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Server Cabinets

When should I use a server cabinet for my installation?

There is not a particular installation type where a server cabinet must be used. It is really up to the network infrastructure you want to create, secure, and support. Server cabinets are used in various commercial and residential network installation types. Many people choose to install their equipment in a cabinet because they can lock the equipment inside where it is protected and secured. Many people make huge investments in their network and the equipment they use within it. Plus they depend on that equipment to perform and run consistently. So a server cabinet is used to protect that investment. For most home owners and business owners it just makes more sense to ensure their equipment is more secure. Plus they often appreciate the organized professional look that comes with a full enclosure installation.

What should we look for when buying the best server cabinet?

Buying the best server cabinet is not easy. It is best to plan your systems and choose the best cabinet that will support current and future needs. Look at all the variables that are equipment related and chose the one that best supports your infrastructure. Always account for growth when buying a cabinet. We guarantee your network and systems will grow as technology advances and equipment is made bigger, better, and faster. Most of the best server cabinets on the market come with a 5 year or lifetime warranty, which is a good sign that a manufacturer is standing by their equipment. Made in America is also another good sign that the cabinet will be supported throughout its life span.

What type of equipment can I put into an enclosure?

Don’t let the word “server” in “server cabinet” fool you. There is much more to a network than just a server. The equipment you can put inside a cabinet is really limitless. Since most technology equipment used in a home or business is network driven, the server cabinet is a great place to house all your electronic equipment. So it is not uncommon for people to not only install their server and networking equipment in the enclosure, but also all the equipment that supports their security, surveillance, sounds, home automation, fiber-optic, and video systems. Besides electronic equipment, most well planned cabinets will also include patch panels, cable management, rack shelves, trays, and other components that help support the overall organization of equipment installed in a cabinet.

Is a server cabinet better than an open server rack?

Neither one is better than the other. It really depends on the application. If your equipment is located in a high traffic area and exposed to the public than maybe an enclosure is the best solution because you have the ability to lock and secure everything! If you have a dedicated room where your equipment is housed than maybe an open standalone network rack is best for you. There are many factors like cost, size of network, design of system, size of equipment, amount of equipment, network location, and complexity of the systems that will play a role in the decision making process. There may also be numerous factors that are specific to your business or personal needs that will be a part of the planning process. The bottom line is that a network installation and/or electronic systems installation needs to be well planned before being procured and installed.

What does a server cabinet or enclosure come with?

Every cabinet is different so it is important to read the specifications and fine print of the cabinet you want to choose. The truth is that every manufacturer is different. Most cabinets come with a rail system to mount equipment in the cabinet, leveling feet, side and rear panels, and a door. Some manufacturers force you to buy the fans, cage nuts, and rack screws separately. Every cabinet should provide clear documentation of the parts it comes with. Most high quality enclosures require 10-32 rack screws and cage nuts to mount equipment inside on their internal rail system. Often the screws that come with the rack mount products like patch panels and rack shelves will not work with an enclosure so it is always a good idea to buy a bag of rack screws that are designed for use with the cabinet you chose. This will ensure there are no issues on the day of your installation.

Does a server cabinet ship already assembled?

At Cabling Plus all of our enclosure products ship assembled. So there is no assembly required. Once you receive your enclosure all you have to do is unwrap it and place it in its desired location. Then you can immediately start installing hardware and equipment inside it.

How do I run my network cables into a server cabinet?

All cabinets have numerous cable knock-outs that are used to route cables in and out of the enclosure. These channels are protected so the cables are not damaged as they enter and exit the cabinet. The knock-outs are usually in different corners of the cabinet so you have flexibility when managing and organizing cables.

What are the dimensions of a network enclosure?

They are all different. Some are taller, deeper, and wider than others. The purpose of this is to have a product to support small, medium, and large servers or other different sized electronic equipment. Some servers require more depth than others. And some networks need more rack mount spaces than others. It is important to evaluate the amount of equipment you are putting in a cabinet, and the dimensions of those products. Once you have that information it will be much easier to choose the right cabinet to support your needs.

How do I get behind my equipment once it is mounted in the cabinet?

The best server cabinets will have removable and lockable side panels and rear panel, along with a reversible and lockable door. This means you have 180 degree access to your equipment. This makes it easy to access all areas of your network infrastructure. You will also want to place your cabinet in an area where technicians can get on any side needed to remove a panel and perform work. Some people choose to put their cabinets on casters which are wheels that allow them to move the cabinet in any direction to create more space to perform work. Having access to your equipment is vital to the success of an installation and future maintenance of a network.

What is a rack mount space?

A Rack Mount Space (RMS) is usually how a rack or enclosure’s height is measured. It explains the number of rack mount spaces you have to install equipment. One rack unit uses the industry standard 1.75 inches or 44.5mm’s high. So if you see an enclosure and it says it has 45 rack mount spaces, then you know it holds just over 6 feet of equipment. Each rack mount space can be identified as a hole on the rack or rail system in a cabinet. The rack mount spaces are used to attach devices and components to the enclosure via rack screws. A common rack shelf or patch panel many only take a single rack mount space, where a server may take up to 6 rack mount spaces. All rack mount products will clearly document in their specifications the number of rack mount space they will take up when installed in a cabinet.

What are the different door types available with a network cabinet?

The best server cabinets will provide a reversible and lockable door that is either made of some type of glass or heavy duty mesh material. The reversible door feature allows you to have the door open in either direction. This is a nice to have just in case you need to place your cabinet in an area where the door will be obstructed by walls, other doors, or other cabinets. The door on a professional grade enclosure must be durable enough to ensure the equipment is protected.

How do I mount my equipment in a server cabinet?

Many electronic devices and components are already rack mountable. Meaning they have built in rack mount holes or integrated brackets that will simple attach to the rail system in the enclosure. For some devices you have to buy separate rack mount ears to attach the device prior to installing it in the enclosure. And for some equipment they are just not rack mountable, which means you will have to buy rack shelves and simply set the equipment on the shelf after it is installed in the cabinet. Most devices will come with rack screws but they may not be the right size for your cabinet. So you may have to buy a bag of rack screws that are made for the enclosure you buy. This will ensure there are no delays in your installation. All server cabinets and rack mountable products should clearly document the screw size they need in an installation. The whole configuration on rack mountable products are always bigger to provide flexibility, so just focus on buying the rack screws that are required for use with the cabinet you buy.

How can I increase the air flow in a network cabinet?

One of the main purposes of buying a server cabinet is for the ability to control the temperature of the environment. If the area is overly warm that you may want to choose the enclosure that uses a mesh type of door, or uses vented side and rear panels. If heat is still an issue you can choose the cabinet that has a fan, and if that does not work you can just add more fans. The best server cabinets on the market will give you the options to add more fans if needed. Some manufactures ship their enclosures with fans included and some do not. If the fans are not pre-installed then the enclosure will have numerous knock out areas where fans can be easily installed. Installing a fan is really just entails a few screws and plugging in a power cord.

How do I get power into the cabinet?

There is no doubt you will need plenty of power inside your server cabinet. Most people will run one power cord into the cabinet that will be used to power some type of power strip. There are numerous vertical and horizontal rack mount power strips available for installation in an enclosure. These rack mountable power strips will be robust enough to support all the power you need. Plus they will have a built in circuit breaker with surge suppression to protect your equipment from any power issues.

Is there special rack shelves needed for inside a server cabinet?

Most standard 2 and 4 post rack shelves will fit into a server cabinet. There is nothing different between the shelves used in an open rack system and the ones used in a cabinet. Rack shelves instead are specifically designed to support different sizes of equipment that have different weight requirement. Most heavy servers will require a 4 post shelf that is designed to support the heaviest of equipment that is installed in a cabinet.  At Cabling Plus we offer the entire line of ICC Rack Shelves and VMP Rack Shelves. 

How can I install a monitor in my cabinet?

Installing a monitor in your server cabinet is very simple. You can buy a monitor and a rack mount kit so you can mount the monitor flush onto the rail system inside a cabinet, or you can simply set a monitor on top of a rack shelf installed in the cabinet. Besides rack mounting a monitor it is also very popular to buy a keyboard tray that mounts inside the enclosure. Most keyboard trays will only take up a simple rack mount space, and will feature a pull out tray that will not only support a keyboard but also a mouse. Now you have everything you need to maintain and manage your network equipment!