What Is a Data Center Rack?

A data center rack

What Is a Data Center Rack?

The data center is the nerve center of the modern world, and data center racks are the physical pieces holding it all together. But what is a data center rack, exactly, and how can your organization best take advantage of them?

Data center racks protect servers from physical hazards. The quantity of racks you need depends on factors like server requests and operational scale, and the racks can be kept off-site through colocation. Partnering with TenHats guarantees system reliability, minimizing physical infrastructure management challenges for worry-free data storage.

What Is a Data Center Rack?

A data center rack is any framework that houses IT equipment in a data center—a physical facility that houses essential hardware components for digital storage.

In general, these racks are made of steel and designed to safeguard the equipment from bumping, scratching, or dropping, not unlike a case around your laptop. Racks also create an organized storage system and allow proper airflow for cooling.

Most data center racks house servers, the equipment that makes up a data center. Think of the data center rack as the skull and the server as the brain. The rack protects the part making the data center successful.

Data center racks can also hold equipment for:

  • Networks
  • Cooling
  • Power
  • Telecommunications systems

Many racks will hold a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) system—essentially a battery backup for the data center.

It’s important to know that server racks host all different types of servers. This makes them one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in a data center. Cloud, application, database, web, and file servers are just a few of the types of servers that rely on rack space.

How Many Data Center Racks Do You Need?

Small businesses typically don’t require a full data center rack due to their limited computational needs. A half rack or even a single server often suffices, offering cost efficiency and scalability.

In contrast, large enterprises may need a full rack or multiple racks if they have:

  • Extensive workloads
  • High web traffic
  • Significant data transfer demands

The quantity depends on the:

  • Intensity of server requests
  • Data processing requirements
  • Overall operational scale

This scalable approach ensures that your business aligns its infrastructure with specific demands. Data center racks optimize both performance and resource utilization based on your unique computational workloads.

Data Center Basics

Data centers are locations for businesses that need a secure and reliable place to store their data. Some need them for extra storage space or simply to have a backup location. Businesses like hospitals that handle sensitive data need them to keep their data extra safe. Medium to large businesses will also use a data center to ensure that their enterprise never goes down.

Data centers like the one owned and operated by TenHats provide storage as well as cybersecurity for clients. If a hospital were to lose all its data, it would put patients and their data in danger. It would also have negative effects on the hospital as a business. As the U.S. government points out, healthcare firms experienced 145 data breaches in the first three months of 2023. This follows 707 breaches in 2022 that resulted in 51.9 million records being stolen.

Do Data Center Racks Have to Be On-Site?

No, data center racks do not need to be in the same physical location as a business’s operational headquarters. Colocation, where data racks are hosted in third-party facilities, is a common and advantageous business strategy.

Colocation is a preferred choice for many businesses because it offers:

  • Scalability
  • Cost efficiency
  • Improved reliability

This approach allows your organization to focus on its core operations without needing to worry about server upkeep. At the same time, you can leverage our external facilities for robust and secure data storage and management.

When businesses buy storage in a data center, they buy rack space. Some businesses opt for custom rack plans, but many of our clients buy half and full racks. A half rack is 22Us, and a full rack is 45Us. U stands for rack unit, which is 1.75 inches high. So, 45Us of storage gives you 78.75 inches of storage space, with an average rack drawing about 4kW of power.

78.75 inches doesn’t sound like much, but that’s not all you’re purchasing when looking at space in a data center. You can get quite a bit of storage in that small amount of space, and it’s also the most secure place your data can be.

Companies can benefit from the expertise of a specialized data center provider like TenHats. We ensure optimal conditions for equipment while reducing the burden of physical infrastructure management.  With round-the-clock protection, you’ll never have to worry about losing data. Plus, the reliability of a data center means that your systems will never go down again.

Do you need data center rack space without the hassle of maintaining an on-site data center? Contact us today to start a conversation!

Data center racks safeguard servers against physical threats. The number of required racks hinges on factors such as server demands and operational scope. Data centers play a crucial role in data storage and meeting business requirements. Colocation is an excellent option for off-site storage. Partnering with TenHats ensures system performance, reduces the complexity of managing physical infrastructure, and guarantees stress-free data storage.

In 2016, TenHats built the region’s first purpose-built colocation data center in over 20 years. Located in Knoxville, TN, our data center can serve any organization in East Tennessee and beyond. With our team’s IT experience, we provide a lot more than simply protected data. When you call us, you talk to a real IT expert. Connect with our team about our data center today!

Picture of Aaron Sherrill

Aaron Sherrill

Aaron is the Chief Technology Officer at TenHats leading the technology, cybersecurity, and data center teams of our organization. He has 25+ years of IT and security experience spanning across a variety of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and software development.

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