Have you ever been to a data center or a server room? If yes, you perfectly understand how hardware is stored there. For those who have never visited such premises, we explain the issue. It is an essential part of any modern facility or business. Networking equipment is stored on special racks and in cabinets.
What are Server Racks and Cabinets?
Cabinets and racks are the two most popular types of furniture for data centers. Their constructions are specially designed for carrying heavy devices and arranging space ergonomically.
The modern market is characterized by the abundance of models for any size, capacity, and purpose. Manufacturers produce durable products with diverse designs to satisfy the need of modern consumers. Distributors provide a wide catalog of options. Different models of cabinets and racks, as well as a server rack kit and other supplementary tools, are found on https://sysracks.com/catalog/rack-accessories/.
Types of Server Furniture
All products that are manufactured for the sphere can be classified by the number of posts, the type of body, and mounting type.
Number of Posts
Taking into account posts, they distinguish between 2- and 4-post models. 2-post products are designed for carrying small loads. A few devices can be installed on such racks. Only open-frame furniture can have such a construction.
As for 4-post furniture, both open-frame and enclosed models are produced. These cabinets and racks are more spacious and allow storing more devices.
Type of Body
Here, two classes of furniture are distinguished: open-frame racks and enclosed cabinets.
Models with an open frame have 2 or 4 vertical racks with special holes to which the equipment is attached. Such products have the following features:
- Free airflow and an ideal cooling for equipment due to the absence of side panels;
- Easy access to equipment and maintenance;
- Easy cabling and management.
However, such models are lagging in terms of safety since they do not protect the accommodated hardware from external damages, unauthorized access, and pollution with dust.
Enclosed cabinet designs are characterized by having sidewalls and lockable perforated doors. This type of body ensures the following benefits:
- Perfect protection from dust and external influence;
- Big sizes up to 48U allow housing multiple devices of different sizes and weights;
- Suitable for installing in public places.
Yet, such constructions have poor cooling properties since the air can’t freely go through side panels. Such products require the use of forced ventilation. It is complicated to replace devices, maintain equipment, and wire cables.
Type of Mounting
According to the way of installation, floor-standing and wall-mount products are distinguished. Floor models are more spacious and have higher carrying capacity, while wall-mount furniture is smaller.
What Hardware is Stored in Server Furniture?
Now, let’s answer the question “what is inside a server rack?” The issue is frequently raised. So, let’s clarify the point. The following types of equipment can be found on racks and in cabinets:
A server is a specialized type of equipment (usually a business computer or workstation) designed to run service software without human activity. The server can be either a separate office computer (similar to a regular PC) or a whole station containing many hardware units. Often, single company computers are used to perform internal company tasks (for example, working with databases, computing operations, sending and receiving internal mail).
Servers are listed as high-precision equipment. System trouble proof performance depends on the ability to issue and send commands. Thus, servers require arranging an ideal environment for their operation. Putting equipment in the cabinet or on rack shelves allows achieving the following issues:
- Guarantee highest security level and protect apparatus from unauthorized access;
- Provide sufficient cooling;
- Allocate space ergonomically and place hardware compactly.
2. Switches & Routers
A switch is a device designed to connect several network machines, such as computers, laptops, servers, network printers, or even switches themselves. It looks like a box with a large number of network LAN ports. In industrial networks, it is designed for the steady distribution of traffic and power between complex devices.
A router is a network device required to direct data packets on one or more subnets using one or another way. The router can analyze the datum, determine the destination, and select the route based on the information received.
These are two indispensable components of a communication system. When developing any system, it is recommended to keep all its parts in one place. Moreover, cabinets and racks provide the following advantages:
- Protection from damage;
- Ease maintenance and replacement;
- Perfect room ergonomics;
- Maintenance of optimal environmental conditions.
3. Patch panels
A patch panel is a versatile tool for switching different sections of a cabling system. A standard telecommunication switching panel has a set of ports of various types for connecting network cables. Their number usually ranges between 8 and 48, depending on the features and purpose of the equipment. Structurally, the patch panel has two contact areas: there are ports for cable entry from one side, and contacts for mounting conductors using special tools on the other. By its purpose, the patch panel is a passive network element. The component can be attached to vertical posts of racks or to the rear side of the cabinet.
4. Supporting hardware
This class embraces blanking panels, cords, cable management tools and rails. It is impossible to answer the question of “what is in a server rack” without considering this group of accessories.
Blanking panels are used to plug tech holes in cabinet bodies when they are not used. A classic cabinet construction has special holes for cable routing or switching different types of devices. When holes are not needed, they can be plugged with such panels to avoid dust accumulation.
Hardware is mounted on shelves. Rails are used to ensure smooth sliding. The ability to slide in and out shelves allows achieving easy access and maintenance of devices. Also, it is easier to replace parts.
Cords and cables connect multiple devices and allow the system to function as one unit. Here, it is vital for your system to manage wires effectively. Cable management is not an empty sound; it is an important part of system layout development. Effective cable routing will help avoid tangles and ensure easy maintenance. Cable management can be done by various methods.. These include grouping, labeling, using bracers and panels for wiring cables alongside posts, etc.
Besides the above-listed ones, other types of equipment can be accommodated in server cabinets. These include laptops, monitors for troubleshooting, keyboard, and fans. A set of required supplements is compiled at the stage of system planning. Fans are required for enclosed cabinets when natural airflow can’t freely circulate. Laptops, a mouse, and a keyboard are necessary for the maintenance staff to control operations and correct some failures.
Now, you know what to put in a server rack and for what purposes. Keeping this guide in your head will allow arranging the best network system. Server furniture will help achieve perfect ergonomics and keep devices secure providing optimal conditions for the smooth operation of all system components.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.