I'm putting servers on a rack for the first time, and am thinking a 4-post open frame rack is adequate for my needs. I'm putting in a few HP DL 385's and a few other things. What I'm wondering is if there's reason to be picky about the rack selection. I'm not concerned about heat or size - just installation and fit. Any recommendations or considerations?
Some things I have learned looking after a smallish machine room of 6 cages:
I have had good luck with the APC netshelter, 42U unit.
Make sure it's long enough to accommodate your rackmount equipment
Make sure you have the rails for your equipment - they are often mated to your case
Account for space eaten by UPS unit(s), I put mine in the bottom of the rack as they are heavy
Take into account power cable lengths; typical server power cables are usually not long enough to reach servers in the top 8 or so of U the rack, you may need to get a power strip to distribute power
Make sure there is enough room behind the unit so that you can get in behind to cable, power down and generally fiddle with stuff
Make sure there is reasonable ventilation in back as all the heat is going to be concentrated to some degree
Most folks don't leave spaces in the rack between units as the only airflow that matters is what can actually be sucked in the front of the rack to cool the parts inside
Never rackmount new gear alone. This stuff is heavy and bulky. Have at least an extra set hands to help: no need to lose toes, hands etc or damage equipment especially when racking in the upper portion of the cage. Get a lift unit or scissor table to help if you can
Make sure you have the right kind of power plugs at the installation - rackmount equipment doesn't always have the nema office power plugs, especially the 30+ amp rackmount ups gear - no bigger bummer than putting it all together and have no way to power up :(
Hope this helps.
- It may sound like a joke, but one important consideration are the holes of the frame; there are two types, a relatively uncommon threaded hole and the standard square hole for cage nuts. As most devices you can buy are prepared for the square hole, this is a safer bet. But even then, be careful when you buy devices.
- If you anticipate any growth, you should consider what kind of accessories are available for the rack you chose. Many companies (like APC) offer whole systems of devices like lights, door switches, PDUs etc.etc
- If you decide to buy a rack with doors, consider the depth of the rack and make sure you don't buy a 60cm version for cabling and networking, as you won't be able to close the back doors with a server in it.
Not joking here either if you are going for a freestanding rack make sure it has some kind of stablization (some people call it a kick-stand lol), epsecially if it has wheels.
When you bend down to pick something off the floor make sure that the rails are pushed back into the rack. I made this mistake once and stood up into the rails resulting in my one and only IT injury stitches to the head.
I don't have any specific recommendations that haven't already been covered but when I was faced with a similar situation I paid a visit to a local company (Hallam Oz) that makes racks and rack fittings. They will even custom make them if required. On that visit I took a slide with me so that I could actually see how it would fit. It seems that apart from the more obvious issues, such as the holes, the pillars come in a variety of profiles and not all slides will readily mount all racks.