Black Box Explains...Cabinet accessories.
Once you’ve chosen your cabinet, whether it be a customized Elite or an energy-saving ClimateCab, it’s time to
add accessories for even more function.
Cabinets have two sets of rails,... more/see it nowfront and back, where you can mount shelves, trays, cable managers, and power strips.
Shelves are an easy solution for storing things that aren’t rackmountable. The shelves attach to the rails; servers or other equipment sits on the shelves. Make sure the shelf has the weight capacity you need—some can hold hundreds of pounds. For easy access to components in your cabinet, choose a sliding shelf. There are also vented shelves that improve air circulation within the cabinet.
Although most shelves fit 19" rails, there are shelves that go on the less-common 23" rails. There are also brackets that can adapt many devices intended for 19" mounting to 23" rails.
Keyboard trays are space-saving solutions that also keep your data center organized. They slide neatly into your cabinet or rack—and out of your way—when not in use. And they usually fit into only 1U of rack space.
Further reduce clutter in your server room by using KVM trays that are 1- or 2U high mounted in your cabinet. Special features of Black Box® KVM trays include rock-solid construction, LEDs on the front panel for easy location in a darkened data center, and integrated KVM switching.
Front-panel controls enable you to use the buttons on a monitor bezel without pulling out the keyboard. Some trays have USB ports for access.
Cabinets usually have built-in troughs for cable routing, knockouts for cable pass-throughs, and tie-off points for cable management. You can also add horizontal or vertical cable managers to the cabinet’s rails to manage and route cables more efficiently. Cable managers control bend radius to protect cables from hidden crushes, kinks, and snags, and reduce maintenance time by keeping your cabinet neat and organized. Plus, properly managed cables help to improve airflow.
If you’ve got no room to spare in your cabinet, think SpaceGAIN. You might not think of a patch panel as an “accessory,” but SpaceGAIN angled-port and angled patch panels are not your average panels. They free up valuable space and eliminate the need for horizontal cable managers. You save time and money by routing cables directly into ports. And SpaceGAIN high-density feed-through patch panels enable you to fit 48 ports into only 1U of rack space, with no punchdowns needed.
To save even more space, use SpaceGAIN 90° Right-Angle CAT5e/CAT6 cables. Their up, down, left, or right angles save up to 4" of space in crowded cabinets.
PDUs and UPSs
Control the distribution of power in your cabinet with a power distribution unit (PDU). A PDU can be basic or “intelligent,” with surge protection, remote management, or power and environmental monitoring. Integrate a PDU directly into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for extra reliability.
Fans and blowers
Ventilation in your cabinets is critical for keeping vital equipment cool.
An enclosure blower draws cool air from a raised floor at the bottom of the cabinet and delivers it right across
the front of servers or other network components. It fits on standard 19" rails and uses only 2U of mounting space. This high level of ventilation lowers the temperature of cabinet hot spots by up to 15° F. Lowering temperatures protects your electronics against failure caused by overheating, which may enable you to install more equipment.
Fan panels or fan trays direct maximum airflow with very little noise to heat-sensitive rackmounted equipment. Position them in your cabinet wherever you need them the most.
Most network devices take in air through their front panels and expel it out the back. Filler panels in unused rack spaces help keep cool air in the front of the cabinet where it can be used by the equipment.
Most cabinets come with a lock and key, but more advanced options are available to provide a higher level of security. Keyless options include combination locks and biometric locks that read fingerprints. collapse
Black Box Explains...Choosing a cabinet.
Understanding cabinet and rack measurements.
The main component of a cabinet is a set of vertical rails with mounting holes to which you attach your equipment or shelves. When you consider... more/see it nowthe width or height of a cabinet, clarify whether the dimensions are inside or outside.
The first measurement you need to know is the width of the rails. The most common size is 19 inches with hole-to-hole centers measuring 18.3 inches. There are also 23-inch and 24-inch cabinets and racks. Most rackmount equipment is made to fit 19-inch rails but can be adapted for wider rails.
After width, the most important specification is the number of rack units, abbreviated as “U.” It’s a measurement of space available to mount equipment. Because cabinet width is standard, the amount of space is what determines how much equipment you can actually install. Remember, this is an internal measurement of usable space and is smaller than an external measure of the cabinet or rack.
One rack unit (1U) is 1.75 inches of usable space and is usually, but not always, measured vertically. So, for example, a rackmount device that’s 2U high takes up 3.5 inches of rack space. A rack that’s 20U high has 35 inches of usable space.
Choosing the right cabinet.
Here’s a quick checklist of features to keep in mind before you choose a cabinet for servers or other network devices:
• High-volume airflow.
• Adjustable rails.
• Rails with M6 square holes.
• Moisture and dust resistance.
• Air filters.
• Front and/or rear accessibility.
• Locking doors.
• Left- or right-hinging doors.
• Power strips and cable organizers.
• Interior lighting.
• Availability of optional shelves, fans, and casters.
• Cable management rails, space, and knockouts.
• Extra depth to accommodate newer, deeper servers.
Don’t forget to accessorize.
Even if your cabinet is in a climate-controlled room, you may need to add a fan panel to help keep your equipment from overheating. It’s especially important to have ventilation in an enclosed cabinet.
Rackmount power strips mount either vertically or horizontally. Some have widely spaced outlets to accommodate transformer blocks. Some power strips include surge protection.
Mission-critical equipment should be connected to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). A UPS keeps your equipment from crashing during a brief blackout or brownout and provides you with enough time to shut down everything properly in a more extended power outage.
For accessories that make cabling easier, just take a look at our many cable management products. We have cable management guides, rackmount raceways, horizontal and vertical organizers, cable managers, cable hangers, and much more. collapse
Find the right screw length for your cabinet or rack.
Types of Screws
There are two basic kinds of screws used for cabinets and racks—panhead screws and countersunk screws—and... more/see it nowthey’re measured in two different ways. Because the standard way to measure is from the tip of the business end of the screw to where the screw rests on the material it’s fastened to, a panhead screw is measured to the bottom of its head, whereas a countersunk screw is measured to the top of its head.
Black Box Explains…Liquid cooling.
The trend toward high-density installations with higher-powered CPUs has made heat a critical issue in data centers. Blade servers present a special challenge—a rack of blade servers can dissipate more... more/see it nowthan 25 kW, generating more heat than an electric oven.
The heat generated in today’s high-density data centers can shorten equipment lifespan, negatively affect equipment performance, and cause downtime.
Traditional air-cooling methods such as hot/cold aisle arrangements simply can’t keep up with these heat-generating installations. Data center managers often try to compensate for the inefficiency of air cooling by under-populating racks, but this wastes space—an often scarce commodity in modern data centers.
Because of the inherent inefficiencies of air cooling, many data centers have turned to liquid cooling through water or other refrigerants. Liquids have far greater heat transfer properties than air—water is 3400 times more efficient than air—and can cool far greater equipment densities.
Liquid cooling is usually done at the rack level using the airflow from the servers to move the heat to a cooling unit where it’s removed by liquid, neutralizing heat at the source before it enters the room. Liquid cooling may also be done at the component level, where cooling liquid is delivered directly to individual components. Liquid cooling may also arrive in the form of portable units for cooling hot spots.
Liquid cooling options
Types of liquid cooling commonly used in data centers include:
- Cabinet-door liquid cooling: With this method, cooling units are special cabinet doors that contain sealed tubes filled with chilled liquid. The liquid is circulated through the door to remove heat vented by equipment fans. Because liquid-cooled doors can replace standard cabinet doors, they’re the favored method for retrofitting liquid cooling into existing data centers.
- Integrated liquid cooling: This consists of a specialized sealed cabinet that has channels for liquid cooling built into it to act as heat exchangers. Fans move hot air past the heat exchangers before sending the cooled air back to the servers. These cabinets are closed systems that release very little heat into the room.
- Component-based liquid cooling: Some servers are preconfigured with integrated liquid-based cooling modules. After the servers are installed, liquid is circulated through the cooling modules.
- Immersion cooling: This rather counterintuitive cooling method immerses servers in a non-conductive liquid, which is circulated to cool the servers.
- Portable liquid cooling: These are small units that operate by blowing air across water-cooled coils. They can usually accept water from any source—including a nearby faucet. They’re generally plumbed with ordinary garden hoses and require no special skills to use. Portable cooling units are intended for emergency cooling rather than as a permanent solution.
Liquid cooling requires a shift in the way you think about cooling. Installation may require that you acquire a new skill set or hire a professional installer. However, the space savings and cost savings gained through liquid cooling more than make up for the inconvenience of installing a new cooling technology.
Not only does liquid cooling enable data centers to operate at far greater densities than conventional air cooling does, it gets rid of the infrastructure associated with air cooling, enabling you to eliminate hot/cold aisles and raised floors. Liquid cooling can support from 25 to 80% more equipment in the same footprint, resulting in significantly lower infrastructure costs.
Add to this the fact that cooling is often the majority of a data center’s operating cost, and it’s plain to see why an investment in the efficiency of liquid cooling goes right to the bottom line.
Black Box Explains…Remote monitoring.
Beyond virus protection.
It has become almost automatic to protect your data center by backing up your servers, installing firewalls and virus protection, and keeping the protection up-to-date.
But what about... more/see it nowmore tangible threats? Do you have hot spots in your racks? If the cooling system shuts down, how will you know when temperatures climb out of control? Are you
alerted to humidity changes or water leaks
that threaten your equipment?
Planning for the unexpected is a critical task because there are more systems performing mission-critical functions than ever before. These systems are often deployed without the proper environmental infrastructure to support them. Equipment density is increasing constantly, which is creating more stress on ventilation and power.
The top three IT risks:
1. Environmental disruption.
The number one cause of downtime for remote locations, environmental problems go beyond fires and floods and affect as much as 30% of a company’s mission-critical infrastructure. Cooling and power are key points of exposure and increase as equipment density does.
2. Unnecessary risk.
When systems are housed in less-than-optimal settings, or are in remote and unsupervised locations, any error causes downtime. Yet, it’s not practical to have someone babysitting the servers.
Regardless of the probability, terrorism is
now something each of us must plan for. Your systems can also be brought down from within if the proper security safeguards are not in place.
What’s an environmental
Environmental monitoring products enable you to actively monitor the conditions in your rack, server room, data center, or anywhere else you need to protect critical assets. Conditions
monitored include extreme temperatures, humidity, power spikes and surges, water leaks, smoke,
and chemical materials. With proper environmental monitoring, you’re alerted to any conditions that could have an adverse effect on your mission-critical equipment. These products can also
alert you to potential damage from human error, hacking, or prying fingers.
Environmental monitors consist of three main elements: a base unit, probes or sensors, and
network connectivity and integration. The base units may contain one or more built-in sensors,
as well as ports for hooking up external probes. Additionally, they include an Ethernet port and have software for remote configuration and graphing. This software may also work with
existing network management software,
such as SNMP systems.
An environmental monitoring appliance
displays the values measured by the attached probes, e.g. temperature, humidity, airflow,
status of dry contact, door, motion detector,
and other sensors.
Data collecting and graphing.
Measurements are periodically stored in the internal memory or external storage media and displayed as graphs.
When the measured value exceeds the
predefined threshold, it triggers an alert: a blinking LED on the front panel, an audible alarm, SNMP trap, e-mail, etc. The environmental monitoring appliance can also activate an external alarm
system like a siren or strobe light.
Benefits of environmental monitoring:
Reduced downtime—When things go wrong, you’re the first to know. Minimize downtime by being alerted about conditions that cause damage to servers and other network devices.
Increased profits—Environmental monitoring systems are easy to implement. Also, they help you cut replacement equipment costs and redistribute your workforce more effectively.
Increased employee satisfaction—With built-in notification features like e-mail, SMS, and SNMP traps, a remote monitoring system enables employees to better manage their work.
Envornmental and security monitoring systems can be used for a variety of applications, including:
Data center monitoring
Computer room monitoring
Rackmount industrial equipment
Food and beverage applications
Air conditioner/refrigerants/freezer monitoring