DIY 2U Rackmount Server Vertically to Wall.

Ever bought a rackmount server only to realise that fitting it into your small-ish homelab is going to be a logistical challenge?

My “server room” also doubles as the Utility and simply doesn’t have the space to put in a large floor or wall mounted traditional rack fit for a full length 2U server.

Considered ‘hanging’ it vertically – and indeed there are wall mounted rackmount kits you can get for this… they appear to be stupidly expensive for the bit of bent steel, and to be honest, this Dell R720xd is intended for rails, not to hang off lug ears (which don’t appear to be capable of supporting the weight – they’re functional in that they provide VGA, USB and the power switch).

So I wondered if I could fix it to the wall sideways?

Enter the ‘shelf rack’. To make these, you need 4 (or 6) 5″x4″ L shaped heavy duty brackets with two mounting holes on each leg. If you want something to order, try these:

Heavy Duty Galvanised Shelf Bracket 6 Pack – 5×4″ / 125x100mm

2U is 3.5 inches which makes the 4″ bracket perfect for my needs.

Using 2 x M6 bolts, affix two of the brackets together along the 4″ side.

Z-Mount Rack

Using two of these, we can affix them to the wall and we’ve created a decent shelf upon which to set the server. I call it the Z-Mount. [ If normal Horizonal is X and Vertical (hanging down) is Y (like the racks you can buy to hang a server from the rack ears), then sideways-flat-against-the-wall is Z. ]

One thing I didn’t count on was the hole offsets – which made the distance beween the wall and the outer bracket closer to 4.5″. I was concerned that this was too big a gap for the server to remain secure. The solution here was to use a couple of Staple on Plate mounts and two tie-down buckle straps. Both items are very cheap.

Silverline 449682 Tie-Down Cam Buckle Straps 2.5m x 25mm
Fixman 943775 Black Chain Staple & Plate 50mm x 50mm

This has the benefit of being a failsafe against bracket failure (highly unlikely) and provides a small amount of vibration insulation.

The final option is to bolt a 3rd shelf bracket to the outer arm of our mounting bracket and screw in a shelf. This provides a useful monitor and keyboard shelf.

Total costs:

Heavy Duty Galvanised Shelf Brackets£10.59
Silverline tie down buckle straps£3.41
Black Staple on Plate x 2£2.68
Total cost:£16.68

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