It doesn’t matter whether you have a large data center or a small office with a few servers. One thing is common for both options – the necessity to store equipment somewhere. The size of the required space and the number of furniture items will only differ.
Every system administrator knows that high-precision IT hardware stores important datum and requires particular storage conditions. Thus, a simple shelf is not suitable. Specialized server racks and cabinets are produced for this purpose. The variety of server furniture is diverse and satisfies the demands of most enterprises.
What is a Server Rack?
This is a special framework made of thick metal that is capable of withstanding high loads. The main peculiarities of such furniture pieces include:
- perfect customization to the needs of users;
- the ability to hold devices the weight which reaches dozens or even hundreds of kilograms;
- providing the required storage conditions in terms of security, humidity, airflow, etc.;
- a wide range of models of different designs and places of installation.
System administrators place the following classes of equipment inside server racks:
- IT production hardware (servers, switches, drives, patch panels, etc.);
- OT infrastructure and rack accessories (wires, blank plugs, sockets).
Common Types of Server Furniture
According to the type of construction, models are divided into:
- open-frame racks;
- enclosed cabinets.
Open-frame models have 4 or 2 vertical posts with holes for fastening hardware and accessories. Their design is characterized by the lack of sidewalls. The length of the rack and the height of the shelves can be adjusted. The main benefits of this model include:
- Ventilation. The airflow passes through functioning devices without obstacles and provides sufficient cooling during operation.
- Ease of maintenance. The staff can easily access any part of the system due to an open-frame design.
- Ease of cable routing. Since no sidewalls hinder wiring, it is easy to route and manage cables.
Due to the same features of the construction, such models are not suitable for installation in public places and are used in enclosed data centers. Also, their loading capacity is lower than that of enclosed models.
Enclosed Server Furniture
This class of server rack has 4 adjustable vertical mounting rails, as well as removable side panels and doors. Such models provide the following perks:
- Improved security from unauthorized access. Lockable doors and walls protect hardware from damage and external influence.
- The ability to install cabinets in public places.
- Removable constructions provide easy access to all operating devices.
Yet, note that sidewalls have poorer ventilation properties. Although they are usually perforated, panels impede air penetration inside the enclosure.
Judging by the kind of installation, all models fall into the following server rack types:
Free standing server cabinets, that can be bought here, are more spacious and accommodate more hardware. High-load drives, PCs, and other computing equipment are placed in them. The size of such models can reach 42U or 48U. Usually, they are equipped with casters to ensure movability and allocate furniture efficiently within a room.
The second group of furniture is designed for fastening to the wall. Special high-load dowels are used to fasten cabinets to the wall. Thus, the weight of stored hardware is limited. Wall-mount models are usually smaller. Their sizes are about 12U or 16U. However, such models are perfect for small offices to ensure perfect space ergonomics.
Basic Criteria to Assess when Selecting a Proper Server Rack
When picking a suitable server rack model, make sure to check the following parameters:
AV or IT-based installations
Make sure that the depth of the model is enough to accommodate your equipment. A standard enclosure has adjustable rails. Yet, make sure that the cabinet has enough space to house all the needed devices. Here, remember that extra space must be left to ensure air circulation and foresee possible system expansion in the future.
Remember that networking hardware tends to heat well during performance. Thus, the issue of cooling is a crucial one. Check how the air will circulate within the rack. Is it enough to have natural airflow or the installation of a forced ventilation system is required?
Width of an equipment
Make sure that you’ll be able to place devices inside racks. Note that modern server furniture has a standard width. Most models are 600 or 800 mm wide to allow placing any kind of computing equipment.
Networking hardware is very expensive and vulnerable to all sorts of influence. Thus, it is important to secure it from possible environmental threats, unauthorized access, and other sorts of damages.
The production of server racks and cabinets is characterized by a great diversity of models. Thus, system administrators can pick the best model for any purpose, room size, and kind of equipment. This process requires thorough consideration to foresee all the possible changes.