by Josh Linden

StarTech 15U Server Rack Review [2636CABINET]

The StarTech 2636 cabinet is a 15U server rack that ships fully assembled and is ready to go right out of the box. The growing rack space requirements of the StorageReview Enterprise Testing Lab mean that we perpetually need to deploy additional rack space to keep up with the growing number of compute and storage array reviews we're reviewing at any given time. While full-size racks are great, this time around we were searching for something unique that spoke more to the needs of small/branch offices in addition to serving as a platform for the new wave of cluster-in-a-box solutions. The StarTech 2636 is ideal for these target applications, offering a sturdy 15U of rack space in a comparatively small footprint.

With the option to roll on caster wheels or remain stationary on stabilizer feet, the StarTecg 2636 keeps our options open as we expand the lab. The 2636 cabinet features steel construction with a plexiglass front door and a three-fan filtered ventilation system and can accommodate up to 2210 pounds of equipment.

StarTech offers an assortment of typical accessories that fit the 2636, including mounting shelves, keyboard drawers, storage drawers, and sliding shelves. Its smoked acrylic front door is removable and reversible, featuring a simple lock with two included keys. The StarTech 2636 cabinet also features a lifetime warranty.

StarTech 15U Server Rack Specifications:

  • U Height: 15U
  • Frame Type: Steel
  • Front Door Type: Steel w/ plexiglas window
  • Side Panel Type: Solid Steel
  • Back Door Type: Solid Steel
  • Key Lock: Yes
  • Industry Standards: EIA RS310-C
  • Fans: 3 - 120 mm
  • Performance
    • Weight Capacity: 2210 lbs. [1000 kg]
    • Air Flow Rate: 82.8 CFM (each)
    • Noise Level: 39 dBA
  • Physical Characteristics
    • Color: Black
    • Internal Width: 18.3 in
    • Internal Height: 26.3 in
    • Internal Depth: 31.4 in
    • External Width: 22 in
    • External Height: 30.1 in
    • External Depth: 35.4 in
    • Height with Casters: 33.1 in
    • Casters: Included
  • Power (Fans)
    • Input Voltage: 115 AC
    • Input Current: 0.13/0.14 A

Design and Build

The StarTech 2636 cabinet is made of steel, with extruded aluminum on the rounded corners and edges. It features a professional black finish with plexiglass doors and adjustable levelers at each corner. As the 2636 is rated for more than 2200 pounds of equipment, both of the front legs feature levelers that help ensure the cabinet does not tip forward when a heavy device or drawer is pulled out. To put the levelers in place, locate them under the front of the cabinet and pull the levelers towards you.

Both the front and rear doors are removable. To remove a door, pull down on its top tab while holding the door. Once the top falls out of place, pull on the bottom tab to lift the door out of its frame. The front door can be installed to open in either direction. To reconfigure the front door, remove it, and turn so that the handle is on the correct side. Complete the reinstallation by inserting the pegs to the alternate peg holes.

In our configuration, we leave the rear door off for clearance purposes, as well as cooling as the servers we use operate outside the conditions that the stock cooling fans could support. During testing, we leave the front door open, with future plans to replace the plexiglas to increase airflow while still keeping the front door locked shut.

Cooling

The 2636 comes with a 300CFM roof-mounted exhaust system with three 120mm fans powered by an integral 115VAC power supply and power cable. Air is taken in through an air filter located below the rear door, providing airflow from bottom to top through the cabinet.

The filter accessible from the rear of the cabinet and is designed to be periodically cleaned with soap and water. To remove it, unscrew the four screws on the corners.

Power

StarTech supplied us with their RKPW161915 PDU, a 1U, 16-outlet power distribution unit with surge protection. The PDU is rated for 120V, 15A (with Regulatory Derated Input Current of 12A in North America) and comes with an integrated 6-foot power card.

This is a straightforward PDU that does not offer any management or UPS functionality, but instead focuses on providing adequate power to for the 2636 cabinet. The front of the PDU features two LEDs that indicate proper ground and surge detection plus an illuminated power and reset switch. The RKPW161915 is built with a steel chassis and meets ANSI/EIA RS-310-D standards.

Installation

The StarTech 2636 cabinet comes fully assembled with mounting rails that adjust in depth to accommodate a wide range of hardware. Depending on the size and weight distribution of the devices you will be mounting in your rack, the posts can be moved forward or back, or removed entirely. Posts can be relocated by removing the screws and relocating the cage nuts. Once the nuts are aligned with the posts, re-secure the post to the rail in its new location.

To convert the cabinet from mobile to fixed installation, the StarTech 2636 features two adjustable legs on the back of the cabinet that are raised and lowered with a wrench. To place the 2636 in a fixed location, lower the legs until the wheels have lifted off the ground. Shown above we have the 15U rack on weight distribution pads to spread out the load over our anti-static tiling.

Conclusion

The StarTech 2636 provides 15U of expansion space, enough to accommodate a robust selection of gear, but can still be transported and reconfigured as new equipment arrives for testing. For a branch/remote office that needs a cabinet of gear to handle distributed applications and vrtualization, the 2636 is a perfect fit for just the right amount of compute, storage and networking gear. This cabinet is also ideal for cluster-in-a-box deployments that are purpose-built to excel at a specific task. StarTech has also done a great job engineering the cabinet, it's very well built and with casters it's easy to move about as needed. With a full compliment of accessories, the 2636 can be configured to suit a varity of needs for those who don't need an entire floor-to-ceiling rack solution. 

StarTech 2636CABINET Product Page

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