Do rackmount servers really need to be rack mounted?

 

Rackmount servers don’t always need to be rack mounted. A server rack makes it easy to manage and organize multiple components that one might need for networking and computing activities. 

Because the resale market is large and server components last a long time, people find themselves in situations where they have a server but don’t necessarily want to invest in a rack. While there are solutions to get around using an entire rack, they might not be the most economical approach for you. 

What are Rack to Tower kits? 

rack to tower kit
The only special capability that rackmount servers have is that they can be racked. All of the internal components can be installed in a tower chassis even while standing vertically. 

If you’re 100 percent sure that you want your server to run on its own forever, then Rack to Tower kits are ideal. They essentially give your rackmount server the form factor of a tower server. 

Any server between 1 and 2 rack units will be able to fit into Universal Rack to Tower Kit very easily. They exist mostly because it is more convenient for a server to be tall and skinny rather than flat and wide. 

Why would you want to rack mount a server? 

Unless you intend to use your server as a PC, racking a server is almost necessary. Your server, by itself, is capable of accomplishing any task that a personal computer can do, but that’s not really the point of owning a server. 

Even at home, there are many ways to utilize a server, including backing up data, access to virtual machines throughout your home.

The biggest difference between servers and PCs is that its components are designed to minimize downtime. They often use error-correcting code memory, (ECC) redundant power supplies, redundant hard drive arrays, have advanced networking throughput, etc. What this all means is that they’re designed to run 24/7 and distribute data efficiently. 

In order to take advantage of those capabilities, you’ll need to use other networking equipment like switches, routers, patch panels or possibly AV equipment. Learning how to manage all of this equipment is particularly useful for those studying information technology or looking to get a Cisco security certification

All of the equipment mentioned is also available in non-rackmount chassis as well. The downside to not racking them is that it will become difficult to find a condensed space to store them and managing cables will be more difficult.

What rack should I use for home networking? 

small server rack for home or office
 

Because servers come in different sizes, mostly height and depth wise, it isn’t as simple as recommending one product for everyone. What you mostly need to pay attention to is how many rack units your server is made up of. Every rack unit is 1.75 inches in height. 

Next, you need to check the depth of your equipment and purchase a rack that can support the full depth or more. If your server is 1U or 2U (rack units) in height, then you will need to add at least an additional 1U for a router, then decide whether you’ll need a switch, patch panel or PDU. 

Ultimately, you’ll end up needing 2U to 6U of height to work with, and a server depth that supports your longest equipment. 

Here are some products that exist in that range: 

 

Ask questions

If you still need more information about the topic, you can browse through our blog where we’ve answered common rack mounting questions for years. 

Otherwise, feel free to contact us. We can help find the right solution for you. 

Do you need to rack a server?