Our Tripp Lite Rack Cabinets Choice Guide
With the current cloud hosting and storage revolution, more medium to large-sized businesses are taking advantage by migrating their data and IT infrastructure to the cloud. This eliminates large-scale network and storage equipment requirements. Two of the major changes stemming from this is downsizing on-site data centres and switching to smaller network equipment, such as Wall Mount Rack Cabinets; designed to save floor space in smaller server rooms and closets.
If you are looking to adopt this increasingly commonplace practice, you’ll need to first decide how you want your servers. Luckily, our friends at Tripp Lite can help you if you can’t decide how you want your to mount your servers and other network equipment.
To Rack Cabinet or To Open-Frame Rack?
That is the question.
As IT infrastructure continues to expand and the need to organise, secure and cool servers and server equipment routers, hubs, PDUs and UPS systems, all while conserving space, becomes more critical. As a result, IT Rack Cabinets and Open-Frame Racks have pretty much become essential. And as networks continue to grow, saving money becomes more and more of a constant concern among IT professionals.
Rack Cabinets offer:
Because the front and rear doors and side panels on most rack cabinets can be locked, access to equipment and sensitive data can be managed and controlled.
Greater Cooling Flexibility
Heat-sensitive equipment such as servers is isolated inside rack cabinets, allowing for more control over both active and passive airflow/cooling management.
Equipment Protection from Harsh Environments
If your rack and equipment is going to be in harsh environments where dust, water and other debris could damage your equipment, a rack cabinet that protects equipment from the elements is for you.
Open-Frame Cabinets offer:
At typically around one-third the cost of a similar Rack Cabinet, if you’re simply looking for an economical way to organise rack equipment while conserving space, Open-Frame Racks are the way to go. With no doors you won’t need to worry about any extra space required for their opening arcs – even if minimal, sometime it’s those few precious inches of space that can make all the difference. Also, with he majority of them having no sides, they provide a natural way of heat dissipation for any server and networking equipment housed.
So, now you’ve taken your first step towards your chosen Rack path. If you’ve chosen an Open-Framed Rack, a Rack Cabinet, or are still undecided, the following will still serve you well.
Tips for Choosing a Tripp Lite Cabinet
With the varying Wall Mount Rack Enclosures and Open-Framed Racks on the market, you’ll want to waste as little time as possible in finding one that best suits your needs. Save yourself time and possible frustration by following these quick tips. Selecting the perfect rack for your specific networking IT application will become much, much simpler.
Choose the height of your Rack
Determining the height requirments of your intended Wall Mount Rack Cabinet, you’ll need to add up the total height of the equipment you’re looking to install. For reference, 1U (or ‘Rack Unit’) is equal to 1.75 inches, meaning a 10U cabinet will be able to house network equipment with a total height of 17.5 inches. So a 2U server would then only occupy 2 Rack Units of the available 10 Rack Units available.
Make sure your rack space requirments are accurate, of course allowing for further expansion in the future.
Know your Depth
Adjustable mounting depth brackets are a feature of pretty much all Wall Mount Rack Cabinets. They are adjustable in minimums of 3 or 17 inches and maximums of 16.5, 20.5 or 32.5 inches. Measuring the depth of your equipment, adding an extra 3 inches to allow space for the cabling at the rear, will determine the maximum depth you will need.
For example: A cabinet with a maximum depth of 20.5 inches will be able to accommodate networking equipment with a maximum depth of 17.5 inches.
Total Equipment Weight
Wall Mount Racks have a weight limit. Make sure that the capacity of the rack is greater than the total weight of the equipment being mounted. Also check to make sure there are proper studs on the wall that can support the weight of the rack and housed equipment.
Special Feature Consideration
Most Wall Mount Rack Cabinets come with a variety of options and special features, such as perforated metal or plexiglass front doors depending on your airflow requirements, locking front doors for increased security, heavy duty rolling casters for easier installation, and hinged wall brackets that swing away from the wall for convenient access to equipment and cabling.
Another step taken. Here is where the considerations get a bit more interesting.
Benefits Every Rack Cabinet Should Provide…
Rack enclosures have moved on from their beginnings in railway signaling. Now they are one of the most important assets, housing business critical equipment in cutting-edge data centres the world over. Whilst they may follow similar standards, they’re anything but homogenous. The benefits for IT installations that modern, thoughtfully designed racks and enclosures can provide is something not to be missed.
These are one of the cornerstone for data centres and medium to large businesses in general. The key to regulatory compliance and security, configurability, system availability, cooling and efficiency, as well as saving precious space.
Rack Cabinets should be designed with the IT department in mind, and the repetitive tasks they have to undertake over and over again. Smart features such as toolless mounting for PDUs and cable managers, easy-view rail depth indexing, and modular side panels should be included and will make every task a little quicker and easier. That really adds up when you’re configuring a roomful of racks, and each one is packed with equipment.
Equipment Regulatory Compliance and Server Security
Well designed Rack Enclosures should be made to easily secure the access points, including locking doors and side panels. Other security options include combination locks, multiple access levels, and remote intrusion detection. This is the advantage that Rack Cabinets have over Open-Framed Racks, which – even with the addition of side panels – still primarily rely on the physical security provided by the room or building they are housed in. So whether your company handles credit card information, company financial data, or patient records, you’re risking severe penalties for not securing equipment from potential theft or inteferrence.
Government and industry regulations require physical equipment security, differing greatly from a few decades ago when security was pretty muhc left at your discretion. Most IT technicians would securely lock their servers simply becasue they didn’t want anyone fiddling with them. Over the past couple of decades, there have been various amendments to the original Data Protection Act (1984, 1998), the recent introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and now the 2018 Data Protection Act, which is the UK’s implementation of GDPR, which no longer applied in light of the UK’s recent leaving of the European Union.
Securing your servers should be the default standard you should adhere to.
Efficiency and Cooling
Most racks are rated up to 1360 kilograms – yes, that’s just over a ton of equipment! All that equipment in a single rack is bound to generate a fair amount of heat. Luckily, Rack Enclosures should be designed as standard to handle the heat produced by densly housed installations. Perforated doors permit airflow from front-to-rear that will often exceeds the server manufacturer requirements, and supporting a ‘hot-aisle/cold-aisle’ efficient cooling configuration. Studies by ‘TDI Data Centers’ showed that a ‘hot-aisle/cold-aisle’ configuration can also reduce energy use by up to 20%.
To achieve this would usually require at least two rows of rack cabinets, but the same benefit can be in a smaller space by adding thermal ducts, which should be an available accessory. Optional thermal duct kits route hot air directly to the HVAC/CRAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning unit/Computer Room Air Conditioning unit) return air stream. Heat is pulled from the enclosure creating a negative pressure via the return air duct. All without any use of additional electricity.
Keeping your server equipment cool is a priority to avoid your server(s) shutting down, so cooling is one of the keys to system availability. But don’t overlook rack cable management accessories.
A mass of tangled cables clogs up your enclosures and kills airflow. To combat this, good cable management is a must, which also reduces human error – one of the main causes of downtime. Rack enclosures should also support toolless mounting of a variety of horizontal, vertical, internal and external cable managers, including high-density cable managers which permit effective organisation of network patch cables in large quantities.
This is where the smaller Wall Mount Rack Cabinets comes in their own. Wall Mount Racks should feature the same design principles as their larger floor-standing enclosure cousins, but the emphasis being on quick and easy installation and maintenance. Perfect for small server rooms, wiring closets, or any other room where floor space is a premium and are typically available in Rack Unit sizes ranging from 5U to 26U. And just like their floor-standing alternatives, you will still need to ensure that the equipment stored within remains organised and secure.
Well, that should cover it. We’ve covered quite a few aspects of Racks and Enclosures in this guide, which we hope will furnish you with more insight when choosing your Tripp Lite Rack. By removing some of the headache in decision-making, we hope this guide allows you to begin, improve, or grow your business and carry you onwards to success!
Tripp Lite Products Available from Comms Express:
Tripp Lite UPS | Tripp Lite PDUs | Tripp Lite KVM & Console Drawer Solutions | Tripp Lite Racks/Cabinets | Tripp Lite SmartRacks Rack Enclosures | Tripp Lite Euro-Series Rack Enclosures | Tripp Lite Power Accessories | Tripp Lite RJ45 Ethernet Cables & Patch Leads | Tripp Lite Fibre Optic Patch Leads & Pigtails | Tripp Lite Trunking & Trough Solutions | Tripp Lite Cable Tray Solutions | Tripp Lite Unmanaged Gigabit Ethernet Switches
If you require any further information on these or any other products that we stock here at Comms Express, please do not hesitate to contact our team who will be only too happy to help.
Until next time…