Rack types

Two-post, four-post, divider panels, baying or ganging, wallmount . . . There are so many items to consider when choosing a rack or enclosure that it can be a bit overwhelming to decide which solution is best for your IT environment.

Other good-to-know information on racks and enclosures can be found on the Rack consideration checklist, Rack solution worksheet and Tips for cable management webpages.


2-Post Rack

The two-post rack is the most simply designed, featuring an open frame that allows for vertical rackmounting of equipment and offers full and easy access. As the name suggests, the rack is constructed of two vertical steel posts joined together by top and bottom cross members, making installation and equipment maintenance easy. The two-post rack fits in tight spaces and offers flexibility when reconfiguring equipment and cables.

One drawback is that with only two posts, it isn’t the most stable solution for rackmounting a lot of equipment. However, most two-post racks include floor-anchoring accessories, recommended because they’re holding up mission-critical equipment that is integral to your business operations.

Some highlights of the two-post rack include:

  • Quick assembly
  • Small footprint
  • Lightweight
  • Accessible
  • Ideal for network and telecommunications (VoIP) gear


Four Post Rack

Four-post rack is similar to the two-post rack with its open design, but it offers more stability. The open frame allows air to flow in and out of equipment freely. When shopping for a four-post rack, look for one with labeled U spaces, which helps when you install servers, network equipment, cable management, rack power distribution units (PDUs) and other accessories.

Some highlights of the four-post rack include:

  • Ease of installation
  • Increased stability
  • Equipment accessibility
  • Increased load rating
  • Ideal for cable-dense networking equipment


Eaton Enclosures

Enclosures are essentially enclosed four-post racks with front and rear doors as well as side panels. Using an enclosure increases the security of your rackmount equipment. As you move from the network closet to server rooms and large data centers, enclosures are the primary rackmount solution for servers, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems and networking equipment. Removable side panels and doors, as well as rackmount rail kits that allow you to easily move equipment in and out of the enclosure, offer quick access while also protecting equipment from unauthorized entry. Additionally, with rapidly increasing power consumption and escalating heat output from IT equipment, an enclosure platform provides more flexibility to contain and direct the heat through rack- and aisle-based heat containment strategies including enclosure chimneys.

Some highlights of enclosures include:

  • Enhanced security
  • Controlled thermal management
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Broader range of mounting options for accessories
  • Ideal for small server rooms and large enterprise data centers


Wall Mounted Cabinets

Wallmount enclosures may be an appropriate choice for a smaller operation that isn’t in need of a full-size rack or enclosure. This cost-effective and versatile solution provides secure storage of communications cabling, network gear, and related equipment on a wall—freeing up valuable desktop or counter space. Oftentimes, your “backbone” equipment is placed in a more public space—rather than in a network closet, server room or data center—so aesthetics and security can play larger roles. From an accessibility standpoint, dual-hinged wallmount enclosures offer diagnostic, maintenance, and service access from both the front and rear.

Some highlights of wallmount enclosures include:

  • Protection from tampering and accidental unplugging
  • Clear counters, desktops and shelves
  • Adequate ventilation to keep equipment cool
  • Optional fan kits and intake air filters
  • Ideal for manufacturing and production environments, small/remote offices, retail, security offices, etc.


Interested in more information like this?
View the Rack and Enclosures Fundamentals Handbook