Servers and network equipment are very important to business infrastructure. They store data, carry shared information to users and provide access to resources to all users in an organization. Since they are so important, it is a good idea to make sure they are properly cared for, secured, and maintained. One of the best ways to meet all these requirements is to consider the use of a network rack for equipment. In some cases one may be able to get away with stacking equipment on a shelf or table. However, a rack should be considered for businesses as their network infrastructure grows.
Types of Racks
There are a few primary racks that can be chosen. It is important to consider the needs of the company regarding purchasing a rack, along with the space available to install a rack.
The most basic rack is a two-post rack. These are typically attached to the ground and anchored to the wall if more support is needed. These are ideal for installing punch-down blocks and networking equipment like switches, routers and firewalls. Special rails can be used to install some rack-mounted servers as well.
Four-post racks offer more flexibility. These are similar to the two-post racks. However, they have a similar rack attached behind it. This allows for more options like shelves, keyboard trays, monitor stands and other items that will bear more weight.
If mobility is a consideration there are rack cabinets that have casters installed on them. Servers and network equipment can be mounted inside these racks just like a four-post rack. Then the entire cabinet can be easily moved using the casters on the bottom.
Cabinet enclosures are another option for businesses that need more security for their servers and network equipment. Again, these have the same configuration as a four-post rack, but they are surrounded by a cabinet that can be locked from the front, back and sometimes sides. This makes it easy to install and access the equipment at any given time. And, the locked enclosure makes protects your equipment from theft and unauthorized physical access.
Benefits of Racks
One of the main benefits of using racks is the increased airflow they provide to equipment. Stacking equipment on the floor on a table can block ventilation to the equipment. This can result in increased temperatures which can impact performance, and even result in equipment failure.
Mounting the equipment in a rack keeps the equipment evenly spaced and does not obstruct the ventilation. This means the equipment will need less external cooling to keep it at a proper temperature. Some racks even have the ability to add cooling systems to them if that is required.
Another advantage to using racks is it makes maintaining equipment easier. It is easier to find everything in one place. Furthermore, being able to organize cables, power cords and other cables makes it easier to trace cords and potential problems. Being able to move around in a server room without tripping over equipment and cords is less likely if a rack is employed.
As mentioned earlier, security is another big advantage of using server racks with locked enclosures. By using these types of racks another layer of protection is added for data and equipment. It is not always about keeping people outside the business away from the servers. It may even be necessary to keep internal employees away from the server even though they have access to the room they are located. A prime example of this may be the evening cleaning crew. By having a locked enclosure the crew can still keep the server room clean without being able to have any physical access to the equipment.
A rack for network and server equipment is highly recommended for growing businesses. The value of this equipment grows as a company invests more money in the infrastructure, and is it relies on the equipment more. Having the equipment fail because it is not properly stored can be very frustrating. It is even more frustrating when knowing that something as simple as having the equipment installed in a rack could have prevented many issues.