Monthly Archives: December 2013

What Kind of Computer Server Rack Do I Need?

TechRackPhotoBlog3a   Rack ‘em Up! (For Your Data Center, That is)

by TechRack Systems

In our last post we discussed buying considerations for the most popular of data center equipment items—server cabinets—the enclosure itself. But what other structural items should you evaluate as part of your purchase? A perfect complement to large computer cabinets, and sometimes in place of them, are racks of various styles to accommodate a range of data server configurations: from open environments to secure areas, from those that require mobility of equipment to compact work spaces, and much more. The possibilities are endless.

These racks can handle diverse equipment such as servers, computers, monitors, telco devices, and keyboards. Understanding each type of rack will help determine which are the most appropriate for your data center or office space. Here are some considerations before buying:

Relay (Telco) Racks

Typically lightweight and sized for 19-inch rack mount equipment, these racks can also accommodate heavier telco equipment. They are available in a variety of sizes and in heights ranging from 24 to 45 rack spaces, depending on your requirements. Relay racks are typically used for mounting hubs, power backup, and rack mount servers. They can also be configured to create a 4-post rack by using adjustable horizontal braces to connect two relay racks together, so flexibility is built in.

Wire Racks (Stationary/Mobile/Security)

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to store heavy-duty equipment, chrome wire racks might be your solution. Available in stationary or mobile configurations, these racks  come in various heights, typically 63 or 74 inches in height, and in depths from 18 to 30 inches. Most open wire racks are used to store computers, but can store other data center equipment as well (note: TechRack’s heavier wire and robotically welded design renders them 25 percent stronger than the competitors).

Another type of wire rack is specifically designed for security. Security Carts are enclosed and used when storing or transporting items that can be a target for thievery. These racks come in several sizes as noted above (including a mini version).

Heavy Duty Server Racks

When it comes to managing your larger equipment set-up, heavy-duty server racks can be used in a vertical configuration for a variety of work areas. Comprised of strong steel, the shelves hold up to 450 pounds of load each and come in modular configurations, so multiple units can be connected together. Units are 78 inches high and the bottom rollout shelf is 26 inches deep (check out our photo gallery for ideas).

Work Center Units

These open work center units combine a storage area and integrated work surface to house equipment and serve as a workspace environment. They are pre-configured with a 36-inch work surface and a 26-inch-deep bottom rollout shelf. The best part is their flexibility: it is easy to create your own tailored configuration by adding or subtracting any component to the workstation (more ideas in our  concept  gallery).

Small Space Server Racks

For that small space in the office, or even in a closet, you might consider using a compact server rack. This is ideal for smaller data centers, tight office spaces and under the desk use.

A lot to think about? Yes. But having choices enables you to  find exactly what you need for your data center or office space.

Next up, we’ll discuss special requirements for your data center that could affect the equipment you purchase.

Image:  Copyright Can Stock Photo

How to Buy a Server Rack or Computer Cabinet

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Top Considerations When Buying Data Server Cabinets and Racks

by TechRack Systems

You might think that buying a computer server cabinet is a pretty straightforward process, but when you consider all the parameters of the purchase, it requires more than a cursory evaluation. In our two part series, we’ll talk about what considerations you should take into account before purchasing server cabinets—from the outside in.

True Cabinet Measurements

To start with, when determining server measurements, you’ll need to know the sizes of all the pieces of equipment you wish to install. Take into account the additional depth, width, and height around the equipment— typically this will be 3-5 inches additional, for proper air flow. (Check with your manufacturer for specific measurement requirements.)

Bigger is Usually Better

Plan for the future at the beginning of the search process: consider a long view of your cabinet requirements instead of just current needs. Even if you only have a few computers for your cabinet now, in a year your business needs may change and grow, other equipment might need to be added. The rule of thumb is: it’s better to spend the budget now for a slightly larger computer cabinet model than to have to purchase a second cabinet because you’ve out grown your purchase.

Sturdy and Strong

Strength is also a factor in a server cabinet purchase. The general recommendation, whether it’s for a small office environment or large data center, is to go with a fully welded steel frame, unibody-type (one piece) to ensure stability in all circumstances. Knocked-down aluminum units, typically from overseas, are plentiful on the market, but they are not nearly as stable. Another issue with these types of cabinets is that it is often difficult to find replacement parts, since all manufacturers have customized, unique styles, sizes, and shapes. In the end, there is a high probability you’ll spend more money finding parts for your current ones instead of buying new cabinets. Again, the upfront investment of buying quality usually pays for itself.

Used Units Can Spell Trouble

Similarly, a word of caution on used cabinets: here you may also end up paying less initially for your purchase, but you’ll have the same problems finding parts later on the open market that are the exact fit your unique cabinet. The saying “penny wise and pound foolish” applies here as well.

Things Can Heat Up

Another consideration when evaluating server cabinets is that that there may be heat build-up from server cabinet equipment. The ability to exhaust and dissipate this continual heat is key. Measures to control this will depend on how much airflow is needed for your equipment. Several solutions are to consider a cabinet that does not have front doors or a computer enclosure that contains a fan to expel air. Another option is a server cabinet with a perforated metal door, which allows constant airflow through the unit. (Generally speaking, if you are going to get cabinet doors, the safest bet is to go with a perforated metal door to keep airflow high and risk at a minimum.)

Custom Configured Cabinets? Yes!

But what if after all of your searching, you can’t seem to find the right cabinet or rack for your specific requirements? Well there’s a solution for that too: You can build your own cabinet. TechRack Systems is one of the few vendors on the market to offer this unique service. Those hard to match, custom cabinet components can be added to meet your exacting needs—including the basic equipment and all of the accessories. You’ll also save time, effort, and money because you will get exactly what you want, and nothing that you don’t.

In a future post, we’ll look at buying considerations for different types of racks, as well as special considerations for equipment purchases.

Image:  Copyright Can Stock Photo