best thing to be getting is velcro. Oh god managing a rackmount with zip ties.

    This. A million times this.

    Seriously... fuck zip ties.

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Ok where in god's name do you get static support rails for servers for non-fuckyou prices?

    Shelves seem decently priced, but rails seem to be min $100 for some reason.

  • punkpunk Professional Network Nerd Phoenix, AZRegistered User regular
    Ok where in god's name do you get static support rails for servers for non-fuckyou prices?

    Shelves seem decently priced, but rails seem to be min $100 for some reason.

    Depends on the model/case. Keep in mind you have entered a world that is not cheap. :)

  • ghost_master2000ghost_master2000 Registered User regular
    Indeed. Business computer components are priced at like 300% of their consumer counterparts, because they know they can get away with it.

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