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How to pick a cabinet.
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This video shows you how to specify the right cabinet for your application, starting with the type of equipment you want to put in it. Learn also about NEMA-rated enclosures, and how to choose a cabinet based on cooling, power, and security needs. We also cover differences between types of mounting rails, as well as what you need for extra-deep equipment mounting and effective cable management.
Picking the right cabinet. In this Tips for Techs, we’ll show you how to go about it. But first, let’s be clear on what a cabinet is. At Black Box, it’s any box-like enclosure that has a door and side panels — as opposed to a rack, which has an open frame.
The best place to start is by determining what you’re going to put in it. After that, Appliance and equipment size, weight capacity, mounting requirements, cooling, power needs, and security are all considerations that determine the best fit for your needs. Other factors include environment, available space , access, and presentation.
Many customers choose a cabinet instead of a rack based on security needs. Keeping your vital infrastructure components under lock and key is the best way to protect them from most mishaps. If you have a secure environment that eliminates unwanted access, a two or four post rack may be a more economical alternative.
Another matter to consider before deciding... more/see it nowon a cabinet or rack is the surrounding environment. If your equipment needs additional protection or will be exposed to a number of elements including dust, cabinets provide a much higher level of protection. For harsher environments exposed to a wider array of conditions including excessive dust, moisture or other potentially damaging threats, you should consider a NEMA (nee-mah) rated cabinet, These have been designed to offer a much higher level of protection. A cabinet that’s NEMA 12-rated, for example, is an indoor-rated enclosure that protects against excessive dust and splashing liquids. Or you can get a NEMA 3 enclosure that’s designed for outdoor use. It guards against rain, snow, and wind-blown debris, as well as ice formation. Shielded and water-resistant, it’ll keep components clean and dry.
The next concern in selecting the most appropriate cabinet is evaluating room space. The most common cabinets are freestanding with both front and rear access. When space is limited, you will want to consider a wall-mounted cabinet. And if you’re really squeezed for space, a low-profile model that mounts sideways on the wall might be your best option.
Also, you’ll need to determine the location access. A cabinet that comes preassembled is great for quick setup, but will it fit through the doors in your workplace? If it won’t, then you’ll want to order a flat-packed cabinet that’s designed specifically to address limited access locations. This type of cabinet gives you much greater flexibility and is easily assembled onsite.
Now, let’s discuss cabinet size. The first dimension to evaluate is cabinet height. Start by listing all the components and appliances you plan to store in the cabinet. Consider additional space for future expansion. One point to note is this: The actual outside cabinet height is different from the usable storage space. Be sure you’re clear on how much outside space and usable inside space you’ll have. Usable vertical real estate in a cabinet is expressed in rack units. One rack unit (abbreviated as 1U) equals 1.75 inches. Therefore, a 42U cabinet has 42 racking units for equipment and has 73 1/2 inches of usable interior space. The actual exterior height of the cabinet measures 77.6”. While a 42U cabinet is the most popular choice, cabinet heights are available in a wide number of options.
After determining the cabinet height, you’ll need to select the proper width and depth of the cabinet. As previously mentioned above, the actual outside dimension and usable inside dimensions are different. Most cabinets have an exterior width of 24 inches and an interior width of 19 inches between mounting rails. The hole-to-hole centers measuring 18.3 inches and are designed to hold the majority of commonly mounted equipment.
The third and perhaps the most critical dimension is the cabinet depth, especially if you have oversize servers. You’ll also need to include cable management and power mounting when determining the most appropriate depth. While the most common depth for a cabinet is 42”, they’re available in a number of options ranging from 24” to 48”. Custom built configurations are offered as well, should you have a more specific need.
For flexible mounting of both standard and extra-deep equipment, you‘ll want to make sure the rails are adjustable. Not all cabinets come with adjustable rails. Another option is selecting a cabinet that offers a third set of rails This way, you can mount equipment of two different depths in the same cabinet.
Next you’ll need to specify the type of mounting rails. The round 10-32 tapped and drilled holes are still used in some applications. However, the M6 square hole is much more versatile and most servers now require them. And with the addition of a cage nut, the M6 can be converted to a round threaded 10/32 hole in seconds.
Another factor to evaluate in proper cabinet selection is the weight capacity of the cabinet. Weight capacity can vary greatly between cabinet types. Be sure you know the weight of your equipment and the maximum capacity of the cabinet you have selected.
Once you’ve decided on the cabinet’s size, width, depth and type of mounting for your servers and other equipment, you’ll need to address the proper cooling. Simply placing the equipment in an air-conditioned room may not be enough, especially if your devices require additional ventilation. You may need to manage the airflow to and from your equipment by using a mesh door, having a vented top in the cabinet, or through built-in fans and air filters. And remember: as more equipment is added, your cooling and airflow needs may change. Are you currently utilizing blade servers or considering them? If so, make sure you have determined the proper cooling for optimal performance. You may need to add additional cooling with top-mounted and rackmount fan trays, as well as blowers that direct cool air up from the bottom of the cabinet.
There are a number of other things you’ll want to keep in mind as you determine the best solution for your needs.
Power strips, UPS, and surge protectors for both powering and protecting your equipment. Interior lighting, and Sliding and fixed shelves for all sorts of equipment, even your heavy networking hardware. You might think about installing a sliding keyboard tray to create a workstation right in the cabinet. You’ll also need to determine the most appropriate cabinet door options. Choose a PLEXIGLAS® door for the best visibility, or a mesh door for maximum airflow. There are even fiberglass Wi-Fi® cabinet doors that let wireless signals pass right through them. However, like most installations, if you rely on cables for equipment connections, you must identify the amount of cable management needed in your cabinet. Look for:
• Top and bottom knockouts
• Removable access panels
• and even built-in cable management.
Plus, you’ll want to add vertical and horizontal organizers, raceways, and rings to keep cable bundles nice and neat. Another option is the ultimate in professional presentation: custom painting. Many companies opt to have their cabinets custom finished to match specific company colors.
As you can see, when you’re choosing a cabinet, you have many different factors to think about. Don’t get overwhelmed, help is a call or click a way. Just call our toll free technical support hotline at 877-877-2269 and let one of our infrastructure experts guide you through the entire cabinet selection process. They’ll not only support you in the selection process, they’ll support everything you put in your cabinet. It’s all part of doing business with Black Box. If you have questions or need help, turn to Black Box technical experts. Call us. You’ll be live with an expert in less than 20 seconds. collapse
Product SKU Price Quantity
Select Wallmount Cabinet, 6U RM2411A $276.10
 
Select Server Cabinets, Tempered Glass Door RM2450A $1,322.95
 
Comm Cabinet 24U, 30"D RM3030A $1,077.95
 
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