rack installation

The best equipment rack for the type of installation

There are many different types of equipment racks on the market, and each one is used for a specific purpose. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of equipment racks and what they are used for.

It is important to understand the variables involved when preparing a rack-installation. Electronic system demands can evolve as well, so plan what could be needed for a future timeframe.

U space dimensions, widths, accessories, and type of application are important metrics. Additionally, racks also protect your equipment from damage.

They are made from durable materials that can withstand extreme usage, and when the equipment is well organized, fewer problems are prone to occur.

We summarize below all the necessary information that you should know before making the decision. We will also provide some tips on choosing the right rack for all types of installations. Let's get started!

U space dimensions

rack u space dimensions

Racks are a measurement of the height of rack systems. Using a 3-hole slot, it can measure 1.75 inches which is the equivalent of 1 rack unit.

Understanding the size of your space to be saved and ensuring all the parts fit. In a lot of cases, the air can be blocked by a blank sheet.

Racks have heights of 1U (one rack unit) and 90U (ninety rack units) so you can have several choices for residential, commercial, or data center applications.

There are three different types of widths

rack widths

There are many different types of rack widths on the market, and each one is used for a specific purpose. 19 inches, 23 inches, and 24 inches.

Where the 19-inch racks have become the industry standard because they offer the standard space for equipment installation.

The other two options are not as popular but can still be used depending on the application.

  • 24 inches is the width of a standard server.
  • 23 inches is the width of a blade server.
  • 19 inches is the width of an equipment rack.

Please note that the depth of the equipment, extra width available, and type of application also need to be considered to ensure that the equipment will fit in the rack.

Wall-mounted racks

wall rack

Racks can be mounted on walls to save extra space. This type of rack is perfect for small installations or when floor space is limited.

Wall-mounted racks are also great mounting options for areas where equipment needs to be accessed frequently.

When choosing a wall-mounted rack, it is important to consider the total weight of the equipment that will be installed since the rack must be able to support the weight of the equipment without compromising the stability of the structure while providing full functionality when encountering limited floor space.

Floor standing racks

floor racks

If looking for a great way to store equipment, look no further than floor-standing racks.

These racks are perfect for organizing and protecting the equipment, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit all types of needs. Here is everything to know about floor standing racks.

Fully pre-assembled/ enclosed racks

full rack

If looking for a complete, turn-key solution look no further than fully pre-assembled racks. These racks come with everything you need to get up and running quickly and easily, including:

  • All necessary PDUs and cabling
  • A variety of options for cooling, power, and security
  • A wide range of sizes and configurations to choose from

Whether looking for a simple solution or something more robust, pre-assembled racks most likely will fit your needs.

Open frame racks

open frame rack

Open frame racks provide a cost-effective way to store equipment. They offer many benefits over traditional enclosed racks, including improved cooling, generous airflow, and easier access to components.

Open frame racks are also more versatile since they can be configured to fit nearly any space. If you're looking for a cost-effective storage solution that offers easy access to your components, then an open-frame rack is a great option.

Please note that a rack with an open-frame design is at times very unsecured since anyone can gain access to network equipment and is not recommended to install one in a server room where more server racks are installed. However, it may be a functional solution if the only equipment to be installed is patch panels.

Industrial

industrial rack

There are many different types of industrial racks, each with its specific purpose. For example, some racks are designed for storing heavy components, while others are better suited for holding delicate electronic equipment.

No matter what type of industrial rack you need, there is sure to be one that meets your specific requirements.

They are typically made of steel or aluminum and have a wide variety of features that make them ideal for industrial applications even in harsh environments.

Quiet acoustic

acoustic rack

Acoustic racks are designed to reduce noise levels in the room. These racks have sound-dampening features that help to minimize noise from equipment fans and other sources.

These specially designed racks have a unique air-gap construction that virtually eliminates sound transmission. The result is a reduction in overall system noise by as much as 80%. Best of all, acoustic racks can be used in a variety of environments, including office spaces, call centers, data centers, libraries, home theaters, and other sound-sensitive applications.

In addition to reducing noise levels, acoustic racks can also improve equipment cooling. By dampening sound, these racks reduce air movement in the room, which can help to improve airflow and cooling efficiency.

Acoustic racks are an ideal solution for companies that are looking to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.

Server racks

server rack

Server racks are a versatile solution for any business that relies on servers to store or process data through network equipment and some other telecommunications equipment in a data center or business location. Without a properly designed and installed server rack, your business could be at risk of losing important data or suffering from downtime.

AV racks

av rack

When looking for a way to organize custom installed AV equipment, then an AV rack installation is the best option. AV racks come in all different shapes and sizes. AV racks can be small for a home theater system or a large rack for your commercial audio/visual setup.

AV racks are the perfect way to keep your equipment organized and tidy. They also help to protect your equipment from damage by keeping it off the floor and away from dust and dirt. Plus, if you ever need to move your equipment around other areas, AV racks make it easy to do so.

Additionally, AV racks keep unwanted hands moving pre-installed cables, professional calibrated pro audio, and everything more secure from unwanted visitors.

Specialty racks

specialty rack

For custom installations with more specific requirements, specialty rack and cabinet solutions can conceal, save space, or offer portability not available in floor or wall rack models.

These solutions provide a great way to organize and protect your A/V equipment while still allowing easy access.

Some specialty racks are designed for use in specific locations, such as under a stairway or in the corner of a room. Others offer unique features that make them perfect for certain types of equipment or applications.

Cabinet and inwall racks

For a more finished look, inwall and cabinet racks offer an attractive way to store equipment out of sight.

These solutions are perfect for custom installations or any situation where you need to save extra space and keep your equipment hidden.

Inwall racks are designed to be installed inside a wall cavity, while cabinet racks can be placed inside a wooden built-in cabinet.

Rotating rack systems

Rotating rack systems are the perfect way to organize and store equipment.

These racks are designed to slide out and then provide the ability to rotate up to 360 degrees, so you can easily access all of your equipment. Rotating rack systems come in a variety of sizes and styles depending on all the technical needs.

Rack accessories

Rack accessories are important items that can be added to a rack system to improve its functionality.

The most common rack accessory is the shelf, which can be used to store equipment or other objects.

Other popular rack accessories include shelves, fans, doors, side panels, bars, castors, rails, cable management bars, keyboard trays, and monitor mounts.

Shelves

Shelves are the most common rack accessory and are often used to store equipment or other objects. Shelves preferably should be perforated to improve airflow.

Additionally, a sliding shelf provides a flat surface with full product accessibility. It can be used in racks to support equipment that may not have its rackmount kit. Normally, the shelf and slides are preassembled for easy setup.

Fans

Fans are another popular rack accessory and are often used to improve airflow within the rack system.

Fans can be mounted on the front or rear of the rack, or they can be standalone units that sit on top of the rack.

Extractor Fans

Extractor fans are used to increase airflow through the rack cabinet. Fans improve natural convection cooling by increasing the airflow in the rack.

The use of the fan enhances the movement of warm air from the bottom of the rack up and out through the vented top cap, providing cooling to the entire length of the rack.

The extractor fans mount easily under the top cap into the top frame of the rack. They move air at 342 cubic meters per hour (200 cubic feet per minute). And best of all fans do not reduce the space available for rack mounting electronic components.

Fans are highly recommended for racks with a front door with a minimum of one fan per rack. And is also recommended to select an appropriate fan that fits the local AC voltage plug.

Doors

Doors are another popular rack accessory and are often used to improve security within the rack system.

Doors come in a wide variety of styles. The most common type is a glass door with a security lock that allows checking the service lights on all the installed equipment while also keeping security with sturdy locks that can only be open with the right access key.

Horizontal bars

Horizontal rack bars can be perforated or solid depending on the cooling and application requirements.

Panels

Panels are attached or installed onto the equipment rack, most often on the front using screws.

Panels can be in the form of blanks to separate equipment or they can come with a pre-configured design to house special equipment. Custom blanking panels are at times also used to hide sensitive equipment that can make the entire system collapse and therefore is concealed in the space behind the blank panels.

Rack Filler Panels

Spaces between electronic components on the front face of the rack cabinet can be filled with metal filler panels.

Rack filler panels provide an attractive system and eliminate dust from gathering on equipment.

Side panels

Side panels are rack accessories and can be used to improve security and airflow within the rack system. Plus, removable side panels allow easy access to all the components housed in the rack.

Mounting rails

Mounting rails are required to properly secure equipment into a rack. Rails can be mounted horizontally or vertically depending on the application requirements.

One of the most common applications of mounting rails is when installing a sliding tray is necessary.

Cable management bars

Cable management bars are used to route and manage cables within a rack system. Cable management bars can be mounted on the front or rear of the rack. The main purpose is to assist in concealing the excess cables by routing those cables throughout its design. Professional cable management is what makes equipment racks look sleek and clean.

Keyboard trays

A keyboard tray is a device that helps to position a keyboard at a comfortable height and angle. Keyboard trays are often used in conjunction with monitor mounts to create an ergonomic workstation.

Monitor mounts

A monitor mount is a device that helps to position a computer monitor at a comfortable height and angle. Monitor mounts are often used in conjunction with keyboard trays to create an ergonomic workstation.

This is especially helpful for situations where the IT department has to gain constant access to the hardware components as well as specific software and firmware features that can not be accessed remotely.

Work Surface

A work surface is stationary and is designed to remain securely in place. The work surface provides a convenient work shelf utility area at the front of the rack. It can be used as a writing space or to hold accessories.

Drawers

Rack drawers can be installed in the rack by using sliding rails and additional mounting hardware. Drawers help to keep manuals or spare cables close to where they are needed.

Casters

Casters are an optional rack accessory that can be used to improve the mobility of a rack system.

Caster wheels are always a beautiful addition to any equipment rack installation since sooner or later there is going to be a situation where easy access to the equipment rack may be necessary. Just remember, it is always highly recommended to install heavy-duty casters since weight capacity may vary over time.

Cable raceways

Cable raceways help organize exposed cables and wires running from a ceiling or walls into the rack enclosure.

Construction

Server racks are manufactured using heavy-grade aluminum and are coated with dark grey or black color. And when necessary, some more sturdy rack enclosures are manufactured using ionized metals to provide extra long-lasting durability.

Ballasts

Ballasts come in different weight ranges to provide anti-tip protection. Ballasts deter the cabinet from tipping forward if heavy slide-mounted devices are extended from the rack enclosure and the total weight capacity and the center of gravity of the rack enclosures are surpassed.

Ballasts provide an extra margin of safety to counteract the extra weight incurred when an accessory extends from the rack, such as a work surface.

Handles and Flange Kits

Handles and rack flanges are available for all rack cabinets. They find most useful on full-width modules or combinations of narrower modules locked together to form one module width.

Flanges secure the electronic components to the front mounting column of the rack. All flange kits attach to the components using pre-existing holes in the electronic component case.

However, flanges alone will not support the load capacity of electronic equipment in the rack cabinets. So, it is highly advisable to use the appropriate rails or slides to be purchased for support. Some electronic components are supplied with front handles as part of the selling price.

If required, handles and rack flanges can be supplied with most other electronic equipment for an added cost by specifying the appropriate option at the time of order.

Alternatively, the equivalent mounting hardware may be ordered after receipt of the electronic gear.

Options include:

Front handle kit, flange kits, handles with rack flanges, and flange kits for electronic components with previously supplied handles.

Power Management

Electronic systems nowadays are the result of integrating several electronic systems into one solution.

At the same time, the number of devices requiring power, even for a small installation has increased and so needs power management solutions that can handle the voltage load correctly while also protecting the equipment.

Most rack configurations need a minimum of three to four power outlets and the ability to add more as the equipment housed in it grows.

It is always highly advisable to use a power management solution that monitors voltage coming from the power grit which keeps power distributed to the electronic devices without fluctuations, and even better if the power management solution provides a way to also monetarily ensure all the electronic components will be protected by their insurance policies.

Recommended Brands

These are the rack brands that we professionally recommend and installed for all of our residential and commercial projects.

  • Tripp Lite
  • Middle Atlantic
  • Sanus
  • Atlas

These rack brands are registered trademarks and follow strict testing for durability, functionality, and load capacity.

Conclusion

Equipment racks are a versatile solution designed to house all types of electronic components with different kinds of applications while virtually ensuring a perfect fit.

Racks accommodate equipment making them suitable for a mixed electronic equipment environment.

Rack mounting is fast and easy with unique design features. And best of all, Multimedia Tech provides a wide selection of options and accessories that provide the flexibility to meet the vast majority of racking applications.