Enclosed server racks are designed to protect and organize server hardware. Deciding between open and enclosed server racks is a conditional case of weight pros and cons. Enclosed server racks are the better choice if isolating server hardware and controlling airflow are more important than cost. Enclosed server racks offer several advantages that are not possible with open server racks.
If you’re storing your server hardware in an open or widely accessed area you might have concerns about people messing with your systems. While an open server rack lets you access the hardware from all sides, it has no way to keep people out. An open server rack does not feature walls or doors, which makes it impossible to lock and secure the rack itself.
Enclosed server racks often feature front and rear doors with locking mechanisms that physically protect the servers from unauthorized human tampering. Additionally, since server racks are so large it is impractical for anyone to attempt to steal the whole thing. Comparatively, thieves can easily remove hardware from open server racks.
Enclosed server racks act like sturdy shields protecting the hardware stored inside. In the unlikely event that someone drops something heavy that collides with the server rack, an enclosed rack offers a fair degree of protection from all sides. The rack itself will be damaged before the server hardware. An open rack server only offers server hardware a small degree of protection on the corners. Enclosed racks are the way to go in areas that see a lot of foot traffic and heavy object movement.
Keeping it Clean
Open server racks work great in controlled, isolated rooms. However, you may not have that luxury and have to store the server rack in a warehouse or an office. Most server hardware uses air-flow based cooling and will suck in any dust and debris in the air — which wears down hardware and restricts airflow. An enclosed server rack restricts the air intake direction which minimizes how much dust and debris works in to the servers.
Atmosphere-controlled enclosed server racks can actually save you money down the line through isolated cooling options. Heat build-up is bad for server hardware and too much of it can cause server hardware to break. Computer hardware runs relative to the ambient or room temperature, which means that a computer in a cooler room runs at a lower temperature. An enclosed server rack lets you cool just the air immediately around the server hardware instead of having to cool the entire room.
Advantages for All Server Racks
Free-standing server hardware can be difficult and dangerous to stack, so you can only use horizontal storage space. Without a rack, you’re losing out on available vertical storage space. A server rack lets you store hardware on top of other hardware with minimal space waste and can cut floor space usage. Additionally, server racks make it easier to streamline and sort hardware cable layouts, which cuts down on maintenance time.