Question About Racks and Rack Accessories

AMD_Gamer

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I am looking to get a Nice Rack for the CCNA Lab I am building and future CCNP work etc and to consolidate all my computer and networking equipment I have laying around.

The main question I have is, Are all racks a standard distance apart so if you purchase a rack from black box but get an accessory such as a sliding shelve, will that fit into the rack correctly? The same goes with any networking or computer equipment that is rack mountable, they are all a standard rack size width?

Would something like this Black Box rack be good? http://www.blackbox.com/Store/Detail.aspx/19-Steel-Distribution-Rack-40U-74-H-Black/RM391AĂR2 I am wondering how sturdy something like this is? I know the Skeletek racks are highly recommended but I am unsure which to get.

I have a Norco-4020 server case that I would plan to mount at the very bottom and place another smaller Antec 300 case on it's side on top of that, then mount all my cisco gear above it on the rack along with a sliding shelve for my laptop and a shelve for keyboard and 19" LCD. How sturdy would a rack like this be to support all that? would I need a 4 post rack?
 

REDYOUCH

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Standard width is 19". Get a used cabinet off eBay or Craigslist. Much cheaper, and no shipping.
 

unwantedSN

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Yep standard is 19inch. They also make a 23inch, but those are expensive and rackmounts for the switchs are more expensive / harder to find since they are not so common.
 

JBark

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Watch out for rack depth, that isn't a standard. If you want to rack a full size server, you really want something at least 1000mm deep. For something like the Antec cases I'd imagine 800mm might do it, though. You also need to make sure it's a 4 post rack if you want to mount servers.

I wish the previous IT at my current company had realized this, instead he's got full size servers in a 600mm deep rack, with all sorts of stupid cross bar supports because the servers stick way out past the back of the tack.
 

k1pp3r

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I didn't read everything, but just wanted to comment that black box makes very nice stuff, i setup a new server room for a client with them, they were very very nice
 

YeOldeStonecat

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Do you plan on having mostly network gear, or also server gear? Which makes one ask if you want a 2 post or a 4 post so you can slide bigger servers in on rails.
 

Proactivens

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A 4 post rack is easier to deal with. A 2 post rack like the one pictured here would need to be lag bolted to the floor so it won't tip over. A small 24U 4 post rack would support its self, no floor bolts required. Also, if you want to mount full length servers in a single post rack your going to lose an extra 2-3U for the support structure you would have to install. 2 post racks are for telco closets and are designed to hold switches, routers, PSTN equipment, and patch panels.

http://www.blackbox.com/Store/Detail.aspx/4-Post-Rack-22U/RM7001A
thats a nice rack I have personally installed. It's not super cheap, but it does work.
 

MavsX

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yeah pretty much the 4 post racks would be for servers, they are long and heavy. the 2 post is more for network/telecom equipment. If your just going to have the 4U server at the bottom, and then networking stuff above it, you'd probably be okay. That being said, if you have a 40U rack filled to the top, it's going to be very heavy. I'd make sure it comes with wheels or get wheels for it. my black box rack is 19 U's..i can slide it around no problem, but, probably not the 40U one. It is very possible that it could fall over too....if most of the weight is at the bottom, then i would think you'd be okay...
 

aaronearles

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But if you don't need a full height rack, then a wall mounted 2 post can be nice too and you won't have to bolt to the floor. If you're going for a full rack, get square holes.

IMG_20100923_143209.jpg
 

AMD_Gamer

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I didn't read everything, but just wanted to comment that black box makes very nice stuff, i setup a new server room for a client with them, they were very very nice

2 computers at very bottom then rest is networking/ccna gear. I also plan to have a shelf for my laptop and 19" LCD
 

doh

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SQUARE HOLES

Do not get a rack that does not have square holes unless you want to experience the utter hell of stripping your round-threaded cage or dropping nuts like crazy. Get square holes and cage nuts (and a cage nut tool if you can find one) and it will make your life so much easier. Everything is designed for square holes.

Rack depth is a big deal If you're getting a four-post rack (which makes sense for dense patch cabinets - use front and rear posts). We need to use shelves at work because the cabinets we inherited aren't deep enough to rack a server! And they're round-threaded, except for one square hole which is the patch cabinet.

Take into account the doors: are they perforated for cooling?

Is there room for cable management devices like these, from APC:
* 1U - horizontal, 1U
* 2U with cover - horizontal, 2U
* Vertical cable management is important too

Don't cheap out cos you will hate it and hate to mess with the cables.
 

AMD_Gamer

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SQUARE HOLES

Do not get a rack that does not have square holes unless you want to experience the utter hell of stripping your round-threaded cage or dropping nuts like crazy. Get square holes and cage nuts (and a cage nut tool if you can find one) and it will make your life so much easier. Everything is designed for square holes.

Rack depth is a big deal If you're getting a four-post rack (which makes sense for dense patch cabinets - use front and rear posts). We need to use shelves at work because the cabinets we inherited aren't deep enough to rack a server! And they're round-threaded, except for one square hole which is the patch cabinet.

Take into account the doors: are they perforated for cooling?

Is there room for cable management devices like these, from APC:
* 1U - horizontal, 1U
* 2U with cover - horizontal, 2U
* Vertical cable management is important too

Don't cheap out cos you will hate it and hate to mess with the cables.

Hmm never heard of these square hole before? you mean the holes that you attach the gear to on each side? I think the rack I posted above ans Skeletek racks are not square? they dont even mention it?
 

hawk82

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19" racks are for the most part standard in the IT industry.
23" racks are for the most part standard in the telco industry. Stuff like POTS switch gear, DSLAMs, fiber optic patch panels, etc are usually found in the 23" variety.

So you'll want to get a 19" rack. I have found from experience that not all racks are built to correct dimensions and may be off by a smidgeon. You may need to "widen" the rackmount ears on your hardware with a drill.

I haven't seen any 19" free standing 2 post racks with square holes. They probably exist, but to me it would seem hardware wouldn't be securely screwed down. For what is worth, I picked up a used 24U Blackbox 4 Post Cabinet, with 2 sides and a door locally for $125.00. It takes the cage nuts. I found some cheap cage nuts online. They fit, but not securely. Not sure if it is the cage nut quality or what.
 

AMD_Gamer

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19" racks are for the most part standard in the IT industry.
23" racks are for the most part standard in the telco industry. Stuff like POTS switch gear, DSLAMs, fiber optic patch panels, etc are usually found in the 23" variety.

So you'll want to get a 19" rack. I have found from experience that not all racks are built to correct dimensions and may be off by a smidgeon. You may need to "widen" the rackmount ears on your hardware with a drill.

I haven't seen any 19" free standing 2 post racks with square holes. They probably exist, but to me it would seem hardware wouldn't be securely screwed down. For what is worth, I picked up a used 24U Blackbox 4 Post Cabinet, with 2 sides and a door locally for $125.00. It takes the cage nuts. I found some cheap cage nuts online. They fit, but not securely. Not sure if it is the cage nut quality or what.

Where would I look for that stuff, craigs list?
 

hawk82

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Craigslist is a good place to look for used IT hardware like racks. If you live near a metro area, I'm willing to bet there will be rack cabinets galore in there. That's where I picked up the rack cabinet I mentioned. Bought it from a hospital that was downsizing it's IT infrastructure (virtualizing servers), so they didn't need as many rack cabinets. I was offered a 42U APC rack cabinet (beige) for $150 if I remember. Correction, I think I paid $75 for the 24U rack cabinet.
 

AMD_Gamer

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do rack mount servers with rails still fit into a 19" network rack? something like the Norco-4020?
 

MavsX

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pretty much if it's "rack mountable"....it's going to be 19" thats a standard. Try measuring your norco-4020. The rack mount ears don't add too much to the width, maybe like 1/8 of an each on each side.
 

AMD_Gamer

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pretty much if it's "rack mountable"....it's going to be 19" thats a standard. Try measuring your norco-4020. The rack mount ears don't add too much to the width, maybe like 1/8 of an each on each side.

the norco dimensions are: Dimensions ( W x D x H ) 19" x 25.5" x 7.0" (483mm x 650mm x 176mm)

the rails are 0.5" thick, here are pics of the rails on it, should it fit fine in a 19" rack?

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=16728496#post16728496
 

MavsX

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the norco dimensions are: Dimensions ( W x D x H ) 19" x 25.5" x 7.0" (483mm x 650mm x 176mm)

the rails are 0.5" thick, here are pics of the rails on it, should it fit fine in a 19" rack?

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=16728496#post16728496

yeah man, that should work fine. the server slides on the rails. you basically attach the rails to the rack first, attach some rails to the server, and then slide them in. But, thats for a 4 post rack.

if your going with the 2 post rack, then you dont even need the rails. You could just attach it the rack at the bottom.
 

AMD_Gamer

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yeah man, that should work fine. the server slides on the rails. you basically attach the rails to the rack first, attach some rails to the server, and then slide them in. But, thats for a 4 post rack.

if your going with the 2 post rack, then you dont even need the rails. You could just attach it the rack at the bottom.

Ok thanks for the info, so I should just have it sitting at the bottom of the rack unattached?

This is going to be a learning rack, where I can get hands on experience with rack equipment so i figured the rails would be cool.
 

dashpuppy

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Ok thanks for the info, so I should just have it sitting at the bottom of the rack unattached?

This is going to be a learning rack, where I can get hands on experience with rack equipment so i figured the rails would be cool.

Im in the same boat, all my rack equipment is sitting on a computer LOL it wobbles.

4 post will be your best bet, but you also have to look at the depth of the equipment you are getting. If you get a 4 post make sure it has enough depth for it to hold the equipment, some might stick out the back some won't.

I have been scouring CL, and i see lots on there, just a matter of time before i just go buy one. I want a 3 foot mini rack for all my equipment.
 

Madnes5

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Hmm never heard of these square hole before? you mean the holes that you attach the gear to on each side? I think the rack I posted above ans Skeletek racks are not square? they dont even mention it?

Rack rails come in two different "flavors". The first have simple screw holes per the EIA standard. The problem with these as noted is that if you strip a hole, you're somewhat screwed and can no longer use that hole without fixing it. The second type has square holes in the front of the rack rail. You insert square metal nuts that stick into the square holes. You then thread the rack screws into the holes.

From: http://www.starcase.com/
RQARAILCOLLAGE.jpg
 

MavsX

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Rack rails come in two different "flavors". The first have simple screw holes per the EIA standard. The problem with these as noted is that if you strip a hole, you're somewhat screwed and can no longer use that hole without fixing it. The second type has square holes in the front of the rack rail. You insert square metal nuts that stick into the square holes. You then thread the rack screws into the holes.

From: http://www.starcase.com/
RQARAILCOLLAGE.jpg

exactly. The square things are called "cage nuts", and yes, they come in different flavors. We have a whole box of different ones. I remember one of them is the "M6" flavor, another was "10/32" or something. So you would need to figure out what you get. If you buy a new rack, it will come with the cage nuts...i bet.
 

MavsX

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Ok thanks for the info, so I should just have it sitting at the bottom of the rack unattached?

This is going to be a learning rack, where I can get hands on experience with rack equipment so i figured the rails would be cool.

Yeah, just put the server at the bottom, you can still screw it into the rack, you don't have to use the rails. The rails are separate from the rack mount ears. Although, on that server, i think the rack mount ears are built into the front of the case. So you could just screw the server into the 2 post rack. Usually rack mount ears are only for networking equipment, where as servers already have the ears built in. The rails make it easier to pull the server out of the rack, to do maintenance on it, and then it makes it easy to slide back into the rack. Thats all the rails are for.

So 2 post, and 4 post. Find out what you want. One is bigger than the other, and i bet the 4 post costs more than the 2 post. I'd get wheels too, since yours is going to be so full of stuff.
 

aaronearles

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what? you need rails to properly mount a server in a 4 post rack, otherwise there is nothing to mount to the rear posts...
 

doh

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exactly. The square things are called "cage nuts", and yes, they come in different flavors. We have a whole box of different ones. I remember one of them is the "M6" flavor, another was "10/32" or something. So you would need to figure out what you get. If you buy a new rack, it will come with the cage nuts...i bet.

M6 is metric and #10/32 is imperial. Both refer to the threading inside the cage nut. Whatever you do standardise on imperial or metric! The only thing more frustrating than not having a homogeneous set of cage nuts is not having square hole racks.

So here's the skinny on square holes:

Cage nuts get affixed into the square hole, which present a round threaded hole into which the gear is screwed. You will want a cage nut tool, which is essentially a curved piece of metal with an apparatus for getting the nuts in and out without tearing up your hands. Racking 42U of gear? Get a cage nut tool.
 

k1pp3r

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You will want a cage nut tool, which is essentially a curved piece of metal with an apparatus for getting the nuts in and out without tearing up your hands. Racking 42U of gear? Get a cage nut tool.

I wouldn't buy that, a flat blade screwdriver does the same darn thing, and you probably already have one
 

MavsX

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M6 is metric and #10/32 is imperial. Both refer to the threading inside the cage nut. Whatever you do standardise on imperial or metric! The only thing more frustrating than not having a homogeneous set of cage nuts is not having square hole racks.

So here's the skinny on square holes:

Cage nuts get affixed into the square hole, which present a round threaded hole into which the gear is screwed. You will want a cage nut tool, which is essentially a curved piece of metal with an apparatus for getting the nuts in and out without tearing up your hands. Racking 42U of gear? Get a cage nut tool.


thanks for mentioning the cage nuts...hahaa

yeah, we racked two 42U's worth of shit a few years ago..just used a flathead. Probably would have been easier to use a tool. lol. now i know. thanks
 

doh

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I wouldn't buy that, a flat blade screwdriver does the same darn thing, and you probably already have one

The curved bit on the cage nut tool gets in behind the nut and makes it MUCH easier than using a flat-head screwdriver. My boss and I had this argument when we were racking an entire cabinet of gear. With the cage nut tool I won, easily.
 

aaronearles

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Yeah I didn't even know there was a tool specifically for this, but I've torn my hands up without and even with the flathead it just doesn't work very well
 

k1pp3r

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The curved bit on the cage nut tool gets in behind the nut and makes it MUCH easier than using a flat-head screwdriver. My boss and I had this argument when we were racking an entire cabinet of gear. With the cage nut tool I won, easily.

How much is that tool?
 

aaronearles

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Google shopping pulled up a couple different types, there's the one described above for as low as $3 but there's also a nail clipper looking style that are about $20.
 

k1pp3r

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Google shopping pulled up a couple different types, there's the one described above for as low as $3 but there's also a nail clipper looking style that are about $20.

For $3 its a no brainer, i would do it. but unless i delt with a lot more rack mount hear, $20 probably no lol
 

doh

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How much is that tool?

They don't exist! You can't really buy these individually as they tend to come with new racks or certain rackmount gear. But Google products lists them for $20. It's a no-brainer even at that price since it makes it so easy to place and remove cage nuts.
 
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