Open Frame Rack Vs. Rack Cabinet Enclosure

An appropriate server rack for any company or network depends on the goals of the network owner. Generally, an open frame rack or a rack cabinet enclosure can provide the protection and organization that is required for any network. Although both options contain mounting slots, there are some key differences to consider before selecting a specific option.

Open Frame Rack

As the name suggests, open frame server racks do not enclose the servers that are placed in the bays. Instead, they have an open and simple design with several mounting slots that organize the servers and hardware. Due to the open design, the server rack is not appropriate for any hardware that has a high risk of exposure to water, other liquids or contaminants that can damage the server.

The primary benefit of an open frame rack is the cost efficiency. While the exact cost can vary significantly between sizes and brands, an open frame rack is usually less expensive than a rack cabinet enclosure. The server can also be removed or placed in the rack without difficulty due to the open design.

Open Frame Rack Vs. Rack Cabinet Enclosure

Rack Cabinet Enclosures

A rack cabinet enclosure is designed to hold a server, or several servers, without taking any risks that the servers will be exposed to the elements. Since it is surrounded by materials on every side, the 42u cabinet offers a greater level of protection when compared to an open frame rack. Furthermore, the security of the server is greater because it cannot be removed as easily from the bay.

The rack enclosure has a layer of protection that surrounds the server, but it is also designed to improve airflow and to keep the servers from overheating. The downside of the rack cabinet enclosure is the higher cost when compared to an open frame rack.

Selecting an Appropriate Server Rack

The rack that is most appropriate for the network of hardware depends on several factors. The factors to consider include:

  • Security requirements
  • Cable management techniques
  • Potential exposure to water, wind or other elements
  • The budget that is available
  • Concerns about overheating
  • Available space
  • Equipment that will be placed in the rack

A rack cabinet enclosure is a better choice when there are concerns about security or when the rack has any potential exposure to the elements. If it will spend time outdoors, then an enclosed rack is more appropriate because it will protect the hardware from the elements.

On the other hand, an open frame rack is more appropriate when there is a limited budget or when the hardware has a low risk of exposure to water or contaminants. Open frame racks are also appropriate when there is limited space.

Evaluate every risk and potential concern that can arise before selecting a server rack. Low risk locations can benefit from an open frame rack while high risk areas can require an enclosed rack.

There are benefits and disadvantages that are associated with any server rack. A company or network owner should evaluate all of the risks and concerns that are associated with the servers before selecting a rack for the hardware.

Katrina racks them in for the market! leader of custom racking products at RackSolutions.com

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