Published on March 17th, 2014 | by Brian Suhr0
Summary: I don't know why it took this long, but say goodbye to cut fingers.
Every now and again you find a product that just makes sense and you wonder why did I not think of that. Rackstuds is one of those for me, after spending 20+ years in and around data centers I have racked a countless amount of gear.
The Rackstuds idea is simple, find a better and easier way for securing equipment when racking. The normal way would be with cage nuts. These have been around for decades and are helping keep the Band aid companies in business. Cage nuts are a pain in everyones ass, they are not easy to get into those square holes. If you have the cage nut tool they are a bit easier but still not fun. Oh and if you need to remove them at a later date they are just as much fun.
The brilliant people at Rackstuds have created a product made from plastic. It is both easy to use, strong and looks pretty cool also. You can learn to install them by watching a short Youtube video, and you are then an expert. They are simple to work with and they are finger friendly. You do not need tools for most installs, they are slotted for a screwdriver should you need to torque them down to hold something in place.
I purchased a few trial packs for use in the Data Center Zombie lab to secure some network switches. I was able to install the Rackstuds for both switches in a couple of minutes and secure them with the included plastic nuts. The switches are now securely mounted and can be easily removed without tools in a short time should they need to be replaced.
I know that most modern server and storage vendors have rack mounting rails that are quick and easy. But for most network and telco gear they still rely on cage nuts. Not sure if customers will adopt quickly, but when possible I will sure to be using Rackstuds.
The Good and the Bad
The follow descriptions are items that our rating was based on. These are important values to the review team in the evaluation of products and their on going usage. Each item is described on what items affected the rating in a positive or negative fashion.
Installation: We gave a 5 star rating for the installation process because Rackstuds were very easy to install. It’s a simple three step process.
Appearance: The reason for the 4.5 is that there is still probably a little room for improvement. Hey they probably deserved a 5 star rating for this also because they do look appealing. But in the future it would be nice to see some other color options.
Durability: The rating of 4.5 starts was awarded based on the following criteria. They are made of plastic and the weight rating is pretty high, but only some long term use will determine the true durability. I’m not worried about if you break one during install, they are cheap. It’s more about if someone racks something that might be a bit to heavy and will these crack overtime if ratings are exceeded.
Rackstuds have been tested by an independent lab and the details can be found here. The testing values look impressive and make me pretty confident. I think with some more community feedback and some longer term usage a 5 star rating could be achieved for this item.
Rackstuds are pretty inexpensive, for the purpose of this review I purchased a couple of sample packs that cost me just a few dollars. A quick search on their new US based seller revealed that if you purchase in quantities of 100 you can get them for less than 65 cents each. The pricing is not an issue in my eyes, worth the cost to me. You can view a list of their resellers here.
How to install
The process to install is not that different from most other cage nuts or mounting parts. Identify the holes that you will be using by a provided template with your device or do a test fit. Once you know which rack holes you will be using your first install the Rackstud, then yellow clip to lock them in. Follow that up my mounting your device and use the included thumb nuts to secure down and complete the process. The image below shows the bottom switch already securely mounted and the studs in place for the second switch to be mounted.
The following Youtube video from Rackstuds shows the simple process for installing. I watched and was installing my parts seconds later.
I was really impressed with what Rackstuds has created. A product that is simple to use, looks good and is priced right. Thats a great combination and I look forward to hearing more from others on their experiences with the product.