This question is specifically about Sun X4100, but general information about all servers would be helpful.

This is a 1 rack unit server, and these would typically be placed into a rack with the top facing up, front forward, in the common and intended position.

In some cases however, management wants to store 1 or 2 of these, but they would like to place them with the left side facing up and the right side facing down, or vice-versa.

The airflow would still go out the back. And I don't expect that the law of rising heat is much of a factor with all the fans.

But would there be other problems? For example the hard drives (spinning at 10,000 RPM) might wear on one side of the bearing/axle more than the other side.

I am aware that I am going against the original design of the hardware on this, so I am taking a risk of unexpected hardware failure, but I did want to get your input on this.

  • Sounds like you're kind of touching on the issues...how are you actually mounting them in the rack that you can do this arrangement? The drives could have oddball stress on them, but there is a possible issue with airflow as racks generally are meant to have objects installed "properly" in order to properly disperse air front to back, but it shouldn't cause a fire...just...not very good as a "best practice." Plus any new IT hires may take this as a sign they should keep looking for another job if they see it on the tour. – Bart Silverstrim Dec 5 '11 at 18:15
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    Depending on how you're doing this I'd wonder about the cases themselves and if there'd be any stress points on them. And if your manufacturer would be happy with a claim if they find out how you had them (mis)mounted. Might affect warranties on your equipment. – Bart Silverstrim Dec 5 '11 at 18:17
  • @Bart, Thanks for your input. I will clarify that we will not be using a rack for this sideways mounting. It would be custom shelving with a clear and open front and back. – Bryan Field Dec 5 '11 at 18:25
  • I'm not sure I understand the terminology - you're talking about custom shelving; not a rack? What are the units factor? 1U? 2U? Variable? Management wants to store 1-2 units? or 1-2 custom shelving setups? And why is there a push to mount them vertically instead of traditional - sounds odd. – thinice Dec 5 '11 at 18:41
  • @thinice, you're talking about custom shelving; not a rack Just for this special case. What are the units factor? 1U? 2U? Variable? 1RU servers. Management wants to store 1-2 units? or 1-2 custom shelving setups? This special treatment will probably only happen to one or two servers total. Whether they are in the same place or not, I don't know. And why is there a push to mount them vertically instead of traditional It is related to office space - having a server that can be physically accessed sounds odd I know, it may never happen, but I am to get outside input anyway. – Bryan Field Dec 5 '11 at 19:13

I don't think there is anything in those servers that would be sensitive to orientation. You may want to check the usability of the DVD Drive though. As for the hard drives, modern ones are usable in any orientation. The links from this SF question about hard drive orientation refer. To be absolutely sure you should really check with Oracle.

  • +1 For checking with Oracle - sounds obvious but if the OP wants support from Oracle and they won't touch machines in this config (not unreasonable perhaps depending on the exact spec of these 'custom shelves') then it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. – Rob Moir Dec 5 '11 at 19:31

Look up the drive specs from the drive manufacturer. Normally the drives should be in horizontal position, but vertical may be ok.

There migth be problems after some years of usage if you turn them vertically 180° - but it`s been a long time ago that I saw real problems there. (IDE-drives from Hitachi, SCSI-drives from IBM).

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