Designed for performance
Rack servers provide the most flexibility in a data centre as they can be repurposed for other applications and uses over the lifespan of the server.
Rack server Design
A rack server is normally mounted in a 42U 19” rack, smaller racks are available for businesses that have space constraints or require rack mounted servers that are mounted on rollers for portability or newer 70U 10ft tall racks that came out in 2016.
The most common rack server is 2U and this contains everything within the server including the CPU(s), memory, network connectivity, hard drives/SSD/NVMe, graphics, storage I/O and management.
A rack server normally has redundant fans and power supplies as well as hot swap drive bays. The network, graphics and storage controllers are normally mounted on a riser card that uses a PCIe slot.
Advantages of a Rack server
Below are some of the advantages of using a rack server:
Flexible – A rack server can house a multitude of interface cards to support external storage or high-speed networks such as 100GbE or 32Gbps Fibre Channel. It is this flexibility that makes them the No 1 choice for use in data centres.
Storage Capacity – Some rack servers can now support 20+ drives within a single 2U chassis making them ideal for applications such as Object Storage or High Capacity NAS.
HPC and Ai – Rack servers are a great solution for running software that require multiple GPU, some of the rack servers we provide can support 8x full length GPU cards in 2U!
Multiple Processor Support – Some 2U rack servers can support up to 8 CPU processors along with support for 15TB memory!
Adaptable – With increased CPU processing, data storage, memory, GPU and network connectivity a rack server could replace dedicated storage arrays. An application that takes advantage of this is software defined storage.
Application use cases
As a rackmount chassis is a highly dense computer it is ideal for all the following applications:
Virtualisation – Powerful enough to run a virtual infrastructure to provide VM’s for applications or be used for VDI to deliver a virtual desktop environment
Clustering – Ideal for use with software applications such as Microsoft Cluster Server or VMware vSphere Cluster these applications require multiple servers to create high performance clusters.
One may use a rack server for:
- Database servers
- File servers
- Mail servers
- Print servers
- Web servers
- Game servers
- Application servers
Limitations of using rack servers
A rackmount chassis as mentioned does have many benefits over blade servers but there are some limitations as shown below:
- Not as energy efficient as a blade server chassis
- Takes up more rack space than a blade server chassis
- Cabling can be an issue when using multiple servers in a rack
- Is not as dense for compute and memory as a blade server
If you need some guidance in choosing a suitable rack server chassis for your requirement or application, we’re here to help.