A Quiet Server Rack


The thing about business class servers is that, well, they are made for businesses. Businesses with a dedicated server room, AC, and power. They are not made to run in your closet. Oops. Fortunately, I found a solution that will allow me to run the mini server farm in my home office without having to wear ear plugs.

After some Google research I discovered a small noise reducing server rack from XRackPro. This looked like it would work but I did experience some sticker shock. Can’t give up now, I have 4 U worth of servers that need a home.

I found the rack I wanted on ebay for a better price than the XRackPro web site, mostly due to a lower shipping cost. I bought a new 6U model from “pcrush-outlet”. It drop-shipped directly from China and arrived on a pallet two weeks later. I also ordered used rail sets on ebay for the HPs. These were pricey too but at least I could find them.

The case is really something. It is large, heavy, and substantial. It weighs 100lbs empty. The inside is covered with a thick insulating foam. The front door is glass. The air flows from the front bottom (which has a heavy duty air filter) and out the back. The back has two fans. Ironically, these fans make the most noise once everything is powered up (after the HP jet engine boot phase). The rack mounts have square holes.

case

I installed my servers, turned them on and waited to hear the result. I couldn’t imagine sending the case back so it had to work. And it did. To my ears it cut the sound level enough to be tolerable running in my office. Whew! The servers and rails fit perfectly. There is just enough space at the back for cabling.

I recommend a few things if you are going to buy this case. First, it does not come with enough cage nuts and screws to mount 6U of equipment. That seems kinda cheap to me but oh well. It comes with enough for two (16 cage nuts). It takes the square cage nut (sorry not sure what the designation is) and #10/32 screws. The XRackPro site sells them for less than I could find them for on Amazon.

I also recommend you buy the wheel casters. The case ships with feet but you will need to move it from time to time and once you mount the servers it weighs 200+ pounds. You don’t want to lift that. The XRackPro site also sells them.

Another thing to keep in mind is that all this equipment draws a lot of power. In fact, more power than the average home circuit can support. The solution is either to add a higher capacity circuit or to spread the load across two different circuits. I’m trying the latter and it has worked so far. But I am not an electrician so you should get better advice if you ever want to try this.

I guess I should also make one of those “interest” statements. I have no interest in or relationship with any of the vendors or ebay sellers I review. I bought this stuff entirely on my own the old-fashioned way—putting it on my credit card.



Categories: Hardware

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