A server rack, also known as a server cabinet, is a structure specifically designed to hold and organize IT equipment such as servers, routers, and switches. Typically found in data centers or communications closets, server racks provide a secure way to contain multiple pieces of equipment. In a data center, server racks are placed side by side in rows.
The benefits of server racks include:
- Organization. Server racks are tall structures that hold many pieces of equipment. They are designed to maximize the utilization of floor space while being easy to access equipment at any position in the rack.
- Cooling. Stacking servers in a server rack makes it easier to control airflow to efficiently cool equipment. When necessary, they can also house fans and other cooling equipment.
- Cable management. Hundreds of power, network, and other cables can be run through server racks in an organized fashion to more easily understand and troubleshoot connections.
- Security. The enclosed metal structure of a server rack protects the equipment inside from accidental contact. Door locks can also be used to prevent unauthorized access.
The 19-inch server rack is the standard frame size for mounting equipment. Space in a server rack is divided into rack units, often abbreviated as U or RU, each being 1.75 inches. A typical server cabinet is 42U high and the servers are each 1U, 2U, 3U, or 4U high.
To manage server racks and the equipment they hold, Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software is often used. DCIM software enables data center managers to remotely visualize their server racks and assets with high-fidelity rack elevation views with overlaid real-time data collected from power and environmental sensors, monitor the capacity of server rack space to deploy new equipment and floor space to deploy new server racks, and track anything they desire about their server racks and equipment.
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