Rack Servers vs. Tower Servers: The Pros and Cons of Each

rack and tower servers

Choosing the right servers for your data center is essential if you are going to have consistent support for your company’s IT infrastructure needs. Should you go with rack or tower servers? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? You should learn as much as possible about each type of server before making a substantial investment in either or both. Those differences matter whether you are more interested in buying Dell Servers or HP Servers.

Rack Servers

Rack Servers get their name from the type of cabinet, used to store them, called a rack. The rack contains bays used to house the servers. One or more rack servers can be placed vertically within the frame and even secured with screws when necessary. The bays also have room for other equipment required to run the servers. The racks used must adhere to IEEE standards.

Space Used

The size of server racks can vary depending on the number of Rack Servers needed by a company. These types of servers are good for businesses who only need a small number of servers stored in a small space versus a larger data center space. They are good for organizations with a limited amount of space since you can store all the needed equipment in one place.

The cost of Rack Servers tends to run higher than tower servers – that is something for businesses requiring 20 or more units to keep in mind, especially if they will need to continuously scale up the number of servers in their data center. Some examples of quality Rack Servers include the Dell PowerEdge R740xd Server and the HP ProLiant DL380 Gen10 Server.

Maintenance of Rack Servers

It is possible to store multiple servers with their power center and required hardware together in one rack. The configuration also makes it easier to upgrade servers when needed. Businesses will need to purchase a cooling system when they have multiple rack servers housed together to avoid heat buildup that could damage the units.

Rack Servers require a lot of power to run effectively. Your energy costs will increase along with the number of Rack Servers managed by your company. Rack Servers can lead to some time-consuming trouble-shooting when you are attempting to locate the source of a problem across multiple servers in numerous server racks.

Rack Server Uses
Rack Servers can be configured to support a wide variety of computing infrastructure. They possess a large amount of processing power and more extensive storage space than tower servers, making them ideal for supporting high-end applications. Businesses can load servers based on different organizational needs. For example, one can do all your email processing, while another can be responsible for supporting a specific database.

Tower Servers

Tower Servers are similar in appearance to regular desktop computers. The design of Tower Servers means they can be placed around an office or data center like a PC. They are often stored in a cabinet of their own.

The style of tower servers makes it difficult to stack them on top of one another for convenience. Scaling up the number of tower servers in your data center can also be problematic since they are larger and bulkier than rack servers.

Tower Servers provide businesses with basic levels of performance, meaning they generally cost less than rack servers. It is possible to locate higher-priced Tower Servers with more power and the capacity for supporting higher-level applications out of the box. The Dell PowerEdge T640 Server is an excellent example of a Dell Tower Server.

Maintenance of Tower Servers
Individual Tower Servers require their keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) for management since there is no sharing of inputs. Dealing with cabling becomes more challenging as you add more units, especially if you also add on other peripherals and network devices. The low component density of Tower Servers allows them to cool quickly, meaning they don’t require additional cooling equipment.

Since each Tower Server runs independently, it is easy to locate the source of an issue. Repairing Tower Servers requires you to physically lay hands on the unit and open it up to inspect the internals. Any upgrades are performed in person versus remote logging into the server. Nonetheless, keep in mind – this also applies to Rack Servers.

Tower Server Uses
Each Tower can be configured depending on the needs of the business. One Tower can be used as a general-purpose server, while others can be set up as either network, web, or communications servers. Keep in mind that customizing your Tower Servers to handle more high-end processing by adding on expensive components or upgrades can bring more considerable expense that offset and even surpass your initial cost savings.

Summarizing Rack vs. Tower Server Pros and Cons

Rack Server Pros
Rack Servers work well for businesses which do not require a large number of Servers. They are also easier to stack and store in data centers. Companies can also store any necessary peripherals alongside the equipment. Rack Servers provide a large amount of processing power out of the box and can support high-end business applications and infrastructure needs. Servers can be configured to handle information for different company processes.

Rack Server Cons
It takes a large amount of power to keep Rack Servers running efficiently. That brings larger energy costs and the danger of having units overheat when a large number are stored next to each other. Business will need to invest in a special cooling system to prevent issues from arising. Trying to locate the source of a problem in a Rack Server system can be a time-consuming process.

Tower Server Pros
Tower Servers cost much less on average than Rack Servers. Since they have the same style and appearance of desktop PCs, they can be placed around an office in the same manner. The units cool efficiently, meaning companies don’t have to spend more for a cooling system. The independent nature of each server makes it easier to locate them, make repairs, and perform upgrades. Tower Servers are very customizable, meaning businesses can configure servers for various organizational needs.

Tower Server Cons
Storing multiple Tower Servers can become cumbersome because of their bulky, PC-like style. Tower Servers tend to come with minimal configuration, meaning companies can see their expenses go up when they look for ways to upgrade them for higher-end processing.


Interested in purchasing servers for your organization? Contact VRLA Tech at (213) 810-3013. We also provide you with a variety of choices if you are looking for Dell Workstations or HP Workstations.

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