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We are moving to an office with a server closet that may not have sufficient depth to have a standard server rack. I found a vertical rack mount online (that mounts to the wall) that is 4U. Are there negative effects to mounting servers vertically instead of horizontally?

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    Not in my experience. We have some Dell 1U poweredges mounted with a pair of amazon.com/dp/B001YHUX2I attached to a wall at a couple of our small offices. – Zoredache Mar 12 '13 at 21:31
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    Apart from the venting mentioned below, has the server a CD/DVD drive that's used often? – ott-- Mar 15 '13 at 18:04
  • No CD/DVD drive – SlyMcFly Mar 20 '13 at 1:38
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    I have a server mounted vertically in one of my customers locations. It has been there for about 1.5 years with no ill effects as far as I can tell. I am looking at doing more this way. Did you end up mounting yours vertically? If so, how is it doing? – Joe D Feb 16 '17 at 20:39
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Certain specific case designs may have issues with mounting in other-than-horizontal attitudes, but there isn't anything inherent to server cases that would suggest this is bad. Bad case-designs would have parts vibrating loose after long periods without gravity to retain them, but this shouldn't be a problem with a major server vendor case. Most blade-servers are vertical in my experience!

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  • I think he means to mount them vertically rotated along another axis then the one a blade server is rotated on, i.e., the front of the server pointing upwards to the ceiling. – Jens Timmerman Mar 15 '13 at 17:28
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    @Jens It shouldn't matter, same concepts he mention still apply. – Chris S Mar 15 '13 at 19:25
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Check the venting path. Hot air should not get trapped in a 'dead end' at the 'top' of a horizontal case mounted vertically. If there is room for air to be sucked in and then blown out having passed over most of the PCBs you will be ok.

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I have had a Dell R230 1U server mounted vertically on the wall in a customers basement for 3 years now. The fans more than make up for any heat rise. The back is at the bottom and the front is at the top.

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There can be, but not usually - The thing is heat rises, so it is sometimes more difficult to suck the air in through the top then out through the bottom and you end up sucking in more hot air once it rises. Normally it won't be an issue - unless you have a really hot server. Then you have to make sure you have good air flow and cooling.

You can find some good wall mounted rack here: http://www.racksolutions.com/server-racks/wall-mount-racks

Or you can go with an open rack, if you have the space since putting it in a closet makes the cabinet unnecessary - Here: http://www.racksolutions.com/server-racks/open-frame-racks

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    Do you work for RackSolutions? If so, please be aware that self-promotion is allowed on ServerFault but you need be discrete and make a disclosure. – user62491 Apr 10 '13 at 17:25
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It will try to suck cool air in from the front, and blow hot air out at the back. Since hot air rises I recommend mounting it with it's front facing the floor.

I've seen people mount servers this way (e.g. the folks at http://www.grcooling.com/ ) and they tell me there are no drawbacks to this, other then possible inconvenience when having to replace a component.

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  • GRCooling -> Amazing technology btw. – Andy M Oct 18 '13 at 7:12
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The short answer to the question (though already given by others) is "Yes, it is possible without any big problems". Some big server OEMs did actually provide a stand for a vertical configuration on a table.

The majority of cases I have been dealing with has a reinforced bottom to better support the weight of the server (or other equipment on top since some people like to save some rack rails and just stack a server onto another - not recommended).

But this is only done as the bottom part of the case is a big area and would bend if it was not reinforced. Since your deploying vertically, the weight will not rest on the bottom but on the side, which is also often reinforced (to support the rack rails). So no problem at all.

It also will not affect spinning parts (HDDs) or fans, if their turning axis has another direction. Compare e.g. some big storage shelfs or blade servers, where the SFF-trays are vertically mounted to a "normal" configuration with the caddies lying horizontally. If you do not move the server while operating (gyroscopic effect will then try to keep the spinning part in its original position, while the outter shell moves, which would apply bending force on the turning shaft or other damage), you can mount it in any direction.

The only real issue (as stated by @user164241 and others) could be heat - but only if you do not take the usually high wind speeds inside a server into account. Despite that, try not to counteract the hot air moving upwards (so do not mount it that the front is facing upwards).

The most logical way with regard to thermals would be @Jens Timmerman's suggestion (front facing downwards), while this is not so cool when removing storage caddies (gravity still applies to vertically mounted servers with front pointing straight down :) ), because you risk dropping them. I would personally go for a "front-facing-left-or-right"-setup.

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