8u Rack Mount Servers

Written by Stephanie Bilberry
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With the new rack mount server arrangements, you can technically get a whole server into 1.75 inches of vertical rack space. This is precisely the reason why so many organizations are changing over to rack mount servers in all their guises. In practice though, rack mounted servers will take up anything from 3U to 8U of vertical rack space, which is still considerably smaller than conventional servers.

There is also another reason for picking a rack mounted system though.
The larger your system, or network, the more likely it is that at some point you will have to repair or expand your components without closing everything down. A rack mount makes hot-swap possible. This is where you can install or replace any component of the system without shorting the power supply or closing it down.

Making Sure It's All Compatible

Most servers and a good deal of other related hardware nowadays come in a standard 19 inch wide format so that it can be rack mounted. A word of warning here though: Different racks have screw mountings for different makes of equipment, and it can be expensive to buy special hardware to mount different equipment. It is better to find a rack for your servers that is not for a specific type of computer equipment (any of the big names) if you are planning to buy servers and other equipment from different companies.

Upon discovering that they can rack mount their hardware, some people go for the largest rack mount they can find (20-24U is common--above that is rare), and put everything in there. This is not always the best solution. Sometimes it's better to pick two or three smaller racks for better access and other considerations. Occasionally the shape of the space where the equipment will be housed will dictate two or more smaller racks rather than one large one.

Be warned, however, that less than 3U will probably limit you to the equipment that you can fit in. Also with, larger racks, of say 8U and above, the weight of the equipment may be an issue if you have it suspended from a wall. Check the bearing weight of all rack mounts with the manufacturers.

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