Beginners Guide to Server Racks

If you’re new in the world of system administration, you should know one thing – IT hardware is very sensitive to all sorts of impacts, expensive, and bulky (in most cases). Thus, it requires particular treatment. Due to this fact, the issue of equipment accommodation and storage is vital for network systems.

IT systems are highly productive and smart ‘organisms’ that perform computing tasks, process data, and cope with routine duties quickly and effectively. However, their ‘brains’ consist of dozens or hundreds of components. Severs, PCs, routers, switches, and tons of wires lay behind any operation. The accommodation of such systems can take hectares of area. Fortunately, special furniture for space optimization is manufactured for data centers. First, let’s answer the question ‘what is a network rack?’

Special Furniture for IT Hardware

Server room racks and cabinets are specialized multi-layer constructions equipped with slots and fasteners. Framework rigidity is achieved due to the use of high-quality durable metal sheets. The main difference between racks and cabinets lies in their construction. Racks have open frames without doors and side panels. Cabinets are enclosed boxes with removable walls and lockable doors. Both models are popular on the market, but suitable for different purposes and locations.

Benefits of Server Cabinets

Racks and cabinets are indispensable products for data center arrangement. They perform several important missions:

  • provide compact storage of network equipment due to multi-layer structures and improve room ergonomics;
  • reliably secure devices and support equipment for a long time;
  • ensure easy maintenance and efficient access to hardware.

The primary purpose of server furniture is to be a reliable and secure place, where specialists can house, store, and connect equipment for smooth communication. Furniture pieces are beneficial due to the following benefits:

  1. Huge cabinets can accommodate hundreds or thousands of devices.
  2. Furniture has all the required slots for cable wiring, fan mounting, air circulation, etc.
  3. A wide range of models allows picking products for installation in public places or closed rooms.
  4. Different types of mounting provide more opportunities for installation.
  5. High level of security since hardware is fastened. The risk of accidental falling and damage is minimized.
  6. Perfect air circulation, which is required for apparatus cooling.
  7. Movability. Most furniture pieces are equipped with casters for relocation. If you have an enclosed server cabinet, you can even move systems between sites without disassembly.

Modern manufacturers produce a wide diversity of models so that every client can choose a suitable option.

Types of Server Furniture

Now, you understand the explanation of ‘what is rack in data center?’ Let’s list the main groups of products offered on the market.

  • open-frame racks. 2- and 4-post constructions without metal panels. Equipment is fastened to posts of mounting rails or shelves installed between uprights. Perfect air circulation, easy access to devices, maintenance, and cable management.
  • solid enclosures. Cabinets with walls and doors. Walls are usually removable, doors are perforated. Excellent protection and the highest degree of security due to latches and locks.
  • wall-mount cabinets. These small boxes are designed for fastening to vertical surfaces. Their carrying capacity is limited, which is why products are ideal for compact systems and installation in small premises.

Each model is in demand on the market. Clients pick suitable options for any purpose and business, judging by the system size, the place of location, cooling strategies, etc.

Factors to Consider at the Stage of Choosing Appropriate Furniture Models

The selection process is one of the most important steps. Improperly chosen furniture leads to system troubleshooting, malfunction, and downtime. Thus, pay particular attention to the next parameters.

AV vs. IT-based installations

Check what type of equipment you have since this influences the I/O and cable management. For example, AVC models are suitable for hardware with rear-facing I/O. IT-based installations are preferable for equipment that have connectors from the front side.

Airflow and cooling

It is essential to maintain optimal temperature conditions to avoid overheating and downtime. Thus, specialists install fans and temperature control panels. Tools allow monitoring temperature and forcing the air to circulate through operating devices.

Equipment width, height, depth

Dimensions are very important to house all the needed equipment. Width is usually standardized to several parameters (600 and 800 mm.). Depth is variable in most cases; specialists can adjust it by moving the rear side of cabinets.

When you know the answer to the question ‘what is a server cabinet?’ you should also understand how the cabinet height is calculated because it is rather specific. The thing is that a unit (U) is chosen as a measure for defining furniture height. 1 unit is 1.75 inches. Thus, when you see such designations as 4U, 24U, etc., do not get scared. These designations mean the height.

Security options

Depending on where you plan to locate cabinets, you should think about hardware protection. Do you really need to lock cabinets? If you have a data center, the access to which is limited, there is no need to mount an enclosed cabinet; it is better to prefer an open-frame construction. Vice versa, for public locations, choose solid enclosed boxes that guarantee safe storage.

Here are the basics of what is a data center rack. Furniture pieces help organize network systems, simplify the process of powering and maintenance, and ensure smooth operation in the future.

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