Rack Vs Stack

Rack Vs Stack: Understanding the Differences

When it comes to organizing and storing equipment, two common methods are rack and stack. Both methods are useful for different scenarios and choosing the right method depends on the specific needs of your business or organization. In this article, we’ll delve into the differences between rack and stack, their advantages and disadvantages, and when to use either of them.


Rack refers to a type of storage system that utilizes a frame with multiple shelves to hold equipment. Each shelf, also called a rack unit (RU), has a standard height of 1.75 inches. Racks come in various sizes with different capacity options, from small desktop racks to large floor-standing racks that can hold multiple servers.

Advantages of a Rack

1. Space Management: Racks can store just about any type of equipment such as servers, routers, switches, and storage devices at a single place, minimizing the need to occupy floor space.

2. Organization: Racks offer organized space for components and aids businesses in managing and maintaining their IT infrastructure efficiently. By having a dedicated space for each piece of equipment, it makes it easier to identify components when something goes wrong.

3. Maintenance: Servers kept in racks have better ventilation, reducing the risk of overheating and prolonging the lifespan of the equipment.

Disadvantages of a Rack

1. Cost: Racks can be quite expensive compared to other methods of storage, especially the larger floor-standing ones.

2. Heavy-Duty Equipment Required: To install and maintain racks, it’s important to have the appropriate equipment such as a server lift or rack-mounted casters to move and align large, heavy components into the rack.


Stacking, on the other hand, is an alternative storage option that involves placing various components and equipment on top of each other. Stacks don’t come with predefined size restrictions like racks, which makes it easier to store odd-sized equipment such as modems, routers, and storage devices.

Advantages of a Stack

1. Cost-Effective: Stacking can be an affordable method of storing equipment since you don’t have to invest much in equipment or building a dedicated storage space.

2. Flexibility: Unlike racks, stacks don’t come with predefined sizing restrictions which make them flexible and accommodating when dealing with equipment of different sizes.

Disadvantages of a Stack

1. Limited Organization: As there are no defined spaces for each component, stacks can lead to messy and disorganized spaces. Locating a specific component can take more time and effort than with a rack, which can impede business operations.

2. Not Ideal for Heavy Equipment: Stacking might not be ideal for heavy-duty equipment such as servers, which require proper ventilation and cooling to prevent overheating.

When To Use Rack Vs Stack

Racks and stacks have their benefits and limitations, and when deciding which to utilize, it’s important to consider your unique business requirements. Below are examples of scenarios that call for either rack or stack storage options.

Use a Rack When…

1. You have multiple and standard-sized components to store such as servers, switches, and routers.

2. Your components generate a lot of heat, and proper ventilation and cooling are crucial.

3. You need a well-organized space to manage and maintain your IT infrastructure efficiently.

Use a Stack When…

1. You have odd-sized or lightweight components that can easily stack on top of each other.

2. You lack enough funds to invest in racks or building dedicated storage facilities.

3. You need a temporary storage solution for short periods.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, racks and stacks offer different storage solutions for businesses depending on the type of equipment they need to accommodate. Racks enable organizations to easily maintain, manage and protect their IT infrastructure while stacks provide a cost-effective solution for lighter and irregularly sized equipment. It’s essential to understand when to use rack or stack storage options to optimize your storage space and ensure the safety and longevity of your equipment.