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Rack 'em! 7 Need To Knows About Server Rack Cabinets

So you've got your servers and you've got your rack cabinets, so all is right with the world. Only when you start piecing your servers into their corresponding rack cabinets do you realize that they are incompatible! Now, the only thing you've got is a headache. Not all servers fit in all rack cabinets and not all rack cabinets can be modified to suit your needs. Before running out to grab the ibuprofen, consider these need to knows about your set-up.
  1. 42U open doorRear door collision- In certain instances, everything fits in the front, and the server is in the rack cabinet, but the back door refuses to close. This is mainly an issue of OEM competition trying to squeeze technology into 1u and 2u servers. The manufacturers won't make the server box any taller or wider, but they will and do continually make them deeper, causing issues in the back of the rack cabinet. Two decades ago, a rack with a depth of 36 inches worked in virtually every scenario. In the early 2000's, the standard grew to 39.37 inches, or one meter. Now, racks are being stretched even more and are manufactured with depths of 42 and 44 inches.
  2. Check the rack holes- sometimes the smallest detail can be the biggest problem. Rack holes vary greatly; some server rails are only compatible with racks with square holes, others only work with round holes. Some rails are a combo and can work with either round or square holes, but not if they're threaded. Save yourself the hassle and always check the rails before dropping the cash on a server rack cabinet
  3. Obstructions within the cabinet can cause issues- specifications on cabinets often do not include what the rack looks like in between the front and rear mounting posts and additional mounting assemblage inside the cabinet, may collide with the OEM slide rails included with the server. If this is the case, the only option is to search for an aftermarket rail system that will accommodate the addition mounting obstructions.
  4. If unsure, always go bigger- in server racks, always go bigger if you have the space. Too small and you're left with two pieces of equipment that won't work with each other. Going bigger keeps you from the dreaded return/ exchange process and increases airflow and allows for more room for cable management.
  5. Check both internal and external specs closely- server racks are loosely categorized by their internal dimensions. For example, standard 42u server cabinets will have an internal height of 73.5 inches, with each unit measuring 1.75 inches. The issue arises with external specs. Though 42u server cabinets are categorized together, some of the external specs such as height and depth can vary by a number of inches, making a world of a difference when working in a confined allotment of space.
  6. Noise pollution-today's servers are loud. With the heavy-duty fans being used to cool the increasingly important functionality of the servers, it can be difficult to position server rack cabinets anywhere near people without the noise becoming a distraction. Some cabinets are created with this problem in mind, and manufacturers boast claims of reducing noise by as much as 80 percent.
  7. Shop around-with the explosion of cloud-based data systems, server racks are in-demand and pricey pieces of equipment. Manufactures constantly reinvent the wheel with server racks, and you can benefit from closeout pricing.
Make sure you do your research and take into consideration these seven helpful tips before purchasing your server rack.

+Katrina specializes in products for the leading custom design and manufacturing of racking products for your tech needs at RackSolutions.com

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