Empty High-End Computer Rack, What Should we Fill it With?

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Empty high end rack

We have a new rack installed in our compute server room (well closet really).  I wonder what we can fill that with? Looks like it can handle a lot of heat, and a lot of units.  We shall see what the week brings.

Picking a Server Rack Frame

Selecting a server rack frame could be the most important part of the designing phase. In order to assist with choosing a proper fit for your environment, here are 8 rack considerations to keep in mind:

  1. What size Rack Cabinet Enclosure do I need?
    Selecting the correct server cabinet size depends on 2 major factors: the type of equipment needed for rack mount capabilities and the amount of equipment requiring server rack enclosure space. The key to having a good server rack buying experience is planning. Ideally, users should tally the total amount of rack units currently needed and also keep in mind future expansion because cabinet rack units can not be added on once a server rack is fabricated. If additional rack mount accessories such as environmental monitoring, battery back-up, and/or remote power management are required, extra front and rear cabinet space might be needed in order to sufficiently mount rack accessories vertically and horizontally. At rackmountsales.com you can choose racks by size.
  2. What is the significance of Internal Rack Cabinet Enclosure Dimensions?
    Internal Dimensions should be used as a guide to gauge the size and amount of equipment one can install in server rack enclosures. Internal vertical measurements from the tallest point of any side rail to the bottom chassis is regarded as total internal height. Internal depth is figured by measuring from the insides of both front and rear doors. Lastly, internal width measurements extend from one side panel to the other.

    When accessing rack mount needs, internal dimension measurements should also take into consideration rack equipment and accessories that normally mount internally to the rear or side of cabinets. Additional space can be modified during rack manufacturing to allow for side, rear, and front mounted rack equipment. Additionally, the auxiliary compartment space will provide room for ventilation systems, bulky power cords and cabling management requirements.

  3. What is the significance of External Rack Cabinet Enclosure Dimensions?
    Determining server rack location within a data center or co-location facility is often overlooked until the rack enclosure arrives at the dock for delivery. It is very crucial for users to determine if the finalized exact external dimensions of the server rack will fit through doorways and other obstructions of the intended target location. Consider carefully environmental factors such as ceiling height and clearance regulations in your data center or server farm. Also, be sure to respect dimensions of stairways and freight elevators if server racks need to be transported through them for final placement.
  4. Will my Rack Cabinet Enclosure fit in the room it’s intended for?
    Considerations such as server rack weight and height are very important factors to take into account when moving server racks from place to place. Particular server racks can weigh in at over 300 lbs. and can stand very tall at over 7 feet. Server racks are large items which require considerable effort when moving, rounding corners, lifting up stairs, and fitting in any tight spaces. Please ensure that enough room has been made and accounted for before rack enclosures are purchases and finalized.
  5. Will the Rack Cabinet Enclosure fit through all doors on the way into the destination room?
    All of our server rack enclosures ship fully assembled. There are some removable components, such as door as side panels, but that will not change external dimensions of the rack frame which cannot be taken apart. Please consider all product dimensions carefully to ensure server racks meet all clearance regulations.
  6. What is a Rack Unit? What does 40U mean? 44U? 48U? etc.
    A “Rack Unit” or Rack “U” is an EIA standard allowance unit for measuring rack mount equipment. One “Rack Unit” is equal to 1.75″ in height. To calculate internal useable space of a rack enclosure, simply multiply the total amount of Rack Units by 1.75″. For example, a44U rack enclosure would have 77″ of internal usable space (44 x 1.75). Click here to choose racks by height.
  7. How do I calculate how many Rack Units I need?
    Many data center managers calculate rack enclosure height needed by determining the optimal rack unit usage. For example, if users are aware that future plans call for the addition of 20 2U sized servers, they could count on needing a 44U rack enclosure. This will allow enough internal height for approximately 20 servers, room for a 1U patch panel and a 2U UPS back-up battery. Rear or side vertically mounted power management devices will also have sufficient room to perform their functions.
  8. What is the purpose of a 2-Post Relay Rack?
    A Relay Rack is a 2-post aluminum or steel structure with either EIA standard (round) mounting holes or universal (square) mounting holes. Relay Racks are also known as 2-Post Racks or Open Bay Racks. The vertical holes spacing on Relay Racks are standardized for mounting Telco, or computer / network equipment. Relay Racks can also mount cantilever shelving for other non-rack mountable equipment.
    The Open Bay rack design also provides maximum air flow for the entire rack due to the open frame construction.

Rail Comparison

Universal Square hole Rail
Universal Mounting Rails
Rack Enclosure EIA Mounting Rails
EIA Standard 10/32 Tapped Mounting Rails

Rack Mount Rails: We can manufacture server rack enclosures with either Universal Mounting Rails (square holes fitted with cage nuts) or with EIA Standard rails (10/32 tapped holes). All our cabinet rails are high quality gauge steel (1/8″ thick or more) and have an electroplate finish to maximize protection.

Universal Mounting Rails: Universal rails will support 19″ EIA width rack mount and networking equipment and almost all sever equipment. Cage nuts and screws will be needed in order to mount equipment to universal mounting rails.

EIA Standard Mounting Rails: Standard Mounting Rails support 19″ EIA width rack mount and networking equipment and some sever manufacturer’s rack mounting equipment. Please be aware that not all rack mountable equipment will match up against the EIA 1032 hole pattern on Standard Rails. Standard mounting rails will not allow the use of Cage Nuts.

Which Mounting Rails do I need? It depends on the equipment you will be mounting in the rack enclosure. Most rack mount and networking equipment such as hubs, routers, patch panels, etc. will conform to EIA Standard hole spacing. However, some sever and rack accessory manufacturers will implement rack mounting kits to assist with attaching equipment to Universal Rails. With this example, proper cage nuts and screws will most likely be needed in order to mount this type of rack mount equipment in one of our server cabinets.

Mounting Hardware

There are currently 3 types of Mounting Hardware used with our server cabinet rails:

10-32 Tapped Cage Nuts and Screws – American Version – Commonly used in all rack mount applications including music, video, broadcast, data and more. The “10” refers to the drill size for a tapped (threaded) hole. The outside diameter of a 10-32 screw is 0.19″, it is smaller than a 12-24 screw. This screw type has 32 threads per inch.

12-24 Tapped Screws – American Version – The “12” refers to the drill size required for a tapped (threaded) hole (a #12 drill is 0.189″). The outside diameter of a 12-24 screw is 0.2160″. It is larger than a 10-32 screw. This screw type has 24 threads per inch

M6 Tapped Cage Nuts and Screws – Metric Version – Metric thread size of 6 millimeters. Typical thread size for European rack applications. Also used in Compaq racks and Euro racks sold here in the US. Larger than both 10-32 and 12-24.

What mounting hardware do I need?
It depends on the mounting rails of the rack enclosure or relay rack you will be ordering. Most 4-Post server racks, cabinets, LAN enclosures either use Cage Nuts and Screws for square hole type Universal Mounting Rails or 1032 tapped screws for round hole style EIA Standard Mounting Rails. Please be aware that almost all 2-post open relay racks use 1032 Tapped Screws (round hole mounting rails).

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