The job of a network engineer involves setting up the hardware and software necessary for the network to run properly.
Both aspects of this job are very sensitive, and the bigger the network, the higher the stakes.
When you set up your network room for your organization, you want it to be something that will serve you at least for the next decade.
Setting up these rooms costs money and time and it’s not very easy or convenient to relocate the network room.
Physically moving the components is difficult, reconfiguring the software is challenging, and the downtime that the company will have to face is also not that attractive either.
Network requirements for large businesses can take up a lot of space. They can occupy a complete shelf, a wall, a room, a floor, or even a complete building.
Racks play an important role in setting up and managing the hardware necessary for a network. This is one of the most important physical components of network management. Here is how you can choose the right rack for your needs.
Network rack heights are generally classified in ‘RU’ units.
A single RU unit is 1.75 inches and the total number of RU units determines the overall height of the rack. If you have a rack with 100 RU, it will be 175 inches tall.
When selecting a rack system it is recommended that you get it slightly taller than you need because you can always add shelves and make use of the extra space but you can’t increase the height of the rack itself.
If you have a row of racks that have extra space above or below them, you would be wasting a lot of space in that room.
Covering as much space between the floor and the roof will help you maximize the available space. Some network racks are mounted directly to the sealing because there isn’t enough space on the floor.
In other cases, the rack is installed on the floor and there are other things on top of it. In either case, you need to figure out exactly how much space you have available because this is something that cannot be modified later.
Another good option is to get racks with heights in a certain proportion of each other. For instance, if you have 100 inches of vertical space, you can get 4 25-inch tall racks. This way you can install one at a time as you need and eventually make use of the entire 100 inches of available space.
Another consideration is the depth of the rack system.
This will be determined by the size of the devices and components that you want to install in the rack and also how easy it is to access different areas of the rack.
All rack systems will give you access from the front, but not all rack types and sizes give you access from the back.
Those that do have access from both sides can have a greater depth because you can essentially use it as a double-sided rack and you can store a lot more stuff. In some cases, for instance, if you just want to install a few small switchboards, having a big depth can be useless as the hardware itself is small.
In other situations, you might have small devices but you have a lot of wiring and this wiring also needs support. Having racks with the right depth will give your devices and wiring more support, and it can be easier to handle. Getting the wrong depth can be a real problem because it can mean that the entire rack is not usable for the kind of hardware that you have. Also, look at the available space in the area and get something that is an inch or two smaller so you have enough room for wiring. Getting a rack that is the exact size of the space will mean that there is no room to run wires through, and it can also be quite difficult to get the rack in and out of that space.
Width is also important because you want to make the most of the horizontal space available in the room.
When setting up a network room simply measure the total length of the room and see how many racks you can install to maximize the available area.
The most common rack width is 19-inches, but you can get bigger or smaller racks depending on your needs. Like the depth of the rack, this is something that cannot be modified or upgraded later on, so it’s important you get this right the first time around.
Ideally, you should know the size of the equipment that you want to install so that you can get something that will fit all the components and not waste room on the sides.
Even if you are to lose a couple of inches on each shelf of the rack, it quickly adds up. Just a couple of inches works out to a lot of volume on each shelf, and when you multiply that by the height, you are losing a lot of space. If you have multiple racks in the room which have extra space on each shelf, you could have wasted a big proportion of the available space.
Network racks are commonly available in 2-post and 4-post formats.
The 2 post format is common in situations where the installed hardware is light, and the rack casing provides stability to the shelves.
4 post racks offer more stability and are better suited to larger rack systems that will house a lot more hardware and will need a higher weight-bearing capacity. In terms of durability, both designs are good.
The main thing to see is what will be more suitable for the kind of hardware that you want to use.
Lastly, also consider the height of the individual shelves within the rack.
This will determine how much space you have on each level, both vertically and horizontally. In some rack systems, you can customize the height of each shelf so that you can have different-sized components in the same rack.
An important consideration when setting up a network rack is the wiring configuration.
Make sure you have a rack that not only has enough space for the devices but can also comfortably manage the wiring and cabling that is connected to those devices.