Data Center Server Racks and Cabinets: What You Need to Know

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server rack

Data centre rack or cabinet houses hardware, computer servers and patch panels. The dimension of a rack is generally indicated by Rack Unit, denoted by U. A rack unit is equal to 1.75 inches (44.45 mm). The size of a rack shelf or cabinet is mentioned as 1U, 2U, 3U etcetera. Data centre cabinet suppliers in UK will be providing the rack cabinets according to the size requirement of the client.

The size requirement will solely depend on the client’s needs, i.e. the size of the equipment one wants to house. Increased rack space becomes a necessity with growth in the business sector. Thereby imposing the need for space management to accommodate the components, without any complexities. A rack serves the following purposes and supports the efficient functioning of servers.

  • Troubleshooting – In case of any defect, the defect investigation and rectification could be undertaken without removing the component from the rack. By precluding removal and installation, the total time spent could be reduced remarkably.
  • Efficiency – Servers will be functioning continuously leading to heat generation. Overheating can lead to dampened performance or frequent defects. By aiding constant air circulation, racks prevent the possibility of overheating. This also eliminates the chances of fire hazard to a great extent.
  • Productivity – Rack shelves and cabinets enhance the overall productivity of both the team and equipment. As neatly arranged components can be accessed easily, to operate, maintain and troubleshoot.
  • Safety – The server racks could be kept in a closed environment, restricting the entry of personnel. Only authorized members would be allowed to enter the room eliminating the chances of sabotage.

What is the Difference Between Rack Shelf and Cabinet?

Even though the rack shelf and cabinet are intended for the same function, providing space for housing the server and associated equipment, both are different.

  • Rack Shelf – The framework of a data rack that is open from all four sides and resembles a shelf, is called a rack shelf. It will be mounted on a rack frame and secured at 2 to 4 points. The client can choose the type of shelf, depending on the needs, from sliding type shelf, fixed shelf, or vented. Data centre cabinet manufacturers will manufacture and deliver the shelves according to the client’s directives.
  • Cabinet – It is similar to racks and can accommodate multiple components comfortably. Unlike the rack shelf, the cabinet is closed from all sides. Clients normally opt for half-rack or full rack size cabinets. A full rack size cabinet will be measuring 42U and a half rack is 20/24U.

Usage of Racks

Rack shelves and cabinets render multiple functionalities. It will facilitate storage as well as other associated activities, besides ensuring ease of handling the components.

  • Sliding-type racks are installed with rails. It enables pulling the rack outwards to undertake defect analysis/ repair/ replacement of items.
  • The positioning of routers and switches at the perfect location is vital for the efficient functioning of the system. With ideally designed racks, both the components can be installed at a centralized position.
  • Patch panels, which are used for connecting cables, can be positioned in such a way as to secure the cables within the rack. This is helpful in cable management to avoid a cluttered condition of cables around the area.
  • Besides the above-mentioned, a rack can be installed with blanking panels and cooling fans, for the trouble-free performance of the system.

How to Assess the Server Rack or Cabinet Needs?

The data centre cabinet manufacturers can be approached to get a rack shelf or cabinet designed and fabricated according to your needs. Nevertheless, the space requirements have to be examined and ascertained by the team. This may turn into a complicated task if the available equipment is not in an organized condition. Clients will have to carry out the audit of the equipment to calculate the dimension of the rack shelf needed.

Besides calculating the space necessary for the equipment, assess the power requirement as well. It should not happen that many servers are connected in one cabinet or rack shelf. Eventually causing power failure or defects in the electrical distribution system.

The data centre cabinet manufacturers nowadays provide advanced cabinets and rack shelves that can support higher power needs. Presently, cabinets can handle around 10 KW power, with the infrastructure developed accordingly. Consequently supporting workload of approx. 40 KW. It is beneficial for the clients to store more servers in a limited space. To meet the rising data system requirements.

This article is aimed at providing a brief idea about the data centre racks. The firms can reach out to reputed data centre cabinet manufacturers to discuss the aspects in detail. A one-to-one interaction will be more productive in understanding the pros and cons of different types of rack shelves and cabinets. And will give better insight to choose the right one accordingly.

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