The Basics: What Is a Data Center Rack?

Are you using a data center rack?

The answer to that question is yes, whether you know it or not. Everyone relies on data centers to access the internet and store information. And the data center rack, also called a server rack, is at the data center’s core.​This article will explain what data centers rack are, their different types, and how they can help you and your business.

What Is a Data Center Rack?

A data center rack is any framework that houses IT equipment in a data center. In general, these racks are made of steel and designed to safeguard the equipment from physical dangers.

Most data center racks house servers, the equipment that makes up a data center. This means a rack is crucial in making a data center successful. The server is the quarterback, and the rack is the offensive line keeping the quarterback safe.

Data center racks can also hold equipment for networks, cooling, power, and 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, which 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 rackspace.

Benefits of a Data Center Rack

You might be wondering: if all a rack does is hold server equipment, why can’t I just put my servers on the floor or on a closet shelf? Well, in theory, you could, but you would get less efficient use and potentially damage it. That’s why a good data center will always use a rack for your servers.

Let’s take heat for example. Servers will get quite hot from all the information it processes. It’s like how your laptop or phone gets hot after too much use.

Servers do the same, and this can slow them down or damage them. That’s why racks are designed to create better airflow, making it easier for industrial cooling equipment to chill them.

Racks keep everything organized for you. As mentioned before, they hold server equipment—not just servers. Cords, rails, power equipment, and everything else can be neatly organized in one place, making it easier to update and manage your servers.

Racks also are great for security because of where they often live. There’s no chance of danger if they’re in a data center, something we’ll discuss more in the next section.

Colocation Basics

So, what does a server rack do for the average Joe? We need to discuss what data centers are first.

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 ultra safe. Medium to large businesses will also use a data center to ensure that their enterprise never goes down.

If a hospital were to lose all its data, the company would likely go out of business. Thousands would lose their patient information, potentially putting lives at risk. A data center makes sure this never happens by securing patient data in a completely secure location.

Check out our article explaining what a data center is​ to see how data centers are more secure.

When businesses buy storage in a data center, they buy rackspace. We measure rackspace in inches, which tells us how much space a business has for their servers.

SH Data, for example, offers custom plans for our Knoxville data center, 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.

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.

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.

Colocation Services in Tennessee

Data centers are complex, and we hope this article has helped you understand one of the fundamental parts of them. Remember, data center racks are just the structures that hold the IT equipment that make a data center run.

If you’re looking for colocation services in Tennessee, our Knoxville data center offers over 99% uptime and 24/7 service. We’d happy to discuss what IT solutions we can provide you.

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