Top Considerations When Buying Data Server Cabinets and Racks
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.
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