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Size and capacity, the greatest distinguishing points between server racks

To the casual observer, server racks often look the same. However, businesses considering an investment in new racks need to understand the primary distinguishing points between racks.

According to a recent Data Center Journal report, one of the natural distinctions between server storage solutions is the difference between a rack and a cabinet. The differences are fundamentally rather minor, except that racks are fairly open and cabinets are closed. Instead of focusing on the difference between racks and cabinets, businesses should emphasize size and capacity, as these factors are among the most important points when choosing the right server rack.

When it comes to size, the report explained that racks are labeled in units classified with a U. Each U represents 1.75″. Therefore, a 42U rack is approximately 73.5″ high. The height of a rack identifies more than how much equipment in can hold, it also provides a basis for how much power can be transmitted to equipment in the storage device, according to the news source.

Mike Kendall, group manager of options and infrastructure for industry standard servers and software at Hewlett-Packard, told the news source the 19″ rack is widely considered a standard size for equipment storage.

“There [are] a variety of racks available on the market, but the most common type you see in data centers is the 42U-high 600mm-wide rack, which is anywhere from 1,000 to 1,100 mm deep. These all support mounting of standard 19” IT products. Another common rack you’ll find in a data center is a 36U rack, but the trend is definitely moving towards 42U,” Kendall told the Data Center Journal.

While a 19″ rack with a 42U height may be the most common in the sector, the report said that many companies will deploy larger server racks when they need to store equipment at higher densities. Furthermore, shorter racks are beneficial for organizations that require more space between the server rack and the ceiling.

Server rack sales could be on the rise as a growing number of companies are investing in data center services. According to a recent RealPoints report, businesses are increasingly depending on mission-critical IT systems, leading to more investments in data center outsourcing services for everything from colocation to disaster recovery.