May 27th, 2015 by Adam Armstrong
Eaton S-Series Rack Review
The Eaton S-Series rack comes in both 42U and 48U heights, with depths of either 42” or 48”, and a variety of widths. The racks are ideal for small to medium-scale datacenter deployments to hold servers, storage arrays, and networking equipment as well as all the necessary power equipment to keep it up and running. The S-Series racks play an integral part in the growing StorageReview Lab where the overwhelming majority of enterprise equipment is rack-mounted, with a great deal of hardware is needed to operate the benchmarks we use in our day to day operation.
The Eaton S-Series of racks are designed for small to medium businesses. As mentioned the racks come in standard 42U or 48U heights. For this review, and our general us in the lab, we are looking at the 42U model with a 24" width and 42" depth. The 42U height fits in better with standard doorways and the ceiling height of our lab. The racks have a depth of either 42” or 48” and have a width of either 24” or 30” with one model having a width of 25.5”. The racks are black in color, can hold up to 3,000lbs, and have casters for easy movement. There are also legs that can be extended down once the rack is in the proper place to keep it firmly planted once its positioned correctly.
The Eaton S-Series Racks also come with several features and optional accessories. Features include “zero leakage” around the front perimeter, several cabling management options, high flow single front door and split rear door with 75% open perforation patterns, side or divider panels, preinstalled grounding, and vertical blanking panels with cable pass through. Optional accessories include solid side panels for the units on the end or for single racks, cable rings for vertical cable management, lacing bars for attaching cables and power bars, and a floor grommet for maintaining maximum pressure in the sub-floor plenum when cables are installed.
Aside from the features and options, there is also another line of racks, the Seismic S-Series. Along with the above mentioned specifications and benefits, the Seismic S-Series racks are aimed at high vibration areas such as earthquake zones, power plants, and airports. The Seismic S-Series provides enhanced frame strength, increased rigidity, and reinforced corners.
Eaton S-Series Racks come with a limited-lifetime warranty and start at a street price of about $900 for the 42U, 24” model with no optional accessories.
Eaton S-Series Rack specifications:
- U Height: 42 or 48
- Width: 24" or 30"
- Depth: 42" or 48"
- Weight Capacity: 3,000 lbs
- Color: Black
Design, Build, and Usability
We have been using Eaton S-Series racks for several years now, starting with only one and recently we acquired our fourth and fifth. From a design perspective one advantage, though overlooked, is the rack color. The racks come in black, a wrinkle matte finish to be more precise. This is an advantage because not only does it match the look of most modern data centers, it also matches most of the equipment going into it. This may seem like an odd item to point out, but owners of IT equipment do have to show customers their environment at times, especially if it is integral to the service provided. Lots of clashing colors or fingerprints looks less appealing than solid black that matches equipment.
Another key advantage is strength as well as an enormous carrying capacity. The racks have a very solid build and are the strongest rack we’ve used so far. The build of the rack enables it to hold quite a bit of weight, up to 3,000lbs with some versions, leaving no real concern for the amount of equipment users can put into it. Once the racks are bolted to one another the build lends itself well by keeping the rack from flexing or moving. The strong build quality has one mild disadvantage, which is that the racks themselves weigh slightly more than some competing models that use thinner gauge metal.
Continuing on with the build of the racks, they come with easily detachable doors and side panels. The side panels come in two pieces on each side, the top comes off with a handle and the bottom is held in with two screws. Taking the panels off allows access to the sides of devices in freestanding or end-rack positions and can reduce the weight as the racks are being moved into their desired position. The front and rear doors are easily removable as well. There is a clip that can be squeezed into position and the doors come right off. Leaving the doors on can add to the overall security of the equipment in the racks. The doors can be locked to keep the equipment from being damaged or accessed without authorization. In a production environment where physical security is important this can be a big advantage. In our case, we move equipment in and out frequently for testing, so we leave the doors off. There is an option of ordering the racks without the doors, side panels, and even without the casters.
Moving inside to the design elements of the S-Series rack, Eaton puts a huge focus on making an IT administrator's life easier. Inside each rack there are numerous grounding attachments, connecting the base frame to the mounting rams to the side panels and doors. Since static buildup can ruin sensitive electronics, attention to these elements can help protect expensive equipment installed inside. There are many points not used from the factory, so equipment installed has areas that can they can connect to for proper grounding. Within a short reach, we were able to bolt a grounding strap to our 0U Eaton G3 PDU as well as our Eaton BladeUPS to pass its ground to the entire row of racks.
Once all your gear is installed, Eaton doesn't overlook cabling routing. There are huge cable passageways through the top and bottom of the rack for the bulk of the wiring to other areas of the datacenter. For inter-rack cabling between other S-Series racks bolted up to one another, there are large channels on the top of the rack with supplied plastic covers. In our environment we used these to route the thick PDU cables back to the rack with the BladeUPS installed in it. This keeps them nearly hidden from view and frees up precious space for other cabling for servers, storage arrays and switches.
The Eaton S-Series Racks are preconfigured enclosures that are designed for small to medium businesses. The racks come in 42U or 48U heights, 42” or 48” depths, and varying widths from 24”-30”. The S-Series comes with in a black, a wrinkle matte finish that goes well in modern datacenters and matches most equipment. The racks can hold up to 3,000 lbs., which is more than enough weight capacity for the majority of equipment that will be placed in them. The racks come with as well as have addition options that make grounding and cabling very simple and neat. There are additional side panels and doors that can improve the appearance of the racks as well as add security by prevent authorized access to the equipment. These panels and doors can be removed for easy access, connecting the racks together, and for the ease of running cables and power supplies.
The 42U S-Series rack is a great fit for our lab. Not only are they the strongest racks we’ve yet to encounter and use, the options and features are ideal for the testing we do. As stated, we add and remove equipment frequently. Having doors and panels that are fast and easy to remove is a big benefit. All of the various cabling options also come in handy as we add in new equipment. There are times where we have to find different routes for new cables and power supplies, and with all the options the S-Series provides, we never have much trouble. That fact that we can add 0U PDUs in the back without giving up precious rack space is also a plus.
The Bottom Line
The Eaton S-Series Rack is an ideal data center solution for small to medium businesses with more than enough options to make IT administrator’s life easier and provide the necessary features to run a data center smoothly.