Tips for setting up your new rack!

by Brad on May 05, 2020

Choosing the right server rack or 19” amplifier road case can be a tricky task. Here’s a little secret, it's not as complicated as you might think. Let's take a look at a step by step way to find the right rack for you.

Step 1: Choose your style of server rack

If you’re looking for server racks, there are 3 different styles;

  1. Open Rack
  2. Floor Standing (Closed rack)
  3. Wall Mounted (Closed rack)

The different types of Server Racks

 

Road Cases

There are many different types of road cases, below you can see two road cases, first up we have our 8RU on castors filled with an assortment of our 19" rackmount accessories.  You'll see our Titan AV 19" 2RU Patch Panel 24 Channel,  2RU Steel Drawer, 2RU Power Rack 12 way and a 2RU SAE audio amplifier.  

Rack Mount Road Case

Here's our Titan AV Workstation 19" Mixer Rack Road Case with Drawer, this case gives you 12RU of rack space under the 2 drawers it already features.  If you’ve got yourself a road case with 19” RU spaces these steps will work for you!

Rack Mount Workstation

 

Step 2: Get Your Dimensions

You’ll want to look at the dimensions of each piece of gear you’re going to be installing in your rack.  Its essential to make sure your gear is smaller than the internal dimensions of the rack.  Also keep in mind you might need to allow for some room if you're pluggin cables into the back of your rack mounted equipment.

Server rack dimensions

If you have a piece of 19” rack mountable gear, that's great! You know that will fit because 19” racks are an industry standard size.  Some gear might come with additional accessories called rack ears to make it compatible for 19” racking.

The depth of your server rack or roadcase plays a big part in what will fit.

Check your dimensions

For example, let's say you have a power conditioner that is 350mm deep it is definitely not going to fit into a 300mm deep server rack or if your audio power amplifier is 300mm deep it won't fit into a 285mm half depth case.

It may seem obvious but when you’re setting up a rack for the first time details like this can get missed. (That’s why we’re going through this step by step process!)

Step 3: Draw it out

You don’t have to be an artist.  Just grab yourself a piece of paper or your ipad and draw yourself a box.

The box represents the front of your rack.  You’ve probably got a good idea already what you’re going to put in your rack, so now all you have to do is doodle in your gear.

RACK UNITS: Your equipment is measured in terms of rack units (usually written as "RUs") with 1RU counting 3 vertical mounting holes equal to 44 millimetres (1.75 inches) in height. You’ll need to know how many RU spaces your equipment will take up so you know what RU size rack you need.

Here’s an example 

Planning your Server Rack with a sketch

Like I said, you don’t have to be an artist!

Step 4: Air flow

Some of your sensitive equipment might need sufficient airflow to operate to its full potential.  By leaving the odd RU space vacant you may find your airflow increases a bit.

If that doesn’t do the job you might need some fans to assist the flow.  There are a few different variations of fans, rack mount fans that suck the air up and out, rack mount fans that suck the air out the front or back of your rack and fans that are drilled into the top of your rack (these fans designed for fully enclosed server racks)

Titan AV rack mount fans

Step 5: Future-proofing

With technology changing and your needs changing, always keep in mind that the one 1RU cantilever shelf you allocated for space can quite quickly turn into the need for two shelves.  The one network switch you’ve got now might need to be updated/upgraded sooner than you realized, you might need to add another hard drive, audio amplifier, DSP processor, you get the point!

Some questions to ask yourself when future-proofing;

  • Should I get a rack that is an extra couple of RU bigger in case I need the space later?
  • Do I have room/space for a bigger rack just in case I need to add some equipment later?

I’m not saying you definitely need a bigger server rack, I’m just saying things change over time and if you can set yourself up for the future now, go for it (wow, that just got pretty deep)!

Step 6: Double check

Once you’ve gone over steps 1 through to 5, go over them once more. Double check you’ve got enough RU space for all your gear, possible future gear and air flow if needed. Make sure none of your equipment is deeper than the rack you have chosen.

All the dimensions for our server racks are on the product page of the rack or case you’re looking at. Please feel free if you have any questions or are unsure to send us an email at sales@vfmgroup.com.au or give us a call on (07) 3423 3463.

For more information on server racks check out some of our other blogs about server racks

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