Server Rack Depth: An Important Consideration for Implementation

Posted by Enconnex Team on March 3, 2021

| Categories: IT Infrastructure

Server racks come in “standard” sizes to enable a consistent layout in the data center. The dimensions of IT equipment, on the other hand, can vary substantially. Although many manufacturers offer compact rackmount servers, more powerful systems may be too deep to fit into older racks. Additionally, modern equipment often requires more cabling, which must be accommodated within the cabinet.

The interior layout of the server rack is another variable. Some cabinets have more usable space than others, even within the same footprint. Server racks must be chosen carefully to avoid unexpected deployment problems.


Understanding Server Rack Dimensions

Server racks are typically designated by height, measured in “rack units” or “Us.” A standard rack unit is 1.75 inches (44.45mm), so a 42U rack is 73.6 inches (1866.90mm) high. Data center equipment is also specified in rack units — a 2U server will take up 3.5 inches (88.90mm) of space. Most organizations use racks that are 42U or taller to maximize the amount of vertical space within the data center.

Most server racks are 24 inches (600mm) wide to match the traditional 24-inch by 24-inch tile in a data center-raised floor. The interior width is 19 inches, and most data center equipment is designed according to that standard.

As data center designs became denser, many manufacturers began offering server racks that are 36 inches (914.40mm) deep. This popularized the “seven-tile pitch” data center design, with aisles that are 24 inches wide and 14 feet long.


The Server Rack Depth Conundrum

The problem is, many of today’s more powerful servers are too deep to fit within 36 inches. Even if the server slides into the available server rack depth, there might not be enough space for PDUs and cable management. Low-profile power cords can free up some space, but these must be purchased from a third-party vendor.

It’s also important to remember that a designation of 36 inches represents the outside depth of the server rack. The interior space will obviously be less — much less, potentially, depending upon the cabinet design. What matters most is the distance from the front mounting rail to the PDU. If the server fits within this space, there will be plenty of room for PDUs and cables without impeding airflow or interfering with maintenance.

A server rack with an outside depth of 48 inches (1215mm) fits within two-floor tiles yet provides enough space for larger servers. Deeper racks of 59 inches (1500mm) are available, but they are more expensive and decrease the available rack space in the data center.


Enconnex DC Series Server Cabinets

Enconnex DC Series 48U cabinets are 88.85 inches (2257mm) by 19 inches (600mm) by 48 inches (1215mm), enabling data center managers to maximize available space while accommodating larger equipment. The distance from the front mounting rail to the PDU is 38.58 inches (980mm) to accommodate longer servers in a 48-inch rack footprint.

Additionally, the PDU mounting rails are flush with the side panels so that they don’t interfere with server maintenance access. The space between the rails and side panels has been sealed, preventing the loss of conditioned airflow and recirculation of exhaust air along the sides of the cabinet.

Enconnex understands the needs of high-density data centers and colocation facilities and has designed its DC Series cabinets to streamline installation and operations. Our racks incorporate all the features commonly requested by leading data centers in a cost-efficient unit with short lead times. Let us show you how the DC Series server cabinets can support all of your IT initiatives.

Posted by Enconnex Team on March 3, 2021

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