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Just how important are doors and panels to your server racks?

Front doors, back doors, side panels… have you locked in on the right kind of doors? Just as with a house where doors are important for entries and exits, with your server racks too, doors can make that crucial difference when it comes to entry and exit… of air, dust, or any kind of contaminant. It can also mean the difference between security and vulnerability.


Here’s a quick guide on how to choose front and rear doors for your server racks.

What are you looking for exactly? Security, ventilation, or both?

The three basic types of doors most rack-mount enclosure manufacturers offer are steel (solid and vented), glass (tempered or plexi), and perforated.

What we’ve found is that all-out steel door cabinets are far less common than those with glass or those that are louvered because they do not provide adequate ventilation and make it difficult to visually monitor equipment inside.

Cabinets with glass front doors are a more practical option if aesthetics and ease of visual monitoring are what you are going for. But glass doors, like the all-out steel doors, tend to restrict airflow. This can be a costly mistake at a data center as these cabinets enclose sensitive electronic equipment. Airflow and cooling are vital to prevent equipment from overheating. 

Perforated doors provide both ventilation and security and some amount of visual monitoring possibilities as well. Security here is possible as most doors come with locking mechanisms.

Also, if your cabinet will house lots of servers and other sensitive equipment, you may want to choose a cabinet with perforated front and rear doors.

How much space do you have?

You need to consider space limitations when choosing doors. If the rack enclosures are in a large enough space, full-size front and rear doors that open up are ok to use. But these may pose a problem in small spaces.

If your data center or server room is smaller, then the server rack is likely to be situated relatively close to a wall. In this case, a cabinet with split-rear and front doors may help. This will reduce the amount of room needed to open the doors and access your equipment. The G-series server rack from Hardy Racks for instance is designed for data centers, equipment rooms, and network or telecommunication closets. It comes with a toughened glass door in front and a perforated split rear door to decrease server fan power consumption.

You’ve got the front and back covered, now what about the top and sides?

In terms of the top panel, a vented top panel with a small hole, say 4 inches or so, for cabling will help secure servers and valuable rack equipment from foreign objects that could enter the server rack from above.

In terms of side panels, solid fixed, solid removable, and louvered are three options.

Fixed solid side panels are economical, but do not allow equipment to be accessed from the side and are conducive to expansion. These panels are attached to the server rack permanently.

Removable side panels allow side access to equipment.

Louvered side panels provide both good airflow and security for the network equipment. Louvered panels are also easier to clean.

There is a world of options in terms of server rack doors and panels, but you need to choose the one that is right for your enterprise in the long run. Give our executives at Hardy Racks a call to guide you on the right choice of doors and panels.

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