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Server Rack Guide - How to Choose Server Racks

About Server Racks

Server racks are usually metal enclosures, frames and/or LAN/network furniture designed and built to hold computer servers, monitors, KVMs, networking equipment, electronic equipment for labs, test and measuring instruments, etc. Server racks and cabinets are an important component, so careful planning and shopping is desired. Finding the right server rack for your needs may increase the protection, security, and ease of reconfiguration and management of your network/electronics.

Server racks come in a wide variety of preconfigured sizes and can typically be adapted with adjustable rack shelves and other components to hold and protect your specific equipment. Server racks can also be custom ordered and built to your exact specifications. Server racks are generally pretty similar and have a fairly narrow range of features and functions, but there are some important differences among server racks that you should consider when making a purchase decision.

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Important features and functions of server racks
The place to start when finding the right server racks for your company is to figure out your needs first, and then find the server rack or racks that fulfill those needs. Consider the equipment that you need to install, the manner that the equipment will be connected to each other and the network, the power requirements, as well as additional needs that you might have in the future. Once you have a good understanding of your requirements, you can shop and compare server racks according to the following features:

Size/Capacity - one of the most important considerations, not only to make sure that the server rack has the right dimensions (height, width and depth), but also how the server racks fits into the operations environment. You'll want to determine if freestanding, desktop or wall-mounted server racks will work best for your equipment and environment. Check the weight capacity of the server rack to make sure it will work for your anticipated network equipment load.

Configuration - planning your server rack purchase requires you to consider how the equipment needs to be connected, which in turn impacts how the server racks will need to be configured. Server racks come with varying levels of adaptability and accessories (i.e. fixed or sliding shelves, vertical rails, etc.) so you'll want to make sure that the server rack is customizable for your needs.

Security - server rack security comes in many forms and options. In their least secure form, server racks are just frames and offer no additional barriers to the equipment. In their most secure form, server racks are fully protected with four solid panels and multiple locks. You can also get server racks within a medium level of security range (e.g., server racks with four screened panels). The choice for what level of security you need depends on what potential threats to your network equipment you perceive and predict.

Other Features - apart from the above main features to consider when purchasing your server rack, there are additional secondary features to consider, including:

    Assembly - do you want the server rack to come assembled or ready for assembly?

    Metal - is steel or aluminum better for your needs?

    Seismic rating - are there any local zoning requirements or recommendations for seismic activity?

    Venting - do you want vented doors and/or panels on the server racks?

    Access - would you like to have access to the equipment through side or back panels?

    Leveling - do you need to be able to adjust the leveling of your network equipment?

    Construction - do you have minimum requirements for the type of server rack construction?

    Color - is the color of the server rack important?

    Mobility - do you need to move the equipment and/or put wheels on the server rack?

    Locking - what type of locking mechanism(s) do you require on the server racks?

    Rack Accessories - some of the available server rack accessories include fixed shelves, rollout shelves, power strips, monitors, fans, seismic bracing, cable management, joining kits, anti-tip retractable stabilizer bars, keyboard trays, utility drawers, reducer rails, blanking/filler panels, adjustable angle brackets and so on.

How to find the best server rack for you

Our company offers several types, models and brands of server racks, cabinets and open frame furniture. Please take a look at our products to compare desired configuration, security, capacity and other features. Once you have a good idea of what type and size of server rack will work best for your company, you can order it online through our secure server, or you can call us for more information.

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