Dell Rail Kits: A Quick & Easy-to-Follow Guide
Years ago, Dell rail kits were a common feature of Dell server systems. More recently, though, this approach to server hardware has been phased out. But if you’re working with an older installation and shopping for used Dell hardware , you may find yourself dealing with one or more Dell rail kits -- and trying to sort through all of the different shapes, sizes, and combinations can be incredibly frustrating.
Dell offers a comprehensive guide to their rail kits in PDF format, which you can download here. A quick glance at the document, though, and you’ll immediately see that it’s long, highly detailed, and maybe a little overwhelming.
Don’t have time to read through the whole thing? We understand, and that’s why we’ve put together this easy-to-follow guide to Dell rail kits.
One thing to note before we get started: if you need to match up a particular Dell product to a specific type of rail kit, the latter part of the guide linked above includes a series of tables that you can use to do just that.
Rail Kit Mounting Interfaces
Before we get into the different types of rail kits, the first thing to understand are the various kinds of mounting interfaces involved.
1) Dell ReadyRails II: This mounting interface is a toolless installation. It uses 4 post square hole and unthreaded round hole racks, but also offers support for a tool-based install into threaded hole racks.
2) Dell ReadyRails: This mounting interface can be used with both static and sliding rails, and is compatible with installation into 4 post square hole and unthreaded round hole racks. Static Ready Rails also offer support for a tooled installation into with threaded hole racks or 2 post racks. However, brackets may be required.
3) Dell Versa Rails: With this mounting interface, you’ll have support for a tooled installation into 4 post square hole or unthreaded round hole racks.
4) Dell Rapid Rails: This is the most limited of the mounting interface kits, and only offers support for a toolless install into 4 post square racks.
Types of Rail Kits
Sliding rails make it easy to fully extend your unit for servicing when the need arises.
Static rails , on the other hand, don’t allow you to service the unit while it’s in the rack. They’re also not compatible with Dell Cable Management Arms. Static rails are available in both the Stab-In and L bracket format.
With Stab-In rails, you attach the side rails to the unit in question and then “stab” the unit into the rails mounted in your rack. In the case of the L bracket format, you’ll attach the unit using a bracket. Remember, because the L bracket format is a type of static rail, you won’t be able to fully extend the unit fully for servicing. However, it’s generally possible to service the unit from the front or rear of your rack without fully extending it. You typically find L bracket-based rails on storage units with rear facing components.
Newer rail kits from Dell come with a so-called rail identifier. This is a two digit code that’s typically printed on the inside surface of the inner sliding or static rail pieces (that is, on both the left and the right rail pieces). The outer rails may be the same from one unit to another, but the inner rails are different so as to allow you to attach the unit to various types of servers.
This two digit code will allow you to quickly identify a rail kit’s compatibility across different systems, making it quicker and easier to match the right rail kit with the appropriate system.
Still, even with this identifier, it’s important to keep rail depth in mind. In some instances, the chassis itself might extend past the minimum rail depth. This can create installation and accessibility problems, which is why you’ll want to match the correct rail depth with your chassis.
Help with Dell Rail Kits
Still feeling confused? Not sure which Dell rail kit you need? You’re not alone! We here at Integrity Global Solutions carry a wide selection of used and refurbished Dell rail kits, and we’ve helped countless customers find the right rail kit for their system. We’re happy to assist you: chat with us now for help, or click here to contact us. We look forward to serving you!