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Homelab Server Rack: What to consider and what I recommend


Homelab rack

If you’re like me, you love playing with technology. A homelab is a great way to learn new technologies and test ideas. But what’s the best way to set up your home lab? This article will discuss the available homelab racks and what works best for a home lab. I will also recommend some products that will help you get started!


What exactly is a homelab?

A home lab is a place in your house where you can experiment without fear of losing data or downtime. There are many different types of home labs. Some people use it just to learn about networking, while others use it to build custom hardware. Whatever your reason for building one, there are several ways to set up a home lab.

A home lab can be as simple as a single computer or server or a more complex setup with multiple devices, including wireless access points, switches, routers, firewalls, webcams, IP cameras, etc.

Location is one of the most important things to consider when setting up your home lab. You’ll want to find a place that is safe and secure. This could be a dedicated room in your house, apartment, or even a closet! Once you have a location, you’ll need to start thinking about how to power and cool your devices.

Building a Website?

Intel NUC

The most popular option is a server rack. A server rack can be purchased pre-assembled, or you can build your own. I recommend purchasing a pre-assembled server rack if you’re just starting out. This will save you time and money in the long run! You can also purchase a small network rack.


Best server homelab rack

When looking for the best server rack for your homelab, you’ll want to consider the following factors:

Types: Cabinets vs. open frame

There are two main types of rack servers: cabinets and open-frame. Cabinets are fully enclosed and provide more security for your devices. They also tend to be more expensive than open-frame. Open frames are less expensive and provide better airflow, but they don’t offer as much security for your devices.


Size: 

The size of the rack is important. You’ll want to ensure that it will fit in the space you’ve chosen for your lab. The most common sizes are 19-inch and 23-inch. A 19-inch basic one will fit in most places, while a 23-inch one is larger and requires more space. Sizes are also mentioned as U, with U being the height of Rack Units (RU).


Weight:

The weight of the rack is also important. You’ll want to ensure that it can support the weight of all your devices. The average weight for a 19-inch server rack is 50kg, while a 23-inch one can weigh up to 80kg.


Features:

  • Type of devices that can be mounted in the rack
  • Doors or sides that open
  • Wheels for easy moving
  • Levelers/ Cable Management / Network Cable Runs 
  • locking doors to keep your devices safe
  • power strip to power all of your devices
  • Excess Heat consideration / extra cooling

Make sure the rack has all of the features you need, such as wheels for easy movement, locking doors to keep your devices safe, and a power strip to power all of your devices.


Cost Server Rack:

Of course, you’ll also want to consider price when choosing a server rack for your homelab. Server racks can range in price from around $100 to over $1000. It’s important to find one that fits your budget and needs. Many options are available, so be sure to do your research!


Recommended Homelab Hardware

Now that you know what to look for in a server rack let’s take a look at some of the hardware you’ll need to get started with your home lab. The following are just a few ideas to get you started!

  • A good quality server rack. This is perhaps the most important piece of hardware you’ll need for your home lab. Make sure to choose a rack that’s well-built and designed for easy expansion.
  • When choosing a server for your home lab, it’s important to consider expandability. If you plan on adding more devices to your home lab in the future, you’ll need a server that can accommodate additional hardware. Rack-mounted servers are an excellent choice since they offer more expandability than tower servers.
  • A reliable network switch. Your home lab will need a fast and reliable network switch to connect all your devices together. Look for a switch that offers plenty of ports, such as a 10-Port Gigabit Switch as a Core Switch and a 24-Port Managed Gigabit Switch. I would only buy managed switches. 1gbit or 10gbit switch is recommended. Quality cables, at least CAT7 Cables. Be sure to use high-quality cables to connect your devices together. Cheap cables can cause data loss and slow down your network speeds.
  • A UPS (uninterruptible power supply). A UPS is an important piece of hardware for any home lab. It provides backup power during a power outage and protects your devices from surges.
  • A firewall will protect your home lab from outside threats. Be sure to choose a firewall with enough ports for all your devices.

These are just a few ideas to get you started with your home lab hardware. With the right equipment, you’ll be able to build a powerful and expandable home lab that will serve you well for years to come! Thanks for reading! I hope this has helped you understand what you need to start your own home lab! If you have any questions,


My recommendations for Rack Cabinets


StarTech – my favorite

StarTech 12 AV Cabinet

Network Rack with Glass Door – 19-inch Computer Cabinet for Server Room or Office

Homelab Server Racks

Open Frame Server Rack – 4 Post Adjustable Depth 22-40″ Mobile – Free Standing Rolling

StarTech.com 12U 19″

12U Wall Mount Consumer Series Server Cabinet Network Enclosure Locks, Fan


Photo Title Buy
StarTech.com 9U Open...image StarTech.com 9U Open Frame Rack with Wheels - 4 Post 23" Deep Portable Open Frame Cabinet for 19" Network, Data & Server Equipment - 220 lbs capacity (RK960CP)
Sysracks 18U 35...image Sysracks 18U 35 inch Deep Server Rack Cabinet It Enclosure - Cooling Fans - LCD Screen - Thermostat - PDU - Casters - 2 Fans – Shelf
Sysracks - Server...image Sysracks - Server Rack – Wall Mount Rack - Locking Cabinet for Network - Electronics - Security - Audio - Video - AV Equipment - Data Rack - Legs/Power Strip/Shelf/Fan - 24-Inch Deep Sysracks… (18U)
Sysracks 15U 35...image Sysracks 15U 35 Inch Depth Server Rack Cabinet Enclosure Fully Equipped for Server Equipment Fully Lockable Network IT 19 Inch Enclosure Box
StarTech.com 42U Server...image StarTech.com 42U Server Rack Cabinet - 4-Post Adjustable Depth (6" to 36") IT Network Equipment Rack Enclosure with Casters - 2000lbs (RK4236BKB)
StarTech.com 18U 19 StarTech.com 18U 19" Open Frame Server Rack - 4 Post Adjustable Depth 22-40" Mobile - Free Standing Rolling Network/Computer Equipment Data Rack- Dell PowerEdge HP ProLiant ThinkServer (4POSTRACK18U)
Tedgetal 9U Wall...image Tedgetal 9U Wall Mount Rack Open Frame 19" Server Equipment 18 inches Depth 2 Post Network Cabinet Black
KENUCO Black 9U...image KENUCO Black 9U Wall Mount Open Frame Steel Network Equipment Rack 17.75 Inch Deep - Black - 9U - W19'' x D17.75'' x H19.25'' (REG-9U)

Conclusion:

Building a home lab can be a great way to learn about new technologies and gain hands-on experience. However, it’s important to choose the right hardware for your needs. Before purchasing, consider the server cabinet size, weight, features, and price. In addition, you’ll need a quality server, network switch, cables, UPS, and firewall for your home lab. 

With the right equipment, you’ll be able to build a powerful and expandable home lab that will serve you well for years to come!

Do you want to know what equipment I have in my homelab? I admit I don’t have a rack cabin yet.

Thanks for reading! I hope this has helped you understand what you need to start your own home lab! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me directly.


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