Guide To Data Centre Server Racks

Discover more about server racks & data cabinets

With so many different types of server racks and data cabinets on the market choosing the right server rack to buy for your Data Centre can be daunting. In this Guide to Server Racks and Data Cabinets, we look at the different options available and help you decide what cabinet matches your requirements when buying server racks.

EDP Europe supply a full range of server racks and data cabinets.

EDP Europe provides a wide range of server racks and data cabinets from USystems as well as our own range for EDP Data Centre Server racks which can be custom built to meet exact requirements. Our server racks and data cabinets are available in a range of sizes with a vast array of accessories. We also have the capability to work with you to provide a custom engineered enclosure. Whatever your 19” rack or cabinet requirement is, EDP Europe can provide you with the perfect solution to meet it.

So many terms for IT cabinets, what’s the difference between a server cabinet and a comms cabinet?

Searching for IT cabinets on Google can be daunting with so many search terms to look for, so what is the difference between a server cabinet and a comms cabinet?

The answer is not a lot. Both look similar and use the same 19” mounting posts for installing equipment into, both are available in similar widths and RU heights, but where they do differ is in the depths and load capacities. Server cabinets are usually deeper and available in 1000mm and 1200mm depths rather than the 600mm and 800mm depths of a comms cabinet. This is because the servers, UPS’s and other IT equipment is usually quite deep, there also needs to be room for the power strips to provide both the main power supply and the backup supply. Server cabinets tend to have mesh front and rear doors, whereas comms cabinets can have a vented plexiglass front door or even a solid metal door.  This is due to the fact that server cabinets generate higher heat loads and require mesh doors to enable cold air to flow into the rack and exhaust through the rear door more effectively.

Computer racks, server & network cabinets and wall mounted cabinets.

EDP Europe offers a variety of computer racks, server & network cabinets and wall mounted cabinets from USystems, as well as our own custom engineered bespoke EDP racks solutions.

EDP racks can be supplied ready built or can be delivered flat packed for assembly on site.

EDP racks are also available with multiple, independent, compartments. Co-Location cabinets provide 2, 3 or 4 independent compartments and are ideal for use in multi-tenant environments. Also, as part of the EDP rack range is our Chimney Racks which expel hot IT exhaust air directly into the ceiling plenum for return to air handler units. EDP’s rack range also include wall boxes that provide a solution for either small volumes of IT equipment or for operating equipment in remote locations.

USystems provide versatile and flexible rack solutions with their 4210 server & network cabinet and 5210 server racks that are the building blocks for many of their rack solutions. They also produce the water cooled ColdLogik solution comprising of Rear Door Coolers or In Row Coolers.

Server Racks

Is a 42U rack the biggest I can buy?

For many years the ‘standard’ for IT cabinets has been as a 42U rack, but with the need to store more equipment and maximise IT real estate, the 42U rack is being overlooked by taller 45U, 48U or 52HU racks, and in some cases rack frames as high as 59U! However, whilst taller racks offer more storage capacity there are some key points to bear in mind:

  • Equipment Installation – Installing equipment into a 42U rack can be demanding enough and can require the use of a server lifter. But the difficulty reaching the top RU gets tougher when you consider a 48U rack is 2.26m (7.4 ft) tall.
  • Height Restrictions – Use of taller racks can be restricted by the height of the room, doorways and service lifts.
  • Cooling – The added equipment will require more cooling and ensuring the top RU is cooled correctly could be an issue.

What is a co-location server rack?

With increasing demand for data centre space, data centre providers and cloud services providers can offer dedicated space (1HU upwards) within their racks. However, in standard server racks this can raise security concerns as multi-vendors could, potentially, be accessing the same rack.  The solution is a co-location server rack. A co-location server rack utilises a 42U or 47U server cabinet but splits it into either 2, 3 or 4 separate compartments. Each compartment is completely independent with its own power, connectivity and security.

What other rack solutions are available from EDP Europe?

As well as offering co-location server racks EDP Europe offers a number of other rack solutions including:

  • Sound Proof Server Cabinets – The EDGE 3 will reduce equipment noise up to 28.5dBA (99.9%) of IT noise, which is tech speak for saying that it will reduce server noise down to a whisper. The EDGE 3 is also able provide a thermal load capacity of 11.5kW.
  • Water Cooled Racks – Water cooled racks provide an alternative to the normal cold air cooling used in Data Centres and are capable of cooling higher heat capacities within the racks. Water cooled racks are becoming more widely considered as computing densities increases, especially in high performance compute (HPC) environments. For more information refer to our ‘Guide to Water/Liquid Cooled Racks’ page.
  • Air Conditioned Server Racks – The EDGE 5 is an air conditioned server rack that provides a Micro Data Centre for facilitates looking for a solution for edge computing.
  • Bespoke cabinet solutions – EDP can work with you and develop a custom specification tailored to your specific requirements.

Soundproof server cabinets drastically reduce noise levels.

The EDGE 3 soundproof server cabinets drastically reduce IT noise levels to up to 28.5dBA, which in basic terms reduces server noise down to a whisper. The EDGE 3 server cabinet has two EC fans located in the rear doors that draws sufficient airflow throughout the enclosure providing cooling for a thermal load of 11.5kW.

Server rack cooling is vital what are the options?

Server rack cooling is vital and good airflow management practices need to be observed if traditional underfloor cooling is to be efficient. IT equipment that has higher heat loads, such as blade servers, can be better cooled in water cooled racks such as ColdLogik. In a ColdLogik water cooled server rack it is possible of cooling heat loads from 29kW to up to 200kW!

In row coolers are available to support existing air conditioning, or to provide the cooling within Cold Aisle Containment, by using an air-to-water heat exchanger to provide additional cooling and result in rack cooling of up to 74kW depending on the water temperature.

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