White paper preaches critical nature of data center rack enclosures

Document by Emerson Network Power stresses that selections should be made based on flexibility and adaptability.

A new white paper from Emerson Network Power is titled “Data Center Rack Systems: Key to Business-Critical Continuity,” and makes the case for how vital rack enclosures are to data center operations. “At one time, data center rack enclosures and related equipment were considered commodity products—simply a platform to stack equipment, with more enclosures purchased as servers and rack-mount equipment were added to the IT inventory,” the paper’s executive summary says. “Today, even though the sophistication and criticality of the data center has soared, some may still assume that because a rack enclosure isn’t electronic, it’s a modest piece of furniture. In reality, rack enclosures are highly engineered equipment that can enhance the efficiency of supported equipment, and improve the productivity of data center personnel.”

The paper begins by sizing up the current environment in many data centers and how that environment is affecting these facilities’ requirements of enclosures. “High-density configurations … increase cabling density,” the paper says. “As more power is delivered to more circuits within a rack, additional required cabling adds the potential to create obstructions within the rack, which can make heat removal more difficult. This also reduces access to equipment. Racks must position and route cabling correctly and provide ready access to equipment.”

In addition to discussing the current trend of racks becoming taller and wider, the paper details the following nine enclosure characteristics could or should demonstrate flexibility and adaptability.

  • Weight capacity
  • Rail lengths
  • Doors
  • Side panels
  • Roof
  • Grounding
  • Securing racks
  • Accessories
  • IT equipment support

In its conclusion, the white paper says, “When well-designed and properly selected, racks are a cornerstone of system uptime … Not all racks are created equal. Rack selections should be based on flexibility and adaptability to deliver reliability and lower the total cost of ownership over time.”

You can download the white paper directly from Emerson Network Power here.

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