Refresh Your Data Center Efficiency Factor: Five Key Considerations

Posted by Gaw Technology on 4/25/2013
Upgrading the custom cabinets, racks and shelves that protect your network equipment is a very wise and noble idea. But with so many types of equipment out there -- so many models, sizes and add-ons available -- refreshing your data center’s efficiency factor can get overwhelming.

Easing this process is possible, but only if you know what to look for and how to conduct your search. To help you choose the best-fitting and highest quality server racks the first time around, Gaw’s enclosure consultants have composed five crucial considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Quantity Of Units

Cabinet rack units cannot be added once a server rack has been fabricated, so knowing the quantity of rack units you need before you purchase is absolutely key. Also, keep future expansion in mind.

  1. Internal Dimensions

The following three dimensions are the most important to consider when assessing the size and amount of equipment you can house in the enclosure.

    • Horizontal Panel Opening (HPO): the horizontal dimension of the opening in the server rack
    • Vertical Panel Opening (VPO): the vertical dimension of the opening of the server rack
    • Useable Depth: the dimension from farthest forward the front-mounting rails can be to the farthest back the mounting rails can be to the back of the server rack

You may request additional space to be furnished before manufacturing to allow for side, rear and front-mounted equipment. This supplemental compartment space is always a good idea because it provides room for ventilation systems, power cords and cable management mechanisms.

  1. Standard Measurements

It’s important to get familiar with industry standards and terms. The Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) lists the 19” and 23” as the two most common rack-mounting widths for server racks in North America. An EIA standard allowance unit for measuring rack equipment is a “rack unit” or rack “u” and is equal to a height of 1.75”.

So, calculating the total usable space of a rack enclosure is pretty straightforward: Just multiply the quantity of rack units by 1.75”.

The standard server cabinet is 40 and 44 rack units, or 40u or 44u tall with an average external height of 76 and 83 inches, average external width of 24 inches and average external depth of 36 and 42 inches. However, keep in mind that for each 40u and 44u rack the manufacturer’s external dimensions do vary.

  1. Power Distribution

Power distribution units (PDUs) disperse power evenly to servers over the entire power strip. Rack mount power strips, made specifically for server racks, mount vertically or behind mounting posts in the back of a cabinet. Power strips can be standard or intelligent.

    • Standard power strips have fuse replacement indicators and output displays, but they must be managed on-site and in person.
    • Intelligent power strips give you remote power control so you can perform cold reboots and troubleshoot problems off site, provided you have internet access. This remote control also allows you to leverage the most advanced power distribution technologies.

Other power-related considerations you should keep in mind are requirements for the number of outlets, plugs/receptacles and inclusion of additional components.

  1. Shelves

If you have electronic equipment that isn’t rack mountable, you’ll need to invest in quality, custom shelves.

You have a number of options when it comes to server rack shelves: adjustable or fixed shelves, media shelves, sliding keyboard shelves and vented, heavy-duty or cantilever shelves. When considering size, choose a shelf that has a depth of six inches less than the total depth of the rack. So if you have a 30-inch deep cabinet, go for a shelf with a depth of 24 inches.

Don’t risk making a mistake in measurement or overlooking a critical detail. Your data center’s sustainability, cost effectiveness and production performance depend on your purchasing sensibility.

Need more hands-on support in refreshing your data center’s efficiency factor? No problem. Click the button below to contact a Gaw enclosure consultant and we’ll get your data center performing at high efficiency, right away.

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