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Server Cabinets Buying Guide


There are many things to be considered before purchasing a Server Rack and this article is meant to be used as a basic guide to Server Cabinets.


Server Cabinet Dimensions




Server and Data Racks are often ordered by their internal U height a standard measurement typically used for rackount equipment. One U is equal to 1.75 inches or 44.45mm high. This height measurement is used on the 19inch mounts to indicate how many units the cabinet can accommadate. The most popular height cabinet is 42U but range from 12U to 47U although shorter and taller versions are available usually by special order.


The U height of all the equipment you intend to put into the Server Cabinet should be totalled up as a starting point. If you then have equipment which is not rackmnountable then these should be measured and along with the shelving it will sit on be added to the total.


You should also consider leaving room between units which can be filled by Blank Panels or Cable management panels. This room allows easier access to the front of the equipment and helps with  ventilation.


It is also worthwhile if the room size allows it increasing the height of the Server Rack for  expansion as this can save a lot of time and effort in exchanging to a larger cabinet in the future.


Once you have decided on the internal height required you should consider the location where the cabinets are to be housed. Although the U height is a set standard the overall external height of a  cabinet can vary between manufacturer.


How the Cabinets are to be sited should also be considered as the height of adjustable feet, Castors or Plinths needs to be taken into account and added to the overall height.


Finally even if the Server Rack will fit into the room the route to it should be considered. If you believe that the cabinet will need to be taken apart and reassembled at any point then this should be mentioned when ordering as some cabinet frames are welded which means that this is not possible.




The most common widths of Server Cabinets are 600mm and 800mm. These are nominal widths and the actual dimensions vary slightly between manufacturers.


The 800mm wide Cabinets tend to be used where a lot of cable management is required as the extra width allows their routing much easier. Quite often the 800 wide racks will be used for the termination of the Data Cabling and a 600wide Rack for the active equipment but this is down to customer preference and the space allocated to house the Cabinets.


In both widths of server Cabinets the 19inch mounts are usually fitted centrally within the Rack. This means that especially with the 800mm wide racks the cables can be routed either side making it easier to manage and tidier in appearance.


Although 19 inch mounts are the most popluar way of installing equipment it also possible to either remove them totally or fit a reduced height set of mounts e.g. 27U mounts in a 47U high Cabinet. The reason for doing this may be because you have some wide equipment which needs to be housed on a full width shelf. 




The depth required has increased over the years and where once 800mm was considerd large 1000mm is common and 1200 is also available. The depth will be determined by the equipment being fitted which will vary by manufacturer.


The 19inch mounts which are usually fitted in the front and rear of Server Cabinets are set back from the doors by about 100mm. Although the mounts can be adjusted it is normal to allow a reasonble gap to make room for cables that may protrude from the front of equipment. 


When considering the overall depth you should take into account the width of the doors as these will need to be swung open to acces the Rack. If room is at a premium then double doors can be fitted which halves the room required when open.


Again the overall external dimension of a rack can vary between manufacturer and should be checked if room is limited.




The total load weight should be calculated as the rating of cabinets can vary. It is easy for the weight being installed to creap up as more quipment is added especially when items such as UPSs are installed.


As well as the actual cabinets load rating you should consider the rating of the items the cabinet sits on such as castors, adjustable feet or plinths.


If items are to be installed onto shelving the load rating of the shelf should also be checked.


Heat Management


The overall heat generated by the servers and other equipment fitted, along with the locations

ambient temperature should be taken into consideration before deciding the ventilation and temperature control options required.


Cabinets can be fitted with glass doors with side ventilation or with a mesh steel door with allows greater airflow. If security is not an issue then doors and side panels can be left off to maximise ventilation.Tops are normally ventilated which is particulary important if roof fans are fitted. 


If further cooling is required then there are a range of options from simple roof fans to air conditiong and remote management.




Careful consideration should be given to the size and weight of the cabinet being delivered along with its final location and the route through the building to reach it. Bear in mind that the largest server Cabinets can be over 7ft tall 3ft square and weigh over 100 KGs.


The Courier we use will with its standard service if access allows bring the cabinet into Goods In or a Ground floor reception from where it is the customers resposibility to take to its final location.


For an additional charge they will site the cabinet into its final location as long as access allows and that it is possible to do so with out breaking it down.


If you believe the cabinet needs to be broken down and then reassembled on site this needs to be arranged prior to shipment. 


Server Cabinet Accessories


There are a whole range of accessories for Server Racks some of which are listed below.

  • Castors, Adjustable Feet, Plinth Kits
  • Fans, Roof, 19inch
  • Power Rails, Earth Kits
  • Shelving, Fixed, Sliding
  • Ring Runs, Blank Panels, Cable Trays
  • Fixings, Cage Nuts, Bolts

Please contact us if you would like to discuss any requirements you may have for Server Cabinets.


The above article is meant as a guide only and The Net Exchange cannot not be held responsible for any liabilities due to the use of this information.



 T & C s