Adjustable mounting depth on server racks, rails and shelves

It’s not uncommon for a server, rail and rack to align imperfectly. This is why adjustable mounting depth racking equipment is so useful.

Many racks, shelves and rails from RackSolutions have adjustable mounting depths. Because of this, you won’t run into a situation where you have to replace a rail or rack to get new equipment to fit. 

How does adjustable mounting depth work on rails and shelves?

Firstly, adjustable mounting depth has little to do with the depth of the server. Mounting depth refers to the area in which your rack allows you to install rails or shelves. Being able to adjust this means that your rail or shelf will be able to mount on any server within a certain depth range.

OEM rails, or rails that were built to fit a specific server don’t support varying server depth. For these, the only depth you will need to worry about is the rack’s mounting depth. Most of RackSolutions’ OEM rails are adjustable to fit many different types of standard racks.

Universal rails, on the other hand, have a range of server depths that they will support. With these, the server’s depth will need to fit into the supported range of the universal rails. Mounting depth, on the other hand is adjustable on our models and works the same way as it does on OEM rails.

Server rack shelves are very similar to universal rails in the sense that equipment lays ontop of them rather than being locked in by shoulder screws. These too have support for adjustable mounting depth and have a range of supported equipment depth.

Mounting equipment with adjustable depth requires extra metal and therefor comes with a small amount of additional assembly.

How to adjust mounting depth on server rails and shelves

Adjustable Mounting Depth Installation
How the outer rail and rear bracket are attached

In order to adjust the depth of your server rails, you will need to identify the outer rail and rear bracket. If you are using a server specific rail, the outer rail will be what the inner rail slides into during installation. 

The outer rail will have holes and the rear bracket will have a slit that flat head screws can be threaded to. Once you find the ideal depth, you will need to run the flat head screws into the outer rail and through the rear bracket. Keps nuts then are attached to the screw from the outside of the rear bracket and are held together with tension. 

There are holes on the outer rail and slits on the rear brackets so that depth can be adjusted without having to remove screws. If you loosen the keps nut’s tension, you will be able to adjust depth by sliding the components apart from one another. Once you find the perfect fit, simply tighten the keps nuts to secure your depth. 

How does adjustable mounting depth work in server racks? 

As discussed in the previous section, having adjustable depth means that more material is required. A standard four post rack is supported by the same uprights that equipment is mounted on. Server racks with adjustable mounting depth have two additional uprights to keep structural integrity while being able to adjust mounting depth. 

Adjustable Depth on Server Rack
Server rack with adjustable depth

This feature is typically in higher end server racks with more features because of additional cost. It can be an invaluable feature for data centers who have intense cable management requirements or need to swap out equipment often. 

How to adjust depth on a server rack

Racks with adjustable mounting depth will have threaded holes on the top and bottom sides of the rack which allow you to attach the uprights. If your rack does not have these, you will have to rely on adjustable mounting equipment likes rails and shelves.

For those that do, the process is simple. Unlike the adjustable rails, these racks use threaded holes and not the slit mechanism that is on server rails. These threaded holes are positioned to fit common depth standards. You won’t be able to loosen bolts to slide to the perfect depth, so you’ll have to know exactly which depth you need before tightening them.

What is a situation where you would need adjustable depth? 

If you are purchasing a new rack that has a different depth than what you currently own, having adjustable rails and shelves makes the transition easier. Mounting equipment with adjustable depth is part of planning for future expansion and will save time selling and repurchasing equipment that fits.

The more servers you have, the lower the chance is of having adjustable rails to mount every server. This is why a data center or server room might want to invest in adjustable server racks. Additionally, if you don’t need extra space, it allows more room for cable management.

Adjustable mounting depth on server racks, rails and shelves
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Adjustable mounting depth on server racks, rails and shelves
Adjustable mounting depth can come in handy when your mounting situations and needs change. Learn what products can be adjusted and how to adjust them.
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Rack Depth Illustration