Engineers who spend their days designing the best in electronics are often panicked when they are asked to specify a Server Rack. It is really quite a different skill, moving away from their expertise and into a more physical and mechanical world. To make their job easier, we have compiled five simple questions to ask to insure that they are as successful in this selection as they are in their typical day-to-day work.
Question One: Size
What is the actual physical size of the rack that is required? While the specific server or servers’ dimensions may be known, it is important to keep in mind several factors. There may need to be at least a few inches on each side for cable flow or management. Also, there needs to be consideration of the size of the room into which the cabinets are being placed. If it has a low ceiling, for example, two shorter enclosures need to be ganged. On the flip side, do not order a 42u enclosure (a typical standard) if a smaller one will do as rack pricing correlates closely to its size.
Question Two: Cooling
What are the cooling requirements? Each server should have, as a part of its specs, the heat it generates. There are many approaches to cooling from exhaust fans to cool water piped through the cabinet. This determination and the availability of the required solution from the enclosure manufacturer can have a huge impact on the decision process
Question Three: Assembly
How much time is available to spend on assembly and installation? There are, of course, cost impacts on the time required to get the rack and equipment operational. A knock down rack will have a much lower cost, but then labor will be required to assemble the unit. Simple features such as numbered holes on the mounting rails can speed installation, as can pre-cut holes for fans or other accessories.
Questions Four: Accessories
What are the accessories that are required? Sometimes, an extra pair of mounting rails can be needed to insure secure installation. Exhaust fans, power strips, shelving, internal lighting and cable management systems are all potential needs that must be considered. There is nothing worse than being ready to activate the Server Rack only to uncover that there are too many electrical outlets required.
Question Five: Modifications
Is there a requirement that is unique to the application? Many manufacturers are happy to build a unit to for specific demands. This can include special heights, widths or depths. It can also include special holes or knockouts, provisions for cooling, or even special colors. Check with the potential suppliers to insure that they can provide a turnkey unit.
Bonus Question: Lead Time
What is the lead time for this Server Rack. Some manufacturer’s, such as Bud, have them in stock ready to ship same day. Others build to order with a lead time of up to 6 weeks. Depending on the schedule and needs, this can be an important decision factor
It is fairly easy to be a Server Rack expert. It involves asking different questions, but with a few simple steps, the application will be a success.