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Server Cabinet Buying Guide

You rely on your IT infrastructure, which means you rely on your server. So choosing the right cabinet to store them in is critical.
Here is our guide to ensuring you make the right choices for your server, office and business.

Server Cabinet Dimensions

As if technical equipment didn’t appear complicated enough, server and data racks generally have their own height measurement unit: the ‘U’. One U is equal to 1.75 inches or 44.45mm. This height measurement is used on top of the 19inch mounts to indicate how many units the cabinet can accommodate.

42U is the most popular size across the industry, but they can range from 12U to 47U.  Bespoke versions can also be made by special order.

Start the process by measuring the total U height of all the equipment you intend to place in the server cabinet. If it is non rack mountable then it should be measured along with the shelving it will sit on. 

You should also consider leaving room between units which can be filled by Blank Panels or Cable management panels. This room allows easier access to the front of the equipment and helps with ventilation. 

If your office dimensions and budget can allow, you may also want to consider provisioning for future growth by acquiring a server cabinet that exceeds present needs. The height of adjustable feet, Castors or Plinths also needs to be taken into account.

You should also consider the delivery logistics. Many cabinet frames come fully assembled and welded together, which can mean a fair few tight squeezes along the way. 

Unlike heights, Server widths are measured in conventional units. The most common being 600mm and 800mm – dimensions can vary slightly between manufacturers.

If your server equipment requires extensive cabling then the 800mm option could be the best choice. Both widths usually come with their 19inch mounts in the middle, so the extra side space of the 800mm models makes it popular for jobs such as the termination of the Data Cabling. Their 600mm counterparts, on the other hand, often house active equipment. In both cases customer preference and the space available still plays a key role.

Although 19 inch mounts are the most popular, it is also possible to either remove them totally or fit a reduced height set of mounts e.g. 27U mounts in a 47U high Cabinet. This means you can use wide equipment which needs to be housed on a full width shelf. 

As online systems have grown, so have servers – and the racks that house them. Where once 800mm was considered large, 1000mm depths are now common and 1200mm deep cabinets are also available. 

The mounts are adjustable, and usually fitted in the front and rear, although it is normal to allow a reasonable gap at the front to make room for cables.

The overall external dimension of a rack can vary between manufacturers and should be checked if space is limited. Double doors can often be fitted to allow for limited office space.

Weight is an important factor when assessing which cabinet is right for you – as the load ratings can vary. Also, keep in mind that weights will creep up as your business and systems grow.

As well as the actual cabinet load rating, you should consider the items the cabinet sits on i.e. castors, adjustable feet or plinths. Can they handle what you need? If items are to be installed onto shelving the load rating of these should also be checked.

Heat Management 
Depending on the servers you use, the heat generated inside your cabinet will vary. Take this, along the ambient temperature of your office, into consideration when deciding on the right model for your business. 

The ventilation and temperature control options available can vary, and include:

  • Glass doors
  • Mesh steel doors allowing for better ventilation
  • Roof fans and air conditioning options
  • Blanking panels and cable management solutions to improve airflow
  • Cabinet tops are usually ventilated as standard, which is particularly important if roof fans are fitted. If security is not an issue then doors and side panels can also be left off to let the server breathe more easily.

    Server Cabinet Accessories
    There are a whole range of accessories available for our Racks including:

  • Fans - Roof or Rack mountable options
  • Ring Runs, Blank Panels, Cable Trays
  • Power Rails, Earthing Kits
  • Castors, Adjustable Feet, Plinth Kits
  • Shelving - Fixed, Sliding or Telescopic
  • Fixings - Cage Nuts, Bolts

With some cabinets weighing in at over 100 KGs, and standing at over 7 feet tall, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind when it comes to delivery. The size and weight can have a huge bearing on its final location, and the route through the building to reach it.

While most suppliers will only deliver to your reception/entrance loading bay, we offer additional services to ensure the delivery of your order is as hassle free as possible. These include:

  • Next day delivery
  • Multiple delivery site co-ordination
  • Placed, in situ delivery
  • On site assembly services

If you believe the cabinet needs to be broken down and then reassembled on site this needs to be arranged prior to shipment.  

Contact us now for a free consultation.

n.b. The content contained on this page is intended as a guide only. We cannot be held responsible for any liabilities due to the use of this information.