When it comes to selecting cabinets and racks for your IT equipment, there are many standard solutions to choose from, as well as the option to design something for your specific environment and requirements. In this article, BT-SA’s Stephan van Aswegen provides some insight into the BT-SA’s methodology of building cabinets for various scenarios.
van Aswegen explains that the company categorises cabinets into three primary application areas: server rooms and datacentres, patch rooms and cabinets for retail environments or small offices. However, van Aswegen notes that the final decision always depends on the particular requirements and the environment of the end user.
Most of us consider cabinets to be simply devices that are only there to hold a bunch of electronic equipment, but the selection of these cabinets is more complex. When choosing cabinet options, users should consider the space available as well as the weight and dimensions of their equipment, as well as allow for future expansion.
van Aswegen adds that you need to determine ahead of purchase how the cabinets will be accessed – front vs. rear – as well as the airflow and ventilation as electronic equipment gets hot when in operation. In addition, power distribution needs to be considered and the installation team will need to know which power strips to install and how many are required.
And finally, the security of the cabinets and how the company will control access to them is critical if you want to ensure that only authorised people can open the doors and access the electronics.
Server rooms and data centres: In these environments, van Aswegen recommends 42U or 43U cabinets with perforated doors to ensure ventilation for the internal components (one rack unit (U) is 1.75 inches, almost 4.5 centimetres).
Patch rooms: In this scenario, she says 32U, 25U, 18U and 15U cabinets are mostly used. The size chosen depends on how many users need to be served with the computing equipment. Here, again, perforated doors are good to assist in ventilation, although some customers may choose the option of glass doors.
Retail and small offices: These environments have less computing requirements than those above and the size of the cabinets ranges from 15U down to 4U, and they usually accommodate primarily switches and user points. A normal swing door is acceptable here, although the client can again opt for perforated or glass doors.
van Aswegen adds that these are just the basic options. Additional considerations include:
• Ventilation / cooling systems,
• Power source and management,
• Environmental control management,
• Mounting options,
• Anti-tip feet, casters and levellers,
• Different shelving options,
• Cable management options, and
• Even what colour you prefer.
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