Rack or Cabinet

Steve_L_Smith at dell.com Steve_L_Smith at dell.com
Wed Jun 18 06:27:58 EDT 2003


You should take the advice of the system vendor. At Dell (this is not an
advert:-) we design our systems (as do all tier 1s) for mounting in enclosed
racks (including side panels and doors). This is to ensure correct cooling.
Running something like a Dell PowerEdge 1750 1U DP Xeon in an open cabinet
is definitely not recommended. The systems are designed to have front to
back cooling, allowing air to circulate randomly around the sides and tops
upsets this airflow and will cause the heat within the server to rise,
possibly leading to over-temperature situations. And if you do not fill a
complete rack, you should also use blanking panels to maintain the airflow -
also note that this also applies to e.g. a Myrinet switch - you should use
blanking panels if you do not fully populate the switch chassis.

Unfortunately noise is not something that we can do much about at the moment
- putting hot processors in small spaces means we need big/fast (hence
somewhat noisy) fans to push the air out of our box into your room! 

Hope this helps


Steve Smith
HPC Business Manager
Dell Campus, Cain Road, Bracknell, RG12 1FA, UK
Direct: +44 1344 372037
Switchboard: +44 1344 812000
Fax: +44 1344 372359
Mobile: +44 7802 594874
email: steve_l_smith at dell.com


Message: 2
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 13:25:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: Trent Piepho <xyzzy at speakeasy.org>
To: Beowulf Mailing list <beowulf at beowulf.org>
Subject: Rack or Cabinet?

We're planning on buying a few rackmount systems, probably not so many
that they take more than one rack, and I'm trying to decide between an open
rack or a cabinet to house the systems+ups+switch+etc in.

I don't have much experience with rackmount systems, so I'm wondering if
anyone here has any experiences to share.  The noise of the computer room is
annoying the people near it, so I'd like to get a cabinet if they're
but I'm concerned about the cooling issues.  Does the enclosed space cause
cabinets to overheat?  I see some come with a few fans on the top, but is
really enough?  We have a cooled computer room, but no fancy underfloor AC

>From what I've gathered about the pro/cons of the two.

  cheaper, usually < $500
  open design probably results in better cooling

  doesn't look as nice, with exposed rat's nests of wires, etc.

  Looks nice, with plexyglass doors and hidden wires, making non-techie
    more impressed with how their computer dollars were spent
  dampens sound
  expensive, typical > $1500
  lack of airflow may result in poor cooling


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