Guide to Server Racks and Data Cabinets
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 leading manufacturers including Retex, Rittal and USystems. 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 wide variety of computer racks, server & network cabinets and wall mounted cabinets from three leading manufacturers Retex, Rittal and USystems, as well as custom engineered bespoke solutions.
Retex specialise in flat packed computer racks offering the Logic2 and RetO. Sometimes, due to access restrictions computer racks need to be delivered flat packed and then built in situ. The Retex racks are purpose designed with this requirement in mind, utilising lightweight aluminium where possible, and steel where more durability is required. These racks are quick and easy to assemble whilst providing a fully featured and strong 19” rack. Rittal are one of the world’s leading server & network cabinet manufacturers offering everything from basic server and network cabinets to their TSIT rack that is highly configurable and can incorporate its on cooling system to provide a ‘data centre in a rack’ solution. USystems offer EDP Europe’s widest range of rack solutions that includes the 4210 server & network cabinet that is the building block for many of their rack solutions. They also provide a range of wall mounted cabinets often used in remote locations for housing networking equipment such as patch panels and network switches, as well as chimney racks that provide a direct air path for hot exhaust air to be extracted via a ceiling void.
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 server cabinet but splits it into either 2 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 from Rittal & USystems including:
- IP55 Server Cabinets – One option, the Rittal TopTherm enclosure is an IP55 rated server cabinet that has its own dedicated air conditioning unit and gasket seals to reduce dust ingress.
- Chimney Rack – The USystems ColdLogik CAP system takes the standard 4210 rack and converts it into a passive or active chimney rack. The rack has a mesh front door to enable cooled air to reach the IT equipment, whilst the rear door is replaced by a solid steel door preventing the hot exhaust air from escaping. Instead the hot exhaust air is directed out of the top of the rack and directly into the return air plenum. In the passive version this occurs naturally, whilst the active version uses up to thee fan cassettes that are sensor controlled and can remove a higher heat load.
- DAX System Cabinets – The USystem DAX system cabinet, or Directional Airflow eXhaust system, is similar to a chimney rack in that it takes the 4210 cabinet and removes the hot exhaust air from the server rack. However, rather than just returning the hot air to a ceiling plenum, ducting can be used to direct the air to a different location. This enables the hot exhaust air to be used to heat office or other rooms/spaces, it also helps reduce air conditioning usage.
- 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.
- Soundproof server cabinets – Soundproof cabinets are ideal for use in office environments where the noise from servers can be a distraction.
- Bespoke cabinet solutions – we can work with you and develop a custom specification tailored to your specific requirements.
Soundproof server cabinets drastically reduce noise levels.
The UCoustic Edge 9210i soundproof server cabinets drastically reduce IT noise levels by up to 31dBA, which in basic terms reduces server noise down to a whisper. The UCoustic 9210i server cabinet is available as a passive cabinet, where the air is drawn into the cabinet by the IT equipment itself and capable of cooling loads up to 2.75kW, or as an active cabinet where fans in the rear doors help draw the air in and capable of cooling up to 12kW.
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 up to 58kW!
In row coolers that use a liquid based cooling system can help support existing air conditioning by using an air-to-water heat exchanger to provide additional cooling and result in rack cooling of up to 30kW
More on Server Racks & Data Cabinets for Data Centres and IT Comms Rooms
Product Solutions For Data Centres
Other Data Centre Guides from EDP Europe
Guide To Airflow Management
Guide To Water & Liquid Cooling in Data Centres
Guide To Data Centre Security