Rack servers are crucial for companies that need a robust computing infrastructure to support their operations. With the technology constantly improving, many rack servers are on the market, each with special characteristics and abilities.
To assist you in making an informed choice and enhancing your data center’s performance, we have compiled a list of the 10 best rack servers for 2023. Regardless of your company’s size, we have you covered!
- Dell EMC PowerEdge R760: Best for large enterprises and businesses (Read more)
- IBM Power S1024 Server: Best high-performance rack server (Read more)
- HPE ProLiant DL320 Gen11 Server: Best for small and medium-sized enterprises (Read more)
- Oracle Server X9-2: Best for customizability and advanced security (Read more)
- Inspur NF5468A5: Best for maintenance and upgradeability (Read more)
- Cisco UCS C240 M7: Best for Cisco ecosystem integration (Read more)
- Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 V3: Best budget rack server (Read more)
Best Rack Servers Comparison
|Server model||FF/Socket||Processors||Drives supported||Max memory||Pricing (for base model)|
|Dell EMC PowerEdge R760||2U – 2||Intel Xeon Scalable Processor||24||8 TB||$16,004.73|
|IBM Power S1024 server||4U – 2||Power10||16||8 TB||Custom|
|HPE ProLiant DL320 Gen11 Server||1U – 1||4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor||10-12||2 TB||Custom|
|Oracle Server X9-2||1U – 2||Intel Xeon Scalable Processor||12||2 TB||$22,260|
|Inspur NF5468A5||4U – 2||2x AMD EPYC processors||12||8 TB||Custom|
|Cisco UCS C240 M7||2U – 2||4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors||28||8 TB||$3,363|
|Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 V3||2U – 2||4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable||20-24||8 TB||$3,303.95|
- What Is a Rack Server?
- How Do Rack Servers Work?
- Key Features of Rack Servers
- Benefits of Rack Servers
- How Do I Choose the Best Rack Server for My Business?
1. Dell EMC PowerEdge R760
Best for large enterprises and businesses
The Dell EMC PowerEdge R760 is made to handle demanding enterprise workloads with strong performance and effective management.
This server is a good pick for companies needing extraordinary computational power and memory bandwidth, because it supports up to four Intel Xeon Scalable processors and has a maximum memory capacity of 8TB. Its modular structure makes it simple to customize and expand, making it perfect for a variety of applications, including virtualization, cloud computing, data analytics, and machine learning (ML).
The price of the Dell EMC PowerEdge R760 can vary drastically depending on configuration and customization choices, but the base model starts at $16,004.73.
- Up to four Intel Xeon Scalable processors.
- Maximum memory capacity of up to 8TB.
- Supports 12GB SAS/SATA HDDs and NVMe SSDs.
- Redundant cooling fans and power supplies.
- Management of iDRAC9 with Lifecycle Controller.
- High-speed memory bandwidth and computing power.
- Modular architecture for simple expansion and customization.
- Effective management using the Lifecycle Controller and iDRAC9.
- Cooling and redundant power sources for increased dependability.
- Transparent pricing model.
● AMD processors are not supported.
2. IBM Power S1024 Server
Best high-performance rack server
The IBM Power S1024 server is a strong and dependable solution for companies searching for high-performance computing. It’s the best option for applications and workloads that require a lot of data, such as AI, ML, and analytics, thanks to its remarkable processing power, memory, and storage capabilities. The server is also made to be energy-efficient, which can lower operating expenses.
IBM does not disclose the Power S1024 server’s price on its website. Interested clients can contact IBM or a licensed reseller for price and ordering details.
- Uses IBM POWER9 processors.
- Provides up to 192 threads and 24 cores.
- Supports storage capacity of up to 8TB.
- Designed with PowerVM virtualization for energy efficiency.
- High-performance computing capacity.
- Large memory and storage capacities.
- Designed with flexibility and scalability in mind.
- Might be overkill for firms with modest computer demands.
- Requires advanced skills to set up and maintain.
3. HPE ProLiant DL320 Gen11 Server
Best for small and medium-sized enterprises
The newest model in HPE’s range of reasonably priced yet potent servers is the ProLiant DL320 Gen11 Server. Its modest form factor makes it perfect for small companies or outlying locations with limited space.
With Intel Xeon processors, up to 2TB of RAM, and support for up to four hot-plug drives, this server is powerful despite its small size. Additionally, it has HPE Integrated Lights Out (iLO) for remote management, making it possible for IT staff to easily keep an eye on and control the server even when they are a distance away.
Although HPE doesn’t provide prices on their website, they do provide one of the simplest configuration wizards in the business, so it’s comparatively easy to determine your package rates.
- Xeon Scalable Processors from Intel.
- 2TB maximum DDR4 memory.
- Up to 4 hot-plug drives supported.
- Remote management using HPE Integrated Lights Out (iLO).
- Compact form factor ideal for remote offices or small organizations.
- Remote management using HPE iLO.
- Redundant power supply option for greater dependability.
- Convenient bundle configuration.
- Due to its tiny size, there are few expansion options.
- Fewer drive bays than larger servers.
Read our complete review of the HPE ProLiant DL320 rack server.
4. Oracle Server X9-2
Best for customizability and advanced security
The Oracle Server X9-2 is a strong and dependable server created for databases, virtualization, and high-performance computing workloads. It’s a top choice for enterprises that need to run demanding applications and workloads, since it has great processing power and memory capacity.
The server also has built-in security measures to guard against online attacks and was created with security in mind. Plus, the modular design of the server makes upgrades and maintenance simple, lowering the total cost of ownership.
Pricing for the Oracle Server X9-2 server starts at $22,260 and varies based on a variety of configuration options.
- 2 Intel Xeon Scalable processors with up to 56 cores supported.
- Offers up to 12 NVMe SSDs for high-speed storage.
- Integrated security tools like Secure Boot and Trusted Platform Module.
- High memory and processing speeds.
- Integrated security technologies for advanced defense.
- Modular architecture for simple maintenance and upgrades.
- More expensive in comparison to other available server options.
- Setting up and configuring may require specialist knowledge.
5. Inspur NF5468A5 Server
Best for maintenance and upgradeability
The Inspur NF5468A5 is a high-performance rack server created to satisfy the requirements of contemporary data centers. It provides tremendous processing capability with up to 28 cores per CPU and dual-socket Intel Xeon Scalable processors.
Additionally, the server supports multiple PCIe 3.0 expansion slots, 12 2.5-inch drive bays, and up to 8TB of DDR4 memory. The Inspur NF5468A5 stands out from the competitors thanks to its unique design, which makes maintenance and upgradeability simple.
The Inspur NF8480 server’s price varies depending on the configuration and specs. Interested purchasers can get in touch with Inspur sales staff.
- Intel Xeon with two sockets CPUs that can scale up to 28 cores per CPU.
- 12 2.5-inch disc bays, up to 8TB of DDR4 memory, and several PCIe 3.0 extension slots.
- Innovative construction for simple upgradability and maintenance.
- Outstanding processing speed and memory size.
- Innovative construction for simple upgradability and maintenance.
- Possibilities for flexible deployment in various environments.
- Supports a variety of workloads and applications.
- The immersion-cooled configuration may be difficult for some users to set up and maintain.
6. Cisco UCS C240 M7
Best for Cisco ecosystem integration
Cisco’s UCS C240 M7 Rack Server is a high-performance and scalable solution for data center tasks. The server offers improved speed and efficiency thanks to the use of the most recent 4th Gen Intel Xeon CPUs.
The UCS C240 M7 is a great option for applications needing a lot of memory and storage because it also has up to 32 DIMM slots and 28 NVMe SSDs. The server has several management tools, including Cisco Intersight and Cisco UCS Manager, to support effective and adaptable operations.
The Cisco UCS C240 M7 base model starts at $3,363. While Cisco doesn’t sell the device directly, customers can request a quote by contacting Cisco for a referral or reaching out directly to one of its accredited resellers.
- Third-generation Intel Xeon CPUs.
- 28 NVMe SSDs and as many as 32 DIMM slots.
- Support for cloud-native applications, AI/ML workloads, and virtualization.
- UCS Manager and Cisco Intersight for effective and adaptable operations.
- Power supply and fans with redundancy for high availability.
- High performance and efficiency with Intel Xeon processors of the third generation.
- With up to 32 DIMM slots and 24 NVMe discs, the memory and storage capacity are both substantial.
- For a range of workloads, including virtualization and AI/ML, it’s flexible and scalable.
- Excellent management tools with Cisco Intersight and UCS Manager.
- Power supply and fans with redundancy for high availability.
- Users are essentially locked into the Cisco ecosystem with UCS Manager.
7. Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 V3
Best budget rack server
The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 V3 is a cutting-edge server created to perform enterprise-level tasks at an affordable price. It provides exceptional performance, improved scalability, and flexible storage options. The server contains up to 8TB of DDR4 memory and an Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores.
Additionally, it has a wide variety of storage options, including up to 8 PCIe 4.0 slots and 24 2.5-inch or 12 3.5-inch drive bays. Thanks to its robust features, the ThinkSystem SR650 V3 is the perfect option for enterprises seeking a dependable, high-performance server that can handle tough workloads.
The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR650 V3 starts at $3,303.95 for the base model, making it one of the most inexpensive options on this list. However, the price increases with more advanced configurations.
- Supports Intel Xeon processors with up to 28 cores.
- DDR4 memory capacity of up to 8TB.
- Up to 24 2.5-inch discs or 12 3.5-inch drives, among other flexible storage choices.
- Up to 8 PCIe 4.0 slots supported.
- Inexpensive and transparent pricing model.
- Flexible I/O interfaces and versatile storage options.
- Built to handle enterprise-level workloads.
- Dependable and robust hardware.
- Able to handle severe workloads.
- It may not be sufficient for more high-demand tasks like AI, ML, and big data processing.
What Is a Rack Server?
Rack servers are mountable servers placed in metal frame racks. Rack servers are one of three primary form factors for servers, with the other two standards being blade servers and tower servers.
As data centers and IT professionals worked to develop improved methods for storing more servers while not sacrificing space or connectivity, server racks became a popular solution. Server racks offer the space, fit, and proper environment for servers to continue operating at a high performance.
What is a 1U rack server?
Racks are designed to hold the dimensions of rack servers. Standardized frames are 19 inches wide and a variable number of rack units or U’s (equivalent to 1.75in) in height. A standard rack-mount server is a 1U rack server, with a width of 19 inches and a height of 1.75 inches. Most rack servers are 1U or 2U, but the largest rack server comes in at 70U (10ft).
With pre-installed rails for a 2U rack server’s height, the data center administrator only needs a push inwards and rack screws to secure the 19-inch by 3.5-inch module into the rack.
Rack Server Components
|Motherboard||Enables communication between components|
|Central Processing Unit (CPU)||Executes start instructions; also known as the processor|
|Random Access Memory (RAM)||Stores server memory; increases speed of data access|
|Host Bus Adapter (HBA)||Connects external devices to server|
|I/O Ports||Embedded into system board for endpoint access into system|
|Drive Bays||Open slots for adding hard drives (HDD) or solid state drives (SDD)|
|Supporting equipment||All else needed for smooth performance: rails, screws, cable managers, cooling system, sensors, etc.|
|NVMe||Non-Volatile Memory express facilitates access to storage and come in the form of SSDs, NVMe cards, and M.2 cards|
|PCIe||Peripheral Component Interconnect express connects expanded hardware to the motherboard|
How Do Rack Servers Work?
The rack environment has been critical to organizations because it offers interchangeability and access for essential components, including the server rack. A server rack’s easy implementation also means server administrators can easily remove them for inspection and troubleshooting. Rack servers can also hot-swap with another server to continue the mission-critical activity and limit downtime.
Because a rack server describes the form factor and not the intent, rack servers can take on any number of roles for a network. Responsibilities could include storage, email, web, proxy, application server duties, data-intensive applications, and more.
Key Features of Rack Servers
When choosing the rack server for your business, features such as scalability, redundancy, remote management, and energy efficiency should be top of mind.
Scalability is one of the greatest important rack server characteristics. Businesses can simply scale up their operations without rebuilding their infrastructure by adding more storage, memory, and processing power as needed.
Servers can keep running even when a component fails by having redundant power sources, fans, and network connections. This lessens the possibility of downtime and resulting lost revenue, and helps ensure that crucial business processes run continuously.
Administrators can remotely control servers to do maintenance, alter configurations, and monitor server performance without physically being close to the server. This is crucial for companies with numerous locations or remote employees.
Servers can automatically transfer to a backup system if a problem occurs by employing technologies like clustering and failover, which minimize downtime and guarantee continued business operations.
Businesses can lower their energy costs and carbon impact by using rack servers with energy-efficient components and power control tools.
Benefits of Rack Servers
Some of the greatest benefits of rack servers are their accessibility and flexibility, efficient use of space, and highly effective cooling mechanisms.
Accessibility and flexibility
Rack servers are designed with their power source, CPU, and memory to run as a standalone or network system. The server’s operation is independent of the remaining rack components, which means that the rack server can be installed, configured, or removed quickly—without disassembly of the rack’s infrastructure or downtime.
Efficient space usage
In a world intent on expanding resources, available physical space is a data center’s most precious gift. The thinking goes: more space, more racks, more server power. Racks and the servers built to fill them maximize space limitations with the dense organization. Unless dealing with a 70U rack server, frames hold many servers and equipment that save space.
A top priority of any server administrator is ensuring the module won’t overheat when working hard. Unlike blade and tower servers, rack servers have an incredible capacity for a cooling system. Many racks come pre-installed with cooling systems today, with more available for installation. Fit with real-time sensors and accessible configuration, the rack server’s cooling mechanism protects against overheating and system failure. And the more powerful and densely packed servers become, the more important cooling becomes.
How Do I Choose the Best Rack Server for My Business?
Although selecting the ideal rack server for your company can be challenging, doing so is necessary to make sure that everything runs smoothly and effectively. As we’ve already covered, there are several important elements to consider when choosing a rack server, including processor speed, RAM, storage space, and connectivity options. You should also consider the particular demands of your sector and the workload needs of your company.
When comparing rack servers, the indicators frequently used to compare products include:
- Target workloads: What tasks is the server capable of or specializes in doing?
- Processor type: Which CPU processors are included with the rack server?
- Memory: What is the server’s RAM capacity and DIMM slots count?
- NVMe drives: How many drives of NVMe drives are available?
- PCIe slots: How many PCIe slots are there and are they compatible with 3rd and 4th Gen PCIe?
- Disk drives: What size and how many disk drives are insertable?
- Storage: How much total storage is possible?
- Rack height: How many U’s does the device take up?
- Operating systems: What OS software is the server compatible with?
- Integrated security: What security features come pre-installed on the server?
Additionally, searching for a reputable company with a solid track record of dependability and customer service is essential. You can choose the best rack server to suit your company’s needs by carefully weighing these variables and conducting research.
The methodology used to select the best rack servers of 2023 involved extensive research and analysis of the top-rated servers currently available on the market. We began by examining each product’s technical specifications, capabilities, and features, considering factors such as processing power, RAM, storage capacity, and scalability.
To further refine our selection, we consulted with industry experts and IT professionals to obtain their opinions and recommendations on the most reliable and efficient rack servers. Finally, we applied standardized criteria to evaluate each server’s performance, reliability, scalability, and value. Only those servers that met our stringent standards for quality, functionality, and customer satisfaction were included in our list.
Drew Robb contributed to this guide.
Still deciding which type of server to use in your business? Here’s a quick comparison between blade servers, rack servers, and tower servers to help you choose.