Building A Rack Server Versus Hosted Options

server racks roomBuilding your own server rack may sound like a good idea. You would be in charge of all of the components; however the downside is once you realize what goes into the initial set up, also factoring the ongoing maintenance and upkeep; ask yourself if it really benefits you to do so?

As you plan out your server rack, consider what benefit you get from having each component onsite and how that compares to other options, such as a web hosting server or having a rack builder build your rack for you.

The Rack Design

You start with a choice of 19-inch and 23-inch standard rack widths. Mounting brackets are made to hold a standard 1.752-inch high module in various lengths. A one rack unit is designated as 1U with the industry standard being a rack that is 42U high.

What type of equipment and how much determines the rack you purchase. Building a server rack from scratch means you’ll need to accommodate the following components:

  • server motherboard modules
  • memory modules
  • disk drives
  • power supply
  • cooling fans

You may also have network boards and RAID controllers in the rack.

You want there to be air space between the components so don’t plan on a rack that just fits all of the modules. You also want to have an idea of your expansion plans. How much more capacity will you need in one year? Consider buying rack space that can accommodate growth in your business over the next couple years. It will likely be more expensive a year from now, and will prove to be an investment worth making now. Finding the additional physical space for the expanded rack now may be easier than in a year, too.

The Rack Environment

You’ll want to plan the cabling so it is secure and a connector that can not be kicked out easily when entering or walking through the room. You also need to be able to get to cables for maintenance and replacement. You’ll want space behind the rack for servicing and upgrades.

The Other Options

Using web hosting servers requires no hardware in your office. The service provider can configure your initial environment to handle the current business. When your business grows, your provider gives you more capacity without you needing to determine how many more motherboards or disk drives you need.

Extra data protection is available by specifying dedicated servers when using a hosted service. You can have your own private servers and data storage for sensitive information that needs absolute security. If that is not the case, a colocation option lets you share a data center with other businesses. You get the same performance but in a shared environment.

It may be tempting to build your own server rack until you add up the time and costs. Your time is likely more useful in other areas, such as growing your business. Consider professional rack builders and leaving the hardware up to a web hosting service or colocation facility as being the best choice for your business.

+Katrina is a product specialist for RackSolutions, the market leader for designing and manufacturing custom racking products for the IT industry! You can read more about our company here