With their versatility, small footprints and unrestricted airflow, 2-post racks can offer several benefits in data center environments.

Also called two-post racks, two-post relay racks, open-frame racks or open racks, 2-post racks serve the same function as a typical rack enclosure – but without the doors or side panels. These types of racks are most often used to house patch panels and lightweight equipment (switches, for example). They feature two thin, centralized, parallel posts that extend from a larger, balanced base (either 19 or 23 inches apart, depending on the model).

Why Data Center Managers Like 2-Post Racks

Due to its open-rack design, 2-post racks give data center managers fast and easy access to cables when it’s time to complete moves, adds and changes (MACs). Because the frame is so simple, there aren’t extraneous posts or other components to block airflow; air can move freely around the equipment and cables inside to maintain appropriate ventilation and cooling levels. This helps keep cooling costs down, and prolongs the life of your network equipment.

To save floor space, a 2-post rack design lets you stack network devices vertically to take advantage of overhead space. Or, if cost savings is the ultimate goal, 2-post racks can help there as well. Compared to traditional, closed-cabinet types of racks, 2-post racks are much more inexpensive. Shipping costs are also less due to the weight of the rack’s materials. Its simplicity, light weight and easy-to-move frame also make it easy to set up as needed in the field.

Depending on the type and weight of the hardware you’re mounting in your 2-post rack, you may consider either center mounting or flush mounting. A center mount (attaching the center of the hardware bracket to the two posts) offers a secure hold with equal weight distribution and balance. Flush mounting works with light, low-profile hardware.

Download our Smart Cabinet Access System for Data Centers White paperWhy Data Center Managers Don’t Like 2-Post Racks (and What to Do About It)

Although they offer several opportunities to save money, time and floor space, 2-post racks do present one major drawback: How do you secure an open rack where equipment is exposed? When devices, cable and gear are visible in these types of racks, access is tempting – and pretty easy. For this reason, 2-post racks are most often used in applications without high security requirements. (Another drawback to 2-post racks: Because the equipment isn’t enclosed, it can quickly accumulate dust and dirt, and may be subject to spills or other hazards in a data center.)

How do you secure an open rack where equipment is exposed?

The most common way to secure network equipment in a 2-post rack is by installing a brace on the hardware – and then bolting the brace to the two posts.

But there’s another way to secure the equipment inside a 2-post rack: Belden SecurePatch. Acting as a perforated, lockable cover that conceals whichever section of the rack requiring security, it allows you to protect against unauthorized patch cord access or movement – while still reaping the benefits of using a 2-post rack.

Its unique design allows back-to-back mounting, so both the front and the back of the 2-post rack can be secured. SecurePatch can easily be installed by one person without having to take the network down. Side knock-outs allow either low- or high-capacity cable feed through; brackets connect 11U and 22U units in any combination while allowing patch cords to run through the racks.

Learn more about the variety of solutions Belden offers to keep your data center secure.

Has the lack of security prevented you from installing 2-post racks?
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