Not so many years ago, network closets, server rooms and data centers were designed from a “room to rack” standpoint. Deciding specifically where to store your technology typically came later in the design process. However, rapid technology refresh cycles, the need to rackmount more equipment and the desire for increased cooling capacities in an enclosed rack (known as an enclosure), have all begun to reverse that trend. Today, IT professionals are designing these critical workspaces with more of a “rack to room” methodology.
Traditionally, any structural support used to rackmount equipment was appropriately called a rack whether it was a two- or four-post structure. As time progressed and form factors of servers, network, storage, and power equipment have changed, the terms enclosure and cabinet also came into the mix as four-post racks were enclosed with front and rear doors and side panels.
This handbook is meant to help you choose, organize, and manage your racks and enclosures. As such, we will refer to them only as racks and enclosures throughout. In an effort to help you make the best selection for your requirements, we’ll cover some of the components within racks and enclosures as well as some tips on deploying them. Everything is interconnected, so the more you plan in advance, the better prepared you will be. For instance, it is important not to overlook power and data cables. Tangled cables can cause downtime or impede productivity, and the more racks and enclosures you are deploying, the more important an effective cable management strategy becomes.