Rack Mounting Embedded Nvrs: The Good And Bad?

In the process of cleaning up the IPVM offices lately we have been rack mounting everything, and I've noticed a number of issues with rack mounting embedded NVRs, from multiple brands.

It seems pretty common that they don't ship with rack mounts, use oversized shelves, or don't hold properly once in the rack and start to sag.

What has your experience been? Are some better than others? Who is doing it right and wrong?

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Same issues here, we just suck it up and spec a 2U rack shelf. 

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I've used the Middle Atlantic shelves w/clamp for things along the lines of DVRs/NVRs/etc.

 

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Middle Atlantic also has the RSH custom series we used to use with AV equipment.  Might be a bit pricey for a $200 NVR.

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Adjustable rails

I like rails that support front and back as a minimum

 

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Yeah I think all the above are good options as far as mount quality, but like #1 says, the increased cost adds up fast when low cost recorders are sub $200. It's also a little crazy that larger NVRs like the Hikvision 9000 series or Hanwha 2U+ models don't mount front and back, because they're pretty heavy. Not full blown rack server heavy, but fairly heavy.

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I use rack shelves whenever possible. I like Middle Atlantic, but I also like Omni racks too. Larger NVRs are somewhat challenging when they are 2U+ as mentioned, but I have used some MacGyver like solutions to support the back when they come up short. Racks are my go to, and I really do not like messing around with stacking equipment on a desk or wall shelf. It looks terrible and is not professional. 

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I agree with that last sentiment. I’ve been sticking things in racks too long to even want to put things on shelves in my house.

By the sound of it, NVR manufacturers’ included and/or optional rack mounts leave something(s) to be desired, no?

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Little off topic but there is pain everywhere; cheap and expensive...

We recently had a project where we used a Dell rack mounted server as an NVR, that would not mount in the customers rack. There is usually always away but not this time. We had to come back another day with a 4 post shelf. Big pain.

But it started to make sense why the previous vendor placed the existing access control server directly on top of an old busted server...

 

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Curious, why wouldn't it mount in their rack?

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I don't recall all of the details. And now that I looked it up the project was actually Dec 2016. Farther back then I thought. 

However I believe it was because the Dell rails needed to be inset after being screwed on. (Or to explain it differently; the rails did not fit within the 19" they need a little more on the backside.) But they couldn't because this four post rack actually had 'U' shape. The 'U' shape design let you screw to the front or back of each post. If we had a traditional 'L' shape post it would have been no problem. 

We even tried to mount them between the inside post but they were to long.

Picture below shows the existing access control server setting on a busted one. And we were trying to install yet another server. Rack Side ViewRack Profile 1

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Looks like a standard rack to me from what I can see pictured. That Dell is for sure missing it’s rails tho. 

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Better picture of the problem. But yes I agree that I have seen this style a lot. 

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Would something like this adapter help in that case?

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I don't believe so. I couldn't build it out in because the server has a specific width. I really needed to go on the "inside" of the post but they were to long. Not sure what we could have done differently. But it basically wasted the whole day which was a bummer. 

Now anytime I see those racks I know to just bring a shelf, even if we don't use it, because it's cheaper then losing a whole day. 

In fact we came back this year and installed UPS units and brought an extra shelf. But didn't need it because the UPS rails worked fine. 

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That does not look like any kind of standard 4-post rack. That looks like someone made a hacky 4-post rack out of 2 relay racks.

 

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It’s common to have rails like that. One side is metric, the other standard threads. 

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Well...I'm ashamed to admit this but I did not put that together when I was out there. I had never heard of one side being metric and the other standard before. But that explains why the screws that I got wouldn't work and I had to use other ones. 

I checked them from the front but installed on the inside.

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It’s common to have rails like that. One side is metric, the other standard threads.

Interesting, I had not heard of that before or ever come across that setup.  Is the idea that you assemble it with one version or the other facing outward then? I can't see why you'd want to mix and match screw types on the same rack, particularly with front/back mounting.

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It's from Chatsworth. Good company. 

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It's from Chatsworth. Good company.

I was not doubting the integrity of the equipment itself, just theorizing that someone might have thought they could save a few dollars creating their own Frankenrack. Would not be the first time I have seen some weird "value engineering" when it comes to IT and datacenter stuff.

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Did you have the Dell ReadyRails?

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Yes they were. Only Dell option. I don't know if there is third party options. 

And on a side note they have several different Ready Rails based on the model and year built. I tried to save them and use them on another project but quickly found that it's easier the chuck them and have the correct ones shipped every time. 

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If you are looking for something a little more supportive than a simple front mounting shelf, you could look at these four post rack rails from NavePoint. They are in the neighborhood of a rack shelf price-wise, but would offer four post support to keep a heavy NVR/DVR from sagging. We have used these to mount a UPS that didn't offer rear rail supports. This assumes that your device is rack width and will not fall between the rails here.

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We have also used this Navepoint Shelf as an alternative. We installed UPS and fully loaded servers. However not the easiest things to install in a tight rack. 

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I don’t know if that link will display properly, but cut and paste if needed 

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Sorry Dell, it won't work for "every rack". Like in the video if you have an L shape rack post then they are very easy and simple to install. But if you have a U shaped they will not pop in. 

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The racks that we have are similar to the ones in the video or I would demonstrate. 

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