top of page

A beginner’s guide to choosing Server Rack Shelves

Flat shelves, standard fixed shelves, adjustable shelves… how do you choose the right server rack shelf? Here is a guide.

But first, why are shelves important? They help to organize data center equipment, such as network switches and servers, and make effective use of space. The increasing adoption of data-intensive applications coupled with cloud computing has heightened the need for rack systems that can mount a wide range of equipment, support cable management, manage airflow, and accommodate more servers per unit area to maximize productivity and performance. In fact, the Data Center Rack & Enclosure Market is expected to grow at over 9% by 2027.

Server Rack Shelves: Measurement guide

To compute the optimal shelf depth the general rule of thumb is to measure six inches shorter than the depth of the cabinet for all 4-post cabinets. Remember, rails are usually set at a distance less than the actual depth of the internal dimension.

Types of shelves

Note: All the shelves mentioned attach to all four mounting rails of a 4-post server rack unless otherwise mentioned

  1. Fixed flat shelf This stationary shelf occupies less than 1U of rack space. It can usually hold a weight of 150 pounds.

  2. Adjustable shelf Here, the rear mounting ears are adjustable by 4″ less than the shelf depth and 4″ more than the shelf depth. This means a 20″ shelf can mount on posts ranging from 16″to 24″ deep. Here too the load limit is 150 pounds.

  3. Heavy-duty shelf These are built to accommodate particular mounting needs and can support up to 300 pounds.

  4. Sliding keyboard shelf This accommodates rack-optimized keyboards. It can hold much less weight, only around 75 pounds. Similar to this is a rotating keyboard shelf that rotates as the unit extends beyond the cabinet to make it easy to type on a standard keyboard.

  5. Vented flat shelf The ventilation slots provide additional air circulation between rack units and can hold 150 pounds.

  6. Sliding pull-out shelf These are usually used to position non-rack mountable equipment in a server rack. Weight limit: 150 pounds.

How to choose your rack shelves

Choose your shelves based on:

  1. Capability: What is the weight the shelf needs to bear?

  2. Space-saving efficiency: Where are the shelves going to be attached, outside of cabinets

  3. Scalability: Can your shelves be expanded?

  4. Airflow: Is airflow maintenance required because there is likely to be too much heat building up? If yes, consider the vented racks.

Making the right decision on racks, shelves, panels, and other accessories at your data center is crucial to maintaining productivity and performance. Our experts can guide you in the right direction. Contact us today.


bottom of page