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The big 3: Three points to note in the selection of a server rack

Data server racks are way more important than most people in the industry give them credit for. While there is so much emphasis on software, hardware is often given less importance, when in fact, it can contribute to efficiency, performance, and the smooth running of a data center.

In this blog, we’re going to look at just why selecting the right rack is important to maintain the overall efficiency of a data center. There are three main points to consider when selecting a rack.

1. Load bearing capacity

Depending on the equipment to be mounted within the rack, racks are categorized into server and network racks, the latter being wider than the former on account of the extra space provided for cabling. While the size of the cabinet enclosures varies significantly depending on usage, data center server racks have specific dimensions (the unit of measurement here being U or RU). The load-bearing capacity per U is an important factor in determining the rack, as an incorrect load rating is likely to result in equipment damage or collapse. Load-bearing capacity is basically the weight that the rack can safely support.

Static load rating refers to the racks load-bearing capacity when it is at a fixed location, while dynamic or rolling load rating measures the load-bearing capacity when it is moved.

Now, here’s a basic calculation for load-bearing capacity:  Let’s say the equipment weighs 250 kgs and the height of the rack is 10U then the recommended load-bearing capacity is 24kg per U.

2. Mounting Options

This is important when it comes to rack selection criteria. As yourself these two questions: How much floor space do you need today, and how much will you need in the future? It is less expensive to think ahead and build rather than perform a renovation in a few years.

Open frame racks, for instance, come without doors and sides and are mounted on rails. They’re typically what you would use for applications where the rack does not need to control airflow or provide physical security (network wiring closets for example).

You’ve also got rack enclosures, which come with removable front and rear doors, and are ventilated to encourage airflow from front to back, through any installed equipment. The side panels too are removable and these usually have four adjustable vertical mounting rails. You could consider them for applications that require heavier or hotter equipment.

A third type, wall-mount racks, are designed to be attached to the wall. As you would imagine they save floor space and fit in areas where other racks can’t. So, choose your racks with these points in mind.

Airflow management

Airflow management is one of the ways that a rack helps to keep data center equipment safe. As computing needs grow, wattages, and equipment density rise. The increased heat production can cause performance to dip, and worse, may result in shutdowns.

Here too rack selection is important. Open frame racks offer little control over airflow, while floor-standing rack enclosures provide the most control over airflow. They also include a number of built-in and add-on features to keep the hot and cold aisles apart. Solid side panels prevent hot air from recirculating around the sides of the enclosure while blanking panels force cold air through your equipment and prevent hot air from recirculating through open spaces. So base our choice on what you need your rack to do.

At Hardy Racks, we offer a variety of certified racks tailored to suit the varying needs of data centers. Sometimes choosing the right rack for your center can be difficult, but not when you have experts guiding you in the right direction. So contact us today if you are looking for racks for your data center server room.


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