Searching for a server rack/cabinet…
July 19, 2013 11:35 AM   Subscribe

At my place of employment, I have been charged with physically securing our two servers. The decision has been made to bolt them to the concrete floor in a cage. I don't know how to shop for a server rack. We have an old one that they're on now, but it's an open rack, without sides or locks. I need one that's more of a cage, to keep people without the key out. It'll have to fit at least 8U worth of servers, and also accommodate a midsized tower somehow, and be 1000mm deep minimum. How do I shop for this? I can't find any information on whether any of the racks I'm looking at are bolt downable.
posted by TrueVox to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, I have an old one in storage you can come pick up. We can't figure out how to get rid of it.
posted by erst at 11:37 AM on July 19, 2013

You're looking for enclosures with a bolt-down kit.
posted by jquinby at 11:59 AM on July 19, 2013

All Racks can be bolted down. You may need to drill a hole in the bottom of them but it's not really that hard to be honest. Generally speaking racks are designed to hold heavy gear, even half racks and are designed to be affixed permanently to a flat surface.

I suggest checking out newegg.
posted by iamabot at 12:01 PM on July 19, 2013

Also, I might add that while bolting to the floor is important, broadly most racks aren't designed to withstand a determined attacker...their lock systems and keys tend to be basically pretty crappy.
posted by iamabot at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2013

Response by poster: Wow! 3 hours searching Google & getting bread crumbs, a half hour here gives me a feast! Thank you for the comments so far, and if anyone else has any insights, please keep 'em coming.

Specifically, erst, sadly I don't. But if you could send me a pic, I might be willing to pay for shipping/pickup (I'll look into costs).

jquinby - Enclosures! Yes! Thank you!

iamabot - Yeah, I know :(. This is more of a due diligence thing than anything else. We've got locks on our plate glass front doors too, but at least when they break 'em we can say we tried. :) I just wanna make it HARD for someone to do - if they care enough to get all Mission Impossible on me, let 'em have it I guess.
posted by TrueVox at 12:08 PM on July 19, 2013

I just sent a couple of old 42U racks to the scrapyard - there are probably a lot of companies doing the same as server rooms become more virtualized. Maybe check your local Craigslist, or even call a couple of scrappers to see if they have anything lying around. Look for the square-hole type if possible - much quicker and easier to get stuff in and out.
posted by pocams at 12:17 PM on July 19, 2013

Open racks without sides are sometimes the same frames that are used to build enclosures with other options. Inspect the existing rack and see if you can identify the manufacturer. It might be cheaper and easier to go that route.

There are many options for racks. One of the ones I would expect to be more secure (meaning if you were to stick a hasp on it, I think it'd be annoyingly difficult to get into) would be enclosures manufactured by Metal Tech Partners, ... very solid things, unlike lots of others. Used these extensively a decade ago. With the full louvered door, they're very tamper-resistant but still have some reasonable airflow (the usual problem you run into with enclosures). However, my impression is that they're mostly used in the telecom industry.

If you are not looking to provide that level of security, and filing-cabinet-lock level security is sufficient, almost any common rack enclosure manufacturer has possibilities for you. I absolutely second the suggestion to not only check with Craigslist, but also touch bases with IT consultancies, local ISP's, and any other businesses that might be operating large numbers of servers or (more importantly) may know who in the area DOES have a warehouse full of old racks that they'd let you have for cheap or free.
posted by jgreco at 1:59 PM on July 19, 2013

Might I humbly suggest that all you care about is the data, and probably a very small subset of data. It would likely be easier AND more robust across other disaster scenarios to invest in a robust data protection scheme and encrypt data at rest.
posted by iamabot at 3:01 PM on July 19, 2013

a lot of companies that provide server-room equipment (think servers and battery backups and stuff of that nature) also make server racks. for example, here's what Dell offers, and this is a bit of what APC offers (they have some other stuff beyond this one line afaik), same for Emerson/Liebert, Panduit. "rack infrastructure" seems to be the go-to term here. if you figure out what kind of racks you have (make/model) you may be able to buy sides and stuff too.

if you have any large-ish universities nearby, you may also want to keep an eye out to see if they do any selling of surplus equipment. with more and more stuff moving to hosted environments there may be some good quality racks and assorted whatnot ready to be offloaded.
posted by mrg at 3:49 PM on July 19, 2013

I don't know how to shop for a server rack.

Especially with a secure enclosure, the thermal output of the servers and power supplies should be a consideration, so you'll want to allocate some rack space to cooling and ventilation, which may inflate things somewhat. The environment the rack is in should be a factor too. I've seen everything from a false-floor, air-conditioned room to the closet under the stairs.
posted by xedrik at 9:42 PM on July 19, 2013

What is the brand name of the rack? Does it have 4 posts or 2?

If its a 4 post rack they sell the sides tops and locking front door for them.
posted by majortom1981 at 5:47 AM on July 20, 2013

Response by poster: OK, thank you all so much on your input. Due to personal reasons I'm in and out of the office quickly today, but I will try to address your comments tomorrow.

That said, thank you all. :)
posted by TrueVox at 12:01 PM on July 22, 2013

Response by poster: OK, thanks for the tips everyone! The suggestions to chat with locals were great - one of our consultants actually had a couple lying around.

Thank you!
posted by TrueVox at 1:04 PM on July 26, 2013

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