A server rack is one of the most commonly employed entities in data centres. As a result, the data centre rack market is also one of the most popular markets in the world, with a share of USD 78 billion, all thanks to its ts best IT system performance and reliability that placed it in the front and centre of high-density data centres. A server rack or server cabinet is used to hold and organize IT equipment such as servers, network switches etc. It helps optimize space, wire management, airflow and cooling and physical security. But as much as it eases data centre management, its installation is complex. Even the most tech-savvy and smart people struggle with it and make mistakes during rack installation. Here are some of the common mistakes you should avoid.
- Not Selecting the Right Server Rack and Size: Selecting a suitable rack is essential to ensure your components easily fit inside while having enough room for cooling and heat dissipation. In short, rack size should be compatible with your server or equipment. So, check the sever and equipment dimensions and spare one-inch space from all sides of the device to ensure the fit isn’t tight. Also, check the width, depth, and height of the device. Server racks have rack units, denoted by U, so consider how many units your device will require. Typically, 1 unit or 1U = 1.75 inches. Depending on your device, you can calculate rack size. For example, network switches take 1U or 2U, servers from 1U to 4U, and blade servers take 5U and more.
- Not Paying Attention to Cable Management: Messy and disorganized racks can make server maintenance difficult and block airflow, leading to system overheating. To make cable management easier, start with cable organization to make them look nice and organized within the rack. This step will include cable trimming, so they are of appropriate length, bundling them together using zip ties or Velcro straps and organizing the cables with cable management products like cable trays. Well-organized cabling looks clean and is less likely to get damaged or prevent airflow blockages. Also, label each cable wire. Doing so will help you quickly identify whether it’s of the router, switch, server, or other equipment and troubleshoot it.
- Insufficient Airflow and Cooling with the Server Rack: Inadequate airflow can cause equipment overheating and hardware failures. While the rack itself is enough to facilitate proper cooling, there are a few things to consider regarding positioning your server racks. For instance, avoid placing your server rack near the vent, as it can block the airflow. If you plan to keep it near the window, ensure the window is shaded from the sun, as the sun’s heat can add to the room temperature. Also, ensure that the rack is not positioned against the wall, as this can limit airflow. A few other ways to ensure proper ventilation are by providing sufficient space between the servers, filling the empty spaces with blanking panels and installing additional fans or a cooling system (if needed).
- Lack of Redundancy: When users set up the server rack, the biggest mistake they make is they rely on a single point of failure. As a result, they don’t have enough backup or saved data to recover when the failure occurs, which results in significant downtime and cost to repair the components. Don’t make such mistakes. Ensure you have enough redundancy for power supplies, network connections, and storage systems to minimize downtime in case of failures. Redundancy means constructing a mirror infrastructure housing identical information as your primary server. You must have at least one primary server and an identical backup server to create server redundancy.
- Ignoring Future Growth: An improperly planned data centre can lead to a cramped and inefficient rack setup. So, when planning for a server rack installation, make sure that it meets your current and future needs. Look at the expected growth for your company in the next few years and future equipment needs and plan accordingly. There is no harm in leaving room for additional servers, switches, and other equipment because, as your needs grow, you can avoid all the hassles of reorganizing everything. So, when you go shopping, spend a little more and get a server rack that will help you meet your needs for years into the coming future while saving you time and money in the long run.
- Not Implementing Proper Security Measures: Server racks carry sensitive data and critical infrastructure that are required to be safe against thefts and other day-to-day mishaps. If possible, plan a separate room for your server rack and keep it away from people. The more people are near the rack, the more chances there are of getting damaged or data stolen. A good server rack provides sufficient protection to the servers within, but the more you can do, the better. Accessing physical security using lock and access control helps prevent unauthorized access to the racks and their components.
When installing a server rack, it’s best to plan your steps and follow the general guidelines, as improperly installed server racks can damage the servers and compromise the safety of the data centre. Try avoiding these common mistakes, and you will create a well-organized, efficient, and reliable server rack setup that supports your business needs and ensures continuity for the longest.