There are many challenges to installing the right server room racks and cabinets for your IT facility. If you don’t have a data center floor but have to focus on a small server room or back office or network closet, space in terms of footprint and ceiling heights can be challenging factors. These small data environments typically have less than ten or less server racks housing their servers, network hardware, telecoms and storage devices.
When it comes to selecting a sever cabinet the choices available can range from open frame racks to server cabinets with side and front and rear doors. Enclosures can also be wall mounted to help optimise space. Of course, as with any network installation, future growth must be factored in as this will affect floor space, airflow, cooling capacity, power protection plans , cable management, fire suppression and access security.
Server Cabinet Depth and Height
When designing your server room layout one of the first things to consider is the depth and height of the equipment that you will place into the rack. IT servers and associated networking hardware comes in a varying degree of depths (measured in milli-metres). The deepest depth will then define one of the factors you need for server cabinet selection. Care needs to be taken here to ensure you allow sufficient depth for cable bend radius and if you are going to use a UPS system and power distribution units
Power and Data Cable Routing
Once you have a final layout plan it is also worth consider cabling layout and the overall cabinet weight. Correct cable management includes clear routing and cable labelling whether its power or data cables. If your cabinet is on show, neat cable routing can demonstrate attention to design and detail but can also reduce system downtime, improve airflow and prevent potential errors when removing or plugging in new equipment and cables.
Cooling and Airflow
Cooling and air flow will always be important when selecting a server cabinet due to the amount of power the latest servers draw. A typical server cabinet, fully populated can see 10kW of power in wasted heat generated from the equipment within it and this heat needs to be removed and cooled to prevent overheating, damage and a potential fire risk. Servers and server cabinets have temperature ranges they require and in smaller server rooms you may decide to install an in-rack air conditioner or in-row air cooling system. Wall mount air conditioners are also an option where space is restricted.
Security and Monitoring
For the overall room security and access should also be considered as should overall environmental monitoring. If the server room is typically locked with a code-access or card system, any single piece of hardware within it be it a server, storage device, UPS system or air conditioner could be generating an alarm, triggered by a failure or because of a self-test routine.
The final considerations for a server rack cabinet relate to the cleanliness of the environment itself. Whilst server cabinets are generally design and built to an IP20 level, higher IP ratings are available. IP stands for Ingress Protection the higher the number the more the protection provided. Dust filters can be added to a server cabinet, alongside drip protecting roofs, special anti-corrosive paint finishes for external, onboard ship and high humidity area usage.
Finally, always remember logistics. Once you have selected a server cabinet, you need to get it to site and positioned. Most server cabinets can be supplied completely built-up or in semi-knock down kicks for ease of transportation and placement. Whilst a semi-knock down kit will take time to build up on site, it makes for an easier delivery and placement on site where it can be fully populated once in position.