System administration is a demanded sphere since any business or enterprise runs using an artificial brain. Network systems are used to process datum, make complicated calculations, and store information. The number of components of one IT system may reach several hundred or even thousand (for huge data centers). Thus, specialized furniture is required to store them securely and ergonomically.
Open-frame server racks are one of two main classes of furniture for data centers. These are metal posts with all the needed holes and fasteners to which rails, shelves, and equipment itself can be attached. Durable metal sheets are used for upright production to guarantee body rigidity and security. Additionally, an open-frame server rack can be equipped with doors and walls. Attaching panels to bodies allows for improving security.
Types of Open-Frame Cabinets
Server furniture is divided into groups according to several classifications. If we consider their constructions, racks fall into 2- and 4-upright models. Thus, bodies consist of 2 or 4 vertical posts. 2-post models are more compact and can carry less hardware. 4-upright models are more spacious; they have an adjustable rear side, which allows for customizing the rack depth and accommodating any equipment.
Another classification distinguishes furniture, based on the installation criterion. In this case, open-frame models fall into floor-standing and wall-mount. Obviously, the first one is more spacious and allows for accommodating more devices, while the latter is smaller and its weight capacity is limited.
A great diversity of models is offered in the modern market. They have different sizes and constructions. Producers apply innovative tools and technologies to design the most appropriate models. The range of sizes differs greatly from small desktop racks to huge floor-standing bodies. The most common sizes are 18U (for small systems), 24U-32U (for average-sized IT systems), and 36U (for big sets). The 42U server rack is the biggest and the most spacious one. This model is placed in isolated data centers and allows for housing hundreds of devices.
Reasons to Use Open-Frame Bodies for Server Accommodation
Experts point out the following benefits of using open-frame constructions for network system arrangement:
- Cable management. Technicians can wire cords as they want to achieve higher convenience and ergonomics. Enclosed cabinets have specialized slots for stretching wires, which means that it is impossible to develop your own routes. Open constructions provide full freedom of choice of how and where to lay cables. Thus, the staff can make cable maps on their own.
- Airflow. Unhindered air circulation is the main advantage of open bodies. IT hardware emits too much heat when performing computing and processing tasks. Thus, the temperature inside cabinets rises instantly, which is why cooling strategies for environmental monitoring are applied. The absence of walls and doors allows the air to freely penetrate the rack body and exchange heat, which eliminates the need to install fans and other ventilation tools.
- Easy access. The maintenance staff can approach equipment from four sides and easily replace, repair, or check components. Even if side panels are attached, they are removable, so it’s not a problem to take them off.
- Cost-effectiveness. The price of open racks is lower since less material is used for its production. Thus, customers do not overpay for metal parts. They get quality ergonomic solutions for their data centers.
- Quick installation. Technicians do not face problems when assembling and disassembling racks. Constructions are easy to install and equipped with manuals for step-by-step assembly. One person can cope with assembly in half an hour.
The chance to install side panels and doors allows for making this type of furniture more secure and protecting hardware from damage and pollution. However, this feature limits the area of installation. An open-frame network rack is advantageous over enclosed in the following cases:
- in an already secured server room. Open bodies cannot secure devices from all sorts of external impacts (access, damage, pollution, etc.). Thus, it is reasonable to mount models in secured premises, where all the security measures are taken. Isolated rooms are the best option for rack installation.
- when racks need to be placed side by side. Placing furniture side by side leads to increased heat accumulation as a consequence of the close distance between cabinets. If sidewalls are added, it will only increase the temperature, resulting in quick overheating. The absence of side panels allows for coping with the cooling issue. No barrier to air circulation exists. Thus, if you place several racks next to each other, the airflow can pass through all of them, ensuring sufficient cooling. It is a convenient and effective solution for big data centers.
- in a room with limited space. Racks are more compact and do not require much space, which makes them perfect for small premises. 2-post models are the most appropriate models for small systems to be located in limited premises. Enclosed cabinets are bulky and require much area for setup.
Specialists organize IT systems by housing hundreds of components on multi-level racks. The specifics of construction dictate some restrictions for rack installation. Yet, experienced administrators prefer to choose such models when dealing with isolated premises, they serve as the most ergonomic and accessible option.
Open frames provide lots of opportunities and benefits, including easy access, perfect cooling, quick mounting, and easy optimization. It is important to pick a suitable model that will please your demand and be able to accommodate all types of hardware. If you cope with the task successfully, the rack won’t cause any problems and simplify network system arrangement, setup, maintenance, and customization.