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Friday, July 19, 2024

Network & Server Rack Setup Best Practices

Data centers are a place where all the computing powers are placed, huge amounts of information are allocated, and valuable datum is stored. The brains of most enterprises, companies, and offices are there.

Large server systems require some furniture to be accommodated. Server racks come as one of the most popular types of data center furniture pieces. Racks have open-frame bodies with 2 or 4 uprights and are designed for fastening active IT equipment, cables, accessories, and other tools.

Benefits of Server Racks

A wide application of open-frame racks in data centers is determined by the following benefits:

  • Unhindered air circulation and better cooling by natural airflow. Since no walls and sidewalls hinder air circulation, the airflow freely passes through hardware and exchange hot and cold air cooling devices.
  • Equipment allocation. Multi-level racks allow housing of dozens or hundreds of components.
  • Security. Metal frames provide reliable mounting and storage of IT equipment.
  • Ease of cable wiring due to the absence of side panels. The staff can decide how and where to route cords.
  • Ease of maintenance. Access to devices is provided from all sides (rear and front), so employees can easily get to the needed hardware piece.

Planning network rack installation is important since incorrect equipment allocation or too tight fitting can cause hardware downtime and malfunction due to heat exchange. Some other cases can also become reasons for possible failures.

Rack Dimensions

When choosing a suitable server rack enclosure, for example on SysRacks, its size is one of the essential points that can significantly influence the smoothness of system performance. Traditionally, users should pay attention to three dimensions, i.e. depth, width, and height.

Rack depth can be regulated and adjusted to particular hardware since the rear post (when considering a 4-post rack) is sliding.

Width is usually standardized, with 19-inch models being the most popular. This width is set so that technicians can fasten most types of active equipment to posts.

Height is the most complicated dimension since it requires making calculations. The dimension is measured in units (U), where 1U is 1,75 inches.

Designing a server rack equipment layout helps realize what furniture size and construction you need. Thus, experts recommend making a 3D draft of your future rack to identify possible mistakes and calculate the size correctly.

Here, it is important to consider several remarks. Note that devices are allocated loosely since tight fitting impedes air circulation and increases heat exchange, which results in quick hardware overheating. Make sure that you leave enough space between components. Also, leave extra space for cable routing from the rear side of the rack.

Tips for Successful Server Rack Installation

A well-functioning network system requires satisfying certain requirements. When planning a server room, keep in mind this server rack installation guide:

  1. Find an appropriate room. It is preferable to choose premises without windows. Make sure that no plumbing systems go through it and a fire alarm system functions properly.
  2. Consider cooling. Examine the type of HVAC systems installed in the room. Is it sufficient to maintain the required humidity and temperature? If not, think about the way you’ll cool down the premise and maintain the required indoor environment since IT equipment is vulnerable to environmental factors.
  3. Decide on rack type. Make a list of equipment to be stored and decide on the size of the furniture piece. Will a 2-post rack be enough or will you need a 4-upright model?
  4. Choose a power distribution unit (PDU). Examine the capacity of the available PUI. Make sure that it is reliable and can handle power needs. The PDU must provide enough electricity for the system in the case of a sudden outage.
  5. Isolate servers. Note that a lot of heat and noise are produced during operation. That is why it is preferable to isolate network hardware from people. If you plan to install the rack in an office or another room next to employees, you have to buy a soundproof enclosed cabinet.
  6. Make sure that rails and rack are compatible. Note that different models of accessories are produced for particular models. Thus, mounting rails sometimes do not match racks. Make sure that all the additional accessories match your rack model.
  7. Consider cable management. Do not leave wires to go as they are since this leads to tangling and unintentional raptures. Hooks, ties, and boxes are offered on the market to organize cords in bundles and prevent their tangling.
  8. Label cables. Using various color markers simplifies and speeds up maintenance.
  9. Manage airflow by means of hot and cold aisles, forced fan system installation, and other cooling strategies to direct the airflow in the right direction.
  10. Install shelves. They are not included in the server rack kit. Technicians buy them separately. Yet, they allow housing more components and making devices more accessible.
  11. Decide on the cost of equipment. Open-frame racks are cheaper since less material is spent on their production.
  12. Future growth. When calculating the needed rack size, you should also leave space for future system expansion. Your system is more likely to grow over time. You’ll add new capacities and components. Thus, leaving more extra space now will eliminate the necessity to buy another furniture piece in the future.
  13. Security. Open-frame racks do not secure equipment from unauthorized access and environmental factors due to the absence of side panels. Thus, they are suitable for installation in closed rooms. However, it is possible to attach removable sidewalls and doors to improve protection.

Data center arrangement is a responsible and complicated task. If you stick to these server rack installation best practices, you’ll design a highly effective and smoothly running system for your business. Do not hurry up since the preparatory process takes a lot of time. Take time to consider all the points to avoid mistakes in the future.

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