Rack Cabinets & Accesories
Many of you have seen metal cabinets with large computer systems and communication networks in data centres (DPCs), small and medium-sized businesses, and even offices. These cabinets are known as computer cabinets or racks and are the means to store all devices in businesses safely and to organize all cabling in case of service properly. Here, we tell you what a rack cabinet is, what it is for, how much it measures and what models are there.
What is a rack or frame cabinet?
A rack is a cabinet with a pedestal and a metallic structure, the main objective of which is to house all the computer and telecommunications systems that the companies or organizations in which they are installed will need. These rack cabinets house servers, switches, professional routers, NAS servers, DASs, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), and of course, all the network cabling to provide the various services for the local network.
Today, any business with a minimum of wired equipment will have a switch with 24 ports or more, a professional rack-mountable switch that must be integrated into one of these cabinets. The same thing happens if we have a server, if we have a tower or NAS type server, you can also put it in the rack with fixed or mobile trays if we have a rack-type server (which are usually a little more expensive), we save a lot of space in the rack since they only occupy 1U or 2U.
With rack cabinets, all dimensions are always standardized, so all the devices we install (switches, routers, NAS servers, UPS) are compatible, and we have no problems. These cabinets have removable sides for easy access to the sides of the equipment we have installed. In addition, we can buy them with glass doors (in the front) to see very well what is inside without opening the door, or we will also have perforated metal doors to facilitate air circulation and equipment to cool the interior adequately. Finally, we also have the option of having two-door cabinets; this is ideal to occupy half the space when they are open and place them in places where there is not too much space, in small rooms, corridors, etc.
Dimensions of a Rack
For the dimensions of the shelves, the first thing to consider is the size, which is measured in a unit called U. This “U” measures 1.75 inches or 44, 45 mm. All devices such as routers or switches must always be 4.4 cm high to be like a U and to be able to mount the devices in the rack without problems. In the case of servers, they usually occupy 2U and even more, but it is always measured in multiples of U to find their height. In this way, depending on the model, we find racks with a height of 22U, 42U or more.
The height in U is never the same as the actual height of the cabinet since the U only indicates the effective height at which the equipment is to be installed, not to mention that cabinets usually have wheels and a ventilation system on the side top to remove heat. The most normal thing, for example, is that a box of about 42U measures a little more than 2 meters long (instead of 1.86 meters, which it should measure based on U).
In terms of width, racks are usually always 19 inches (48.26 cm wide), which is 600 mm wide on the outside, as we always have room for the side cabling and the “walls” of the racks closet itself. There are also 800mm wide racks, but they are still 19-inch racks. This allows us to add 10 cm to each side to make it much easier to manage the network cabling used. It will be much easier to run everything over the cable or fibre network to connect the various devices.
Finally, the depth of the cabinets is in the range of 600mm to 1200mm. Depending on the servers or equipment that we are going to install, we will need a larger or smaller fund. For this reason, before purchasing a rack, it is advisable to check the size of the servers that have already been purchased, as they may not be suitable for us if we have a shallow cabinet. In general, the device with greater depth should be about 45 inches smaller than the rack that we are going to buy to manage the cable management (power, data, etc.) inside the rack so as not to have cable management problems.
What are they for?
A rack cabinet is used to keep all network equipment and major computer systems (mainly servers) in one place and very well organized. If we have all the IT systems in a rack cabinet, we can perform interventions more easily, connect networks and even expand the existing infrastructure. Another of the strengths of the racks is that we have properly ventilated all the equipment Front and perforated rear doors to facilitate the passage of cold air to the rack and the exit of hot air.
To ensure good temperature management, in any good data centre, we always have a cold air corridor in which the rack devices are air-conditioned and a hot air corridor in which the rack and the server dissipate heat.
Types of Rack Cabinets
We mainly have two types of rack cabinets, floor model and wall model. Depending on our needs and budget, we can choose one or another type of wardrobe. Knowing where we are going to place the cabinet is also very important since wall cabinets are much smaller than freestanding ones. In addition, we must consider the accessories available for the racks to facilitate the installation and management of all the cabling.
- Wall bracket
This type of furniture allows us to place it on a table or directly on the wall as a shelf. If we need a closet to install only a switch and a router, this is a very good option.
- Floor shelving
This type of cabinet is specifically designed to have them directly on the floor; they have lockable wheels to move them easily and quickly.
Before making any purchases, there are several things to think about:
- Space: To set up your workspace, analyze the environment. The goal is not to clutter up your space but to add strategic storage. Take steps to maintain the identity of your office and ensure that it is widely used. If your space doesn’t allow for large furniture, lean over tall cabinets. As you add storage space to your space, you gain floor space. Also, if you want to invest in an open space, aesthetics are an important consideration in your choice. In this case, lockers are recommended to avoid exposing your papers and contracts to visitors.
- Volumes: Depending on your industry, you may use folders, hanging files, plans, posters, cards, or even formats beyond A4. It is important to consider this question in choosing the right office cabinets and drawers.
- Confidential Documents: Some companies have documents that need to be protected. To meet this demand, different models of office cabinets are available.