Buyers guide to server and data cabinets

It’s all very well spending a budget on the latest Routers, Servers, NAS, or rackmountable devices but all of these need a safe and secure place to be housed. Frequently we see customers purchase rackmountable kit and then, often as a last thought, the data cabinet is purchased.

Data cabinets come in different configurations such as heights, widths, depth, and even form-factors. Choosing the right one should be carefully planned out before the rackmount kit is selected with a number of considerations. Because of this, we’ve put together some of the things you should consider:

Buyers Checklist

Height of the Cabinet

Server and Data Cabinets heights are measured in “U” (a 1U rack unit is 1.75 inches, or 44.45mm). Many rackmount devices are sold with the 1U height clearly specified and you should aim to get enough vertical U-height to fit all of your devices in and consider any future expansion of your Network (such as more Switches, UPS etc.). Even the tallest of Cabinets (42U high) fit into most rooms. One thing to be aware of is most cabinets come pre-built so consider how you will move the cabinet through doorways or floors.

Cabinet width and depth

Data Cabinets have 19″ wide rails which is the industry standard, which are covered by 600mm wide (external size Cabinets). You could go for even wider (800mm wide) Cabinets which allow routing of Patch Leads better. A 600mm deep Cabinet is the standard for general Switches, but you can still go to 800mm deep, if your devices need it. Server cabinets are often deeper to fit blade servers and a typical Server Cabinet is 1000mm deep. This is a key differentiator between Data Cabinets and Server Cabinets.

What about Servers, NAS or SAN?

The rule of thumb here is always to go with a Server cabinet like the LMS Data Server range. These are always 1000mm deep so that they can accommodate the extra depth that many Servers, NAS, and SAN have. It also means there will be better ventilation as these types of devices are accessed frequently and generate a lot of heat.

What Server you have

Generally this does not matter, as Server cabinets dimensions are universal and will fit all Server brands out there. Server vendors supply different rails for different vendors and you may need to purchase an additional rail kit if you would like to have your Server fixed or on a sliding rail kit.

Keeping it Cool

Never forget the cooling of your active devices. They get hot, and many Servers will shut down if they get too hot! Always add a roof-mounted Fan Tray to your cabinet. LMS Data floor standing Cabinets come complete with a FREE roof Fan Tray as standard! Some cabinets also include punch-out panels for additional cooling.

Don’t forget about the Power Distribution (PDUs) which powers the Cabinet. They come in many sizes (vertical or horizontal) and have many power outlets to power your devices, not just UK Plug type, but also IEC for example. These can generate significant heat too and will also need to be cooled.

Any thing else I need to know

Depending on your installation, you might just need a Wall Cabinet, but these are quiet small and are okay for home or branch office networks, be careful of the weight. Finally, don’t forget other accessories you might need to make your job easier for Cabinet installation, such as Castors (wheels), Feet (for un even surfaces), Shelves etc. LMS Data, a popular brand we sell includes these FREE accessories, to make your life easier.

At the end of the day a well chosen Cabinet will not only look good, add security, make it easier for you to maintain the equipment but also increase the lifespan of your devices, so saving you money!