Choosing the Best Server Rack(s) for Your Small Business

It can be very difficult for any small business to make an impression without some kind of online presence, and never more so than in 2020. With the coronavirus pandemic leaving high streets deserted and forcing many traditional brick-and-mortar operations into bankruptcy, many small businesses have taken their operations online.

However, running an e-commerce business requires a significant amount of internet-connected hardware. The smallest businesses might get away with using a basic personal computer to handle the needs of their customers, but many invest in servers, network appliances and other connectivity equipment that can handle large amounts of online traffic.

If your small business uses a significant amount of physical hardware to stay connected, investing in one or more server racks can be an excellent way to keep your important equipment safe, organised and secure. However, server racks come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles, and choosing a rack that fits the needs of your business is essential.

Open Frame or Cabinet Rack?

The simplest type of server rack any business can invest in is an open frame rack. These server racks frequently resemble industrial steel shelving and lack any sort of enclosed panelling. These basic racks are inexpensive and highly modifiable and allow easy access to your equipment for maintenance and repairs.

Most importantly, open frame racks allow air to flow freely through the rack and around your equipment. This can be very useful for preventing overheating problems in more powerful servers and network appliances, especially if you do not keep your equipment in a climate-controlled server room or data centre.

However, open frame racks do not provide any kind of security for your networked hardware, making them unsuitable for use in easily accessible areas. The lack of protective covers can also allow dust to interfere with sensitive electronic components.

Cabinet racks (also known as closed frame racks) are fully enclosed, with one or more doors that allow access to the equipment within. They are a much better solution if you need to prevent unauthorised access to expensive networking equipment, and most cabinet racks feature strong integrated locks. 

Since cabinet racks are usually fully enclosed, keeping the equipment inside cool can be a challenge. Many cabinet racks feature built-in ventilation fans to effectively cool internal equipment. Enclosed cabinet racks are also compatible with liquid cooling systems, and some cabinet racks are specifically designed to accommodate them.

Freestanding or Wall-Mounted?

Freestanding server racks are definitely the most popular choice here. These racks can be installed almost instantly and used immediately. Because they are usually much taller than they are wide, freestanding server racks can provide large amounts of storage space without taking up too much floor space.

However, if space constraints are still an issue, consider investing in wall-mounted server racks. These self-explanatory server racks can bolt to any wall capable of taking their weight and are ideal for installation over and around immovable objects. Most wall-mounted server racks are enclosed cabinet-type racks.

Bear in mind that wall-mounted server racks have limited weight capacities and can easily come crashing to the ground along with all of your expensive equipment if they are not installed correctly. Professional installation is usually advisable.

Optional Extras?

As server racks become more popular in the world of independent business, many server rack manufacturers offer racks with pre-fitted optional extras. Optional integrated power rails are extremely useful. These rails can attach directly to the rack itself and make cable management much simpler and easier.

Some freestanding server racks come with optional mounting plinths, which can also come in handy. These plinths allow you to bolt or screw a freestanding rack directly to the floor, significantly increasing stability and preventing the rack from toppling if vandalised or accidentally moved.

Taking the time to choose the right server rack for your needs can have many benefits. If you have any more questions about server racks or are interested in other storage solutions for networking hardware, contact the experts at Cable Source Pty Ltd.