Not too many years ago, name brand server rack (Dell, HP) were a step above the non-name brand server rack in quality and functionality. Name brand racks were specifically designed to house servers from those manufacturers while the off brands were more functionally suited for standard equipment add-ons such as trays for holding monitors, keyboards and any standard 19 inch add-on with standard mounting screw holes.
That has all changed with manufacturers now producing universal server rack with the intention of maintaining comparable quality to name brand server rack, thereby allowing the purchaser the option of enclosing multiple brands of servers inside the same unit. This provides more flexibility to small businesses that might have to use different servers in order to meet their company’s needs. These new server racks now allow IT managers to maintain server rooms standards, even if they are using multiple servers from different manufactures. Universal server racks are also a great option for companies housing other company’s co-location servers saving the host money by allowing the option of purchasing of one rack as opposed to two or possibly 3, depending on their current server situation.
Universal server racks are also compatible with data centers and in fact, the data center’s demand for these products is what prompted the engineering of the Universal Server Rack, Every detail from security and durability to its appearance and compatibility were created with data centers as the required model for the engineering of these racks.
The best way to determine the differences is to compare apples to apples as the following table illustrates.
Specifications-Dell 4220-Universal 42U
Average Retail Price-$1,100-$900
Size-78.7" (H) x 23.8" (W) x 42.1" (D)-78" (H) x 24" (W) x 40" (D)
Lockable Doors (F&R)-Yes (Standard Locks)-Yes (Interchangeable Locks)
Removable Side Panels-Yes-Yes
Perforated Doors (F&R)-Yes-Yes
Easy Leveling Castors-Yes-Yes
Adjustable Mounting Posts-Yes-Yes
Square Mounting Tabs-Yes-Yes
Source: Dell & Global 1 Resources comparing new 42U server cabinets.
These side by side comparisons show that today’s Universal Server Racks offer the budget minded IT manager the same system for less cost.