A data cabinet is a piece of equipment that is used to store, organise and protect network equipment. Data cabinets are often referred to as racks, network cabinets or cab's. Cabinets are usually made of metal, plastic or glass. In addition, the cabinets will have multiple shelves. Each shelf will be used for various equipment such as, routers, switches and modems. Furthermore, data cabinets can also include features such as cooling fans and cable management systems. Data cabinets help to keep data organized and protected. They can also help to improve the efficiency of data retrieval .
Data cabinets come in different shapes and sizes. The size of the cabinet will be determined by the size of your cabling infrastructure and IT equipment. There are a number of options available when it comes to finding the correct cabinet for your needs.
What are the different types of Data cabinets?
As previously stated, data cabinets are often referred to as racks, network cabinets or cabs. Commonly when an individual uses one of these phrases their referring to the same thing. However, technically there is a difference. A cabinet is unit that is closed on all sides, including the top & bottom. Racks do not have sidewalls, they're open. Commonly, they're referred to as open frame racks.
Different types of racks/cabinets
- Comms Cabinet
- Equipment Cabinet
- Server Cabinet
- Wall Cabinet
- CoLo cabinet
- Open Frame Rack
Data Cabinet Airflow
When allocating the space for your cabinet, the prevention of fire is of the utmost importance. The cooling strategy of your comms rooms plays a crucial part in protecting your premises from a fire. Additionally, the damage caused by heat is not always evident and catastrophic as a fire or meltdown. A well designed cooling system will help to increase the lifespan of your equipment, preventing issues such as, unexpected node crashes or system failures.
The biggest mistake is not factoring in the cooling when designing this space. Most network cabinets are 42U high, which is 7 feet tall. Depending on the equipment being used, it could be generating a lot of heat. The standard rule of thumb is 1U for every 10-15 watts of power being used. If you have a 42U cabinet, and it’s full of equipment that uses 1,000 watts, you could be looking at a heat load of approximately 68,000 BTUs. That is a lot of heat!
There are a few different options for cooling data cabinets:
Air conditioning: This is the most common method of cooling data cabinets. The air conditioner will remove the heat from the air and circulate it back into the room. An open frame cabinet will be suitable for this environment, the open sides will prevent your equipment from over heating. To ensure that your equipment is operating within the recommended temperature range you must monitor the room temperature. The simplest way to do this would be a room thermometer that is checked regularly.
Air cooled: This type of cooling system uses fans to circulate the air around the equipment and exhaust the hot air out of the cabinet. Furthermore, for the best cooling solution all exhaust fans of your comms room must be installed facing the same direction. As a result, it allows the air to flow in the same direction. Lastly, having exhaust fans at the top or back of your cabinet will aid in removing the warm air faster.
Liquid cooled: This system uses a coolant to remove the heat from the equipment and circulate it back into the room. A water-cooled system circulates water through a network of tubing to remove heat from components. The water is then cooled using a radiator, much like the one in your car, and circulated back through the system.
Soundproof Data Cabinet: A soundproof data cabinet is a specially designed cabinet used to isolate electronic devices and reduce the amount of noise generated by these devices. It is made of materials that block sound waves and prevent external noise from entering. This helps maintain a quiet and controlled environment for sensitive data and equipment.
How to choose a data cabinet?
When choosing a data cabinet, it is important to consider the following:
- The capacity of the cabinet (how many shelves and how much data it can hold)
- Security of the cabinet (how well it protects data from unauthorized access)
- Accessibility of the cabinet (how easy it is to retrieve data from the cabinet)
- Durability of the cabinet (how well it withstands wear and tear)
- The price of the cabinet
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