Cabinets for rackmount cases

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Thu Mar 14 08:15:47 PST 2002

On Thu, 14 Mar 2002, Hao He wrote:

> I am going to set up a cluster with rackmount cases.
> I found some web stores where we can get the cases and sliding rails,
> but I could not find the cabinets to contain the cases.
> Can anyone recommend some place where we can buy the cabinets for rackmount systems?
> Thanks in advance.
> BTW, I am in Detroit, Michigan.

Cabinets tend to be expensive.  Basic racks tend to be much cheaper.  I
am fortunate in that our local vendor carries Antec racks and associated
hardware for around $150 (to lazy to look it up, might be $140 might be
$160).  By the time you add a bit of useful bric-a-brac like screws,
cable runs, maybe a heavy duty shelf you might spend $250-300 on a rack.

A "cabinet" IIRC costs more like $1K.  Its a rack with sides, back, door
and so forth.  The cabinet tends to be prettier and might be
structurally a bit stronger (although ordinary racks can generally take
a full or nearly full load anyway).  However, do you WANT a door or
sides obstructing or channeling airflow on a pile of boxes burning
several KW total?  I don't think so.  Do you WANT to spend an extra $700
(or more) on prettyness instead of an extra node or a switch?  Again, I
doubt it.  Unless your pockets are deep, of course;-)

If you shop around Detroit, I'm pretty sure you can find scads of places
that sell serious hardware (such as racks and node/server class boxen)
but they won't be places like Best Buy or Circuit City.  Look for small
independent computer stores and pick one with sensible people that
builds their own stuff (and hence can custom build you nodes), has a
local service department (so you can get them fixed without having to
mail them back) and who WANTS to make a customer who might buy in lots
of twenty or thirty very, very happy -- there are probably twenty of
them scattered along Mack alone.  We use Intrex locally (central NC),
but unfortunately they don't extend up to Michigan because they are a
small independent computer store:-).  My mother-in-law teaches at Mercy
and I've spent a lot of time in Detroit as a consequence over the last
25 years or so, but alas I've never done any serious system shopping

If you don't mind buying from the web,
(microwarehouse by another face) has pretty nearly anything and
everything you might conceiveably need and offers decent educational
discounts across the board.  I generally buy switches and networking
stuff from them that is beyond Intrex's province.  Rob Chlupsa
(ChlupsaR at is my educational contact there, and he has a brand
new "network specialist" working with him who ought to be able to help
you pick out cost-efficient racks and sort out the hardware you need
(patch panels, patch cables, switch) to mount your nodes.  He may or may
not have you in his territory but if not he'll refer you to their area
edu-rep.  They'd probably also be happy to build your nodes but I doubt
they'd match the price or service you can get from a GOOD local company.



> Hao He
> Dept. of Engineering Mechanics
> Wayne State University
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Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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