Equipment enclosures are versatile in many environments

Dec. 1, 2016
Suppliers of high-end enclosures for data centers also offer products for other applications and environments.

By Patrick McLaughlin

The data center is an ecosystem and in some ways a world in and of itself, as we have reported and opined in several ways over the years. The communications network within a data center is more demanding, in just about every aspect, than a communications network in any other environment. As such, the equipment that houses and protects networking equipment in a data center must exhibit characteristics that are not necessary in other networking environments.

Equipment enclosures are an example. This article will look at enclosure products available from providers that serve the data center environment as well as other environments, emphasizing the different attributes and characteristics of these products when they are aimed at different computing environments. Specifically, several providers of data center enclosures recently debuted products designed for industrial-networking environments.

Siemon began offering this Wall Mount Cabinet in April. The company says the cabinet saves floor space while providing a cost-effective means to secure and protect network equipment from dust, tampering and other hazards in a range of applications.

Data center and industrial networking

For example, Siemon (www.siemon.com) offers the VersaPod series of data center cabinets, whose value proposition includes the ability to efficiently manage space, and cabling, in the data center. “By leveraging the vertical space between bayed cabinets and at the end of row for zero-U patching, cable management and power distribution, VersaPod frees critical horizontal equipment mounting space for equipment and provides a dedicated, high-capacity and easily managed cabling zone,” the company explains. Among VersaPod’s features are dedicated cabling pathways, cable access points, vertical cable-management trays, cable-management fingers, zero-U vertical cable management channels, and end-of-row cable managers. The product line also accommodates thermal management via features including vertical exhaust ducts, high-flow doors, and rear-cooling doors among others.

“Physical space is one of the most important considerations in the data center infrastructure,” Siemon points out. “How will you fit everything you need today? What happens when you have to add more tomorrow?” VersaPod is the company’s answer to those questions.

Stepping outside the data center to the different-but-no-less-important demands of an industrial networking environment, Siemon recently introduced a NEMA Type 1 wall-mount cabinet that the company says saves users space as well as money. Brought to market in April, the Wall Mount Cabinet “saves valuable floor space while providing a cost-effective means to secure and protect network equipment from dust, tampering and other hazards in a wide range of applications.”

The cabinet is an EIA/ECA-310-compliant NEMA Type 1 enclosure “that features fully integrated and adjustable vertical cable management for properly routing patch cords and cables, and an adjustable mounting rail system to support any standard 19-inch rack-mountable equipment,” Siemon said when introducing it. “With a right- or left-hinged locking back plate design that offers easy rear access to equipment and wiring, it is ideal as a mini telecommunications room or for remote network distribution and consolidation points in open, unprotected spaces such as warehouses, retail facilities and schools.”

The Ortronics Mighty Mo Wall Mount Cabinet series from Legrand features cable management to support and organize cables, ensure proper cable management for minimum distortion and maximize network performance, according to the company.

It is compliant with UL 60950 safety standards and has a load capacity of 91 kilograms (200 pounds). It is available in 12U, 18U and 24U sizes and in depths of 24 or 30 inches. The front door can be Plexiglas, solid, or vented.

From Legrand’s Ortronics brand (www.legrand.us/ortronics), the LX cabinet system “is a comprehensive platform designed to address the most-demanding enterprise data center applications with superior modular cable management and scalable airflow management, simplified access and engineered integration with copper and fiber connectivity to maximize network uptime,” the company says. “Innovative cable management in the LX cabinet system reduces tension at the connection point, while supporting the weight of the cables to protect connection,” Legrand notes. “The LX cabinet platform allows for moves, adds and changes, creating a system that is easy to use and saves valuable time. Tool-less features, including air dams, vertical cable managers, all panels, overhead mounting brackets and security hinges allow for quick changes as well as reduced time on installation and removal.

“To maximize density, the LX offers up to 52U and front-to-rear cable managers,” Legrand continues. “The cabinet has the ability to manage 10G copper applications and offers passive and active cooling solutions with capabilities up to 30 kw, demonstrating optimized rack unit space.”

For environments other than data centers, Legrand offers the Mighty Mo Wall Mount Cabinet series, which the company says features “cable management to support and organize cables, ensuring proper cable management for minimum distortion and maximum network performance.” The cabinet can be mounted to open to the left or to the right, and a locking center section swings out to provide access to the equipment housed within it.

The Mighty Mo Wall Mount Cabinet includes a pair of adjustable 12-24 EIA mounting rails. Fifty-cfm cooling fans are available to further protect active equipment, Legrand adds. Cable knockout plates are standard on the cabinet’s bottom rear, and brush cable entry plates are standard on the top rear. A three-inch hole with cap is standard on the top and bottom rear.

Going new places

Chatsworth Products Inc. (CPI; www.chatsworth.com) offers a number of enclosure product lines for data center networks, including the TeraFrame family, which the company describes as “highly configurable.” The TeraFrame series supports Chatsworth’s Passive Cooling Solutions as well as its aisle-containment solutions. They have a static load rating of up to 1360 kg (3000 pounds), with 19-inch rack-mount rails as well as a “broad selection of thermal, cable and power management and distribution accessories,” the company says.

The TeraFrame family comprises three series of cabinets: F-Series TeraFrame Gen 3; F-Series TeraFrame HD; and N-Series TeraFrame Gen 3.

In October CPI introduced the RMR Industrial Enclosures, which it characterizes as “advanced storage solutions engineered with cutting-edge sealing technology that are certified to meet NEMA 12 and IEC IP 55 protection ratings, and feature extensive equipment mounting options.”

Chatsworth pronounces the RMR product line “armor,” indicative of the cabinets’ toughness in unfriendly environments. The company explains, “RMR enclosures are UL Type 12 Listed and IP 55 Classified, which verify that equipment is protected from the intrusion of foreign objects such as dirt, dust, lint and fibers, as well as noncorrosive liquid ingress such as light dripping and splashing.”

They are available in three configurations. The RMR Modular Enclosure features a freestanding design and is available with a range of door, side and top panel options. The RMR Fixed Wall-Mount Enclosure features integrated top and bottom grand plates and easy adjustment of panels or 19-inch EIA rails. The RMR Swing Wall-Mount Enclosure is designed for placing network equipment into harsh environments.

Chatsworth Products Inc. describes its new RMR Industrial Enclosures as advanced storage solutions engineered with cutting-edge sealing technology that meet NEMA 12 and IEC IP 55 protection ratings.

When CPI introduced the product set, senior product manager Sam Rodriguez commented, “Technology is being deployed everywhere, and the equipment is going into places it was never intended to be located. Our customers have relied on CPI to provide high-performance solutions to support their critical network infrastructure for years; so, as networks continue to expand into industrial spaces, it is only logical for us to expand our portfolio to continue offering the same level of support in these less-than-ideal locations.”

A recent product introduction from Black Box echoes the sentiments of CPI’s Rodriguez about technology being deployed in new places. The line of Mobile Open Racks hold “up to 1500 pounds of IT, test, diagnostic, and other electrical equipment,” the company said when introducing the racks. “Engineers, developers, technicians, and designers can now clean up their desks and labs and store IT equipment neatly under their workstations. When it’s time to work, users can just wheel the rack out. When done, they can wheel the rack back.”

The 19-inch racks with m6 rails are designed to hold servers, network switches, power distribution units, uninterruptible power supplies, KVM switches, and other rack-mountable equipment. “The heavy-duty racks are constructed of 14-gauge steel and feature double casters, which roll smoothly over thresholds, uneven floors, carpets, and rough surfaces,” Black Box said. “Users can choose from 2-post racks, which hold 1000 pounds, or 4-post racks, which hold 1500 pounds of equipment.

Joey Bernardo, Black Box infrastructure product manager, explained, “We developed these racks in house for our own use. We couldn’t find any that were strong enough to stand up to daily use and abuse, so we designed our own. Because we actually use the racks, we know exactly what engineers and developers need and designed the racks to be practical, durable, and easy to roll.”

Patrick McLaughlin is our chief editor.

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