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Open 4 Post Rack Recommendations

rack
#1

I’m looking to purchase a standard 4-post rack for a server closet/room. Doesn’t need to be fancy. Mainly just want to see if anyone has a recommendation or knows of something to avoid.

Currently looking at this guy:

I’ve had mixed experiences with Startech and Navepoint but they are cheaper options. I like the exandability options with the Tripp Lite.

Also, who makes the best cage nuts? I’ve used a bunch, but never really found the perfect ones.

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#2

2c., but if you’re looking to put servers in there i’d avoid open racks entirely and go with something with side panels.

Why? Because various cooling fans, etc. can work more efficiently and you’ll have the option for in-row cooling. But it depends on how big your server room is as to whether or not that is likely in future…

What’s the environment this is going to be in?

All of my stuff is APC (and currently also using APC in-row cooling in my main server room) so i use APC cage nuts… sometimes the nuts don’t match the rack very well otherwise. Haven’t had any real issues with APC.

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#3

It’s in a small, dedicated server room, only big enough for one rack. It is hooked into the central air, and has a vent that dumps cold air basically onto the top of the rack. It’ll never be filled top to bottom with servers cranking at max. For the foreseeable future, it will have 3 NAS’s with some jbods, some Ubiquiti network gear, 2 UPS’s and maybe some mac minis.

Also, the Ubiquiti Edgeswitches blow sideways so I’ve always felt iffy putting them into paneled racks (although I have without issue).

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#4

No one they are all about the same from my experience, there might be some cool ones I have never used though.

What are you putting in the rack just network gear or servers as well?

Honestly I doubt there is any major difference between any of them once you bolt them to the ground. You could shop by weigh i guess (more mass should be better but not a guarantee)

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#5

I really like the M6 Startech ones, but the heads are very large and I’ve had them interfere with the handles on a 1U server before. The Startech M5’s are much more flimsy and they’re too short for the Edgerouter which has a very thick front plate for some reason. Some others have those plastic washers that always fall off and/or the spinning head which I’m sure has a purpose, but drives me crazy…

Idk, an M6 with a normal size head would be ideal I think.


These look fancy af. I guess for audiophile racks… not ridiculously expensive. Head might be big though.

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#6

lol probs

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#7

One other thing I’d suggest, but probably more applicable to racks with side panels - get a “wide” variant that has space for cable management down the sides. Because if you’re mixing servers and network stuff in the same rack, you’re going to run the cables up and down the edge one way or another. If it isn’t a “wide” rack then there’s nowhere to fit them neatly.

Less important with an open rack of course as you can just route them on the outside but…

I’d also personally go for 48 RU height instead of 42 because the cost difference is minimal and despite what the business says, you will most likely end up with a scenario where you are attempting to run “build generation 1” equipment along-side “build generation 2” equipment during a cutover phase. i.e., your rack space requirement inside of 3-5 years is likely to expand by say 50% over and above what it is today. At least, even considering only replacing your kit piecemeal when it goes EOL.

And/or you will need more equipment (for future applications) at some point than you think.

I’ve been dealing with small enterprise/local site deployments for about 20 years and it always happens… sure, this time “the cloud” might help, but the fact that they’re building their own room with NAS boxes today indicates to me they’re either not cloud focused or have a local workload that is unsuitable.

Definitely compare costs on your various options and if the difference is possible to bear, go large. You future self will thank you for it.

Because no one wants to de-rack and re-rack everything on a weekend, because you were a few RU short :smiley:

e.g., here’s my current setup (old photo i found) whilst being assembled…

(intended to somewhat show the wide rack with the holes/covers down the side for cable routing/etc. - there are cable guides fitted down the sides after this)

ALso pictured is the APC chiller units, basically i have cold aisle/hot-aisle setup and the hot side is sealed… air pumped out into the room and cooled by the chillers, and sucked back in via server/switch fans. sideways fan stuff (e.g. Cisco 4506/4507 side fans) get fed via an APC front to side routing fan/shroud.

edit:
oh yeah that’s only part of the room. there’s 9x48RU racks in there and 6 chillers…

3 for network distribution, 1 network core, 1 storage, 1 VM host, 2 for UPS and 1 for test/dev…

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#8

Cool setup. Definitely much larger than what I’m dealing with.

I think I’m going with this:

StarTech.com 42U 4 Post Open Frame Server Rack https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HVKOPBW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_KFiaDbMXM5NT3

CyberPower PDU15MV20F Metered PDU, 100-125V/15A, 20 Outlets, 0U Rackmount https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003KBB276/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_WMiaDbS4HBWHB

NavePoint 2U Steel Vertical Duct Cable Manager Channel with Plastic Tray Mount Buttons 68" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A6JPBJ4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_51iaDbKYXVJB2

I have $4k for the entire network so I’m just going to save as much as possible on the rack. These guys could easily survive on a half rack for years (if not indefinitely) so any full rack will be sufficient overkill.

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#9

Sounds like you’ve got it covered and have the sizing under control.

If you can, install 2x PDUs (even if you don’t need the ports) so that you have some redundancy for:

  • devices that have dual input for power (e.g., most rack mount servers)
  • that time your PDU blows up, or the circuit it is on trips (i.e., put them on different breakers as well).

I just had to make a trip to a remote site on monday because we lost a PDU. Local services were OK (servers and main switches had redundant power) but they had an old router with only 1 power input that happened to be on the bad PDU…

Because i had redundant PDUs, it was the difference between an inconvenience (remote services not up) and a major problem (network shares offline, local video network, local phone network, etc. offline). At 70 bucks each, wiring them up in a redundant manner for the gear that can be made redundant will be cheap insurance.

edit:
may want to check that vertical cable management fits that rack (or can be made to fit). but yes that’s definitely the sort of thing you want.

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#10

I will propose a second UPS and PDU when they buy equipment with 2 power supplies. Going to keep it to one for now. The rack will be against a wall (side) so I think I’ll only be able to add things to 2 posts. If I go with a second pdu, it will probably need to be horizontal rack mount.

I’ll return it if not. Mount appears to be universal though.

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#11

What do people use to pass large ethernet bundles between rooms? I don’t have a drop ceiling to work with.

Looking for something like this, but more tailored to my use-case (and more dry-wall friendly).

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#12

Explain what exactly you are doing? Like just a bundle on the ground? No wall jacks? What is the start and end point? You could do some wall mount cable trays , are you trying to keep dust out or sound?

Do you need fire resistance pass throughs? Could get something like this https://www.zoro.com/sti-smoke-and-acoustic-pthwy-dvc-4-12-in-w-nez33/i/G7523643/

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#13

Just need a tidy hole in the wall that passes a bundle from the server closet to the main room. No fireproof requirements. Some sort of brush or rubber to isolate dust/noise is a plus.

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#14

Honestly I like the ezpath NEZ44-W white looks clean provide fire and sound protection, looks clean. Not crazy expensive, clean mounting plate

This is kinda cool, not sure where to get it tho also about how many

There is also raised floor stuff you could make work on a wall

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#15

That second one looks like what I want. Idk how I missed it. I searched at least 10 combinations that included grommet on amazon.

I’m running fat Cat6A, so the first and third options are a bit small… that said, the actual size of the black one isn’t listed, but judging by the price and screw holes, it should be suitably large.

Thanks for digging those up. Very helpful.

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#16

We have ones similar to that for our raised floor, they are ok definitely sturdy

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