We reviewed many a server rack over the years, from very small ones to a Godzilla-sized one. In researching and reviewing these enclosures we’ve come to appreciate why any growing business would want to have one.
Today we will look at a medium sized server rack and explain some of the considerations that go into selecting the right one for your business.
So what are server racks used for?
To help organise and protect servers and other network equipment
And how do you define a rack?
A rack is a frame structure designed around the standard 19” rack-mount equipment, like servers, routers, UPS systems, switches and audio/video gear. These structures help in the organization, security and cable management while also ensuring a good air cooling. There are four types: rack enclosures or rack cabinets and open-frame racks. These two types can be either floor standing or wall mounted for the smaller sizes.
Where can we use racks?
Obviously we will find them in server rooms and data centres but also for A/V installations.
Many businesses will house their telecommunications equipment in rack cabinets in a separate room and most factories will have server rooms as well where the equipment is protected and access is controlled.
Rack mount equipment is measured in standard Rack Units or RU. One “Rack Unit” is equal to 1.75″ in height. Most equipment is 1, 2 or3 RU in height and a medium sized server rack is between 18 and 27 RU in height.
One of the biggest advantages of using a server rack is having all the equipment that is critical to the running of your organisation together in one cabinet, with easy cable, power and airflow management for the various units.
Most small businesses start out with a standalone server but when your IT requirements grow beyond what a couple of servers can do, it’s certainly recommended moving up to a rack server.
Checking out the 4Cabling 18RU Half Height Server Rack
In our situation, we have a server, 3 NAS units, a switch panel and a UPS.
All together they take up 10 RU. That leaves some extra space between the units if we like or room for additional equipment.
Setting up this rack unit is a breeze: it comes fully assembled!
That’s a great time saver compared to some of the flat-pack servers that are on the market as well. Normally, a DIY assembly will save money in shipping but 4Cabling has free shipping on all their servers so why not take advantage of that? The only downside to being fully assembled is that you might need a couple of strong arms on the delivery site to take it from the pallet to the server room. Our parcel weighed 61kg and was 1m high, and 630mm wide and deep. It was extremely well packaged so it survived the trip across Australia without a scratch.
Unwrap its protective packaging and its dimensions turn out only slightly smaller: 990mm high and 600mm deep and wide.
We were impressed by the built quality and finish. I must say that the much larger one we reviewed several years ago was even stronger and sturdier but it is also because it had to be with the weight of all the equipment it could contain. This 18RU unit is likewise made of solid steel and welded construction.
4Cabling also supplied a rack mountable LED light on a flexible arm so that you can illuminate the black internal space.
Ventilation is by way of a ceiling mounted fan kit. Security is a big thing with all server equipment which is normally housed in a separate, restricted access room. Our server rack has a tempered glass and lockable front door so it is easy to see the status of the equipment through the glass. The door can be hinged either way which is handy when you have limited space around the unit. The removable side panels are also lockable.
Cable access is also made easy either through the roof or the base by removable gland plates.
There is a rack mounted power rail to accommodate six units.
When it comes to installing your equipment there are two fixed shelves and a pair of sliding rails. Most equipment will not necessarily need a shelf or rails and can be fastened to the front of the rack with the included cage nuts.
Once everything is assembled and weighing a ton (probably not too far off the mark as you can load it up with 800 kg worth of gear) you can still easily manoeuvre the cabinet back into position on the castoring wheels. These you can subsequently lock after which you would level the cabinet with the levelling feet.
There is not much to the whole setup and not much that should go wrong over its lifetime. After all, it’s just a cabinet. Even so, it is good to know that there is a five year warranty on it. And 4Cabling has proven itself over the years to be an excellent supplier to its more than 100,000 customers.
We highly recommend both the company and this particular 18 RU server rack! At the moment of publication there’s even a price reduction on several models including this one. Currently listed at AUD609.
Have a look at the range of half-height servers at4Cabling.
18RU 600mm Wide x 600mm Deep Free Standing Server Rack
FEATURES AND INCLUSIONS
Supplied Fully Assembled
Lockable Tempered Glass Front Door, Solid Lockable Steel Side & Back Doors
Reversible Front Door
2 Way Ceiling Mount Fan Kit
6 Way Rack Mount Power Rail
2 x Fixed Shelves
Adjustable 19″ L Rails Front & Rear
Leveling Feet & Lockable Castor Wheels
Cable Entry Glands on the Top and Bottom
20 Sets of Cage Nuts
Loading Capacity 800kg
Earthed Doors and Side Panels
3 Year Warranty
Part # 002.001.1860
RU Size 18RU
Cabinet Type Half Height
External Height 990mm
External Width 600mm
External Depth 600mm
Internal Height 800mm
Internal Width 470mm
Internal Depth (Front Rail to Back Door) 510mm
Rails 2 x Front, 2 x Rear
Shelf Quantity 2
Shelf Width 490mm
Reversible Hinges Yes
Tempered Glass Yes
PDU 1 x 6 Way
Carton Height 1000mm
Carton Width 630mm
Carton Depth 630mm
Carton Weight 61kg
Warranty 5 Years