The layout of equipment in a server or network rack should take into account the safety of equipment and personnel, as well as management efficiency.
Server Rack Equipment Layout Best Practices
Servers, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), and other equipment can be very heavy. It is important to place heavier equipment in the lower part of the rack. This reduces the risk of injury to administrators when installing equipment. Even with a motorized lift, heavy equipment should not be placed near the top -- taller racks can easily tip over when servers are pulled out of the rack from the rails, damaging equipment and potentially injuring people.
Network equipment within server racks should be mounted in the upper part of the cabinet to simplify cable management. Lightweight, low-touch devices should be placed closest to the top. Obviously, human-machine interfaces such as keyboards should be accessible at a comfortable working height.
Network Rack Equipment Layout Best Practices
Network racks contain routers, switches, and other network equipment. They're usually not as deep as server racks, and the equipment they contain isn't as heavy. Typically, network racks are open two-post or four-post racks that are secured to the floor to prevent tipping. Although network racks contain different equipment than server racks, the same equipment layout best practices apply. Equipment needs to be easily accessible by administrators, and heavy equipment should be placed near the bottom of the rack.
A key consideration in a network rack setup is cable management. Equipment in a network rack typically has more cables than equipment in a standard server rack. Proper cable management must be considered to ensure the equipment is performing at its peak capacity. Ideally, equipment is placed to minimize the length of cables, thereby reducing costs and preventing overcrowding. In our last article, we touched on some key network rack cable management tips.
Network and server rack setup enhancements
Mounting the device in the correct location is the first step. Next, it's important to consider accessories that can optimize your server or network rack setup.
Proper cable management is critical. Typically, a data center has hundreds of racks and cabinets with various equipment and cables. Following data center cable management best practices and using cable management accessories can help. Some cable managers have "fingers" for routing, which may be single or double-sided; others have rings. Vertical cable managers and conduits are used to run cables from the lower part of the rack to the upper part, and horizontal cable managers are used for cables that need to be routed left and right.
Promoting effective airflow is important for all IT equipment, but is absolutely critical for enclosed racks and cabinets, where air can easily become trapped. Without adequate airflow, you risk overheating and shutdown of your equipment
Shelves are a handy addition to equipment that is not directly rack mounted. Sliding shelves pull out for easy access to equipment. However, be careful to consider the weight of the rack versus the weight of the equipment before buying. Some shelves are designed to be heavier than others.