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Server Racks - Essential Office Equipment

Nov 28, 2007
Server racks may not be the most aesthetically pleasing piece of office kit but they are certainly one of the most functional. Designed to provide storage for rack mountable equipment such as, telecommunication equipment, computing equipment, audio equipment and, entertainment equipment. They are an effective method of providing efficient storage and improved power distribution, cooling and cable management. Server Racks are generally compatible with Dell, HP, Compaq and IBM servers and are primarily utilised by data centre professionals.

The fixture points on a server rack generally consist of two metal strips that stand vertically and are referred to as panel mount or rails. The holes in the vertical strips of metal are set at regular intervals so that the inserted unit can be adjusted to the correct height. Original versions of the rails were tapped to receive a particular type of bolt that threaded through.

These frequently became damaged or a bolt became bound in the hole. As a result the tapped hole was replaced by round hole racks which were fastened with cage nuts. These are sprung and can be simply removed or replaced without damaging the hole. The square hole rack also provides an innovative solution to the problem. Because it is boltless this method makes installation and removal of equipment easy. It uses small clips to hold equipment in place.

Many server racks include rails that allow equipment that needs to be regularly monitored or accessed for servicing to be pulled out of the rack yet still be bolted in. The equipment is bolted to the rails which can slide in and out of the casing. This appeases the need for a secure fitting as well as allowing for simple and fast maintenance checks

Server racks are measured in standard unit sizes called 'u'. A single 'u' is 44.45mm high with standard patch panels and switches also measuring one 'u' in size. If the equipment you wish to store in a server does not come with a 'u' measurement then the correct size server rack size can be measured by dividing the height of your equipment by 44.45mm. The width of a server rack is generally either 600mm or 800mm. The larger 800mm version usually has similar size capacity for storage but contains greater space for cabling. Manufacturers tend to make servers shorter but deeper. Server racks generally provide a depth of between 900mm and 1000mm.

One of the most important aspects of a server rack is the level of ventilation it offers. Firstly they must be placed in a well ventilated area. Different models provide different levels of ventilation. Some provide vents in the roof, some have a full mesh rear door, others come with a choice of glass or mesh vented surround. This aims to prevent the servers from overheating. It is also advisable to include a monitoring kit to notify you of changes in the environment in and around the unit.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been involved in the networking equipment and server racks industry for several years. For more information visit Comms Express
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