Rack It Up: What Is a Rack Enclosure?

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Have you recently moved your business into a new commercial space? Or do you plan to do so soon?

If so, you need to be prepared to install and manage all of your IT systems. When it comes to an office building where you need to run dozens, if not hundreds of computers, telephones, security cameras, and other devices constantly, you need a centralized IT system to manage it all.

It’s not as simple as installing wifi at your home, where you can set up a router in your closet and call it good. You’ll need a rack enclosure to safely and efficiently secure all of the equipment needed to produce a powerful wireless signal to run your business.

But if this is your first time outfitting a commercial property with a server rack enclosure, you are probably wondering what it is and why it’s important. Keep reading for answers to all of your enclosure questions.

What Is a Communications Room?

A communications room, otherwise known as a comms room or a server room, is where you store your company’s computer servers. They are vital to the function and success of every business.

They are an entire room in a commercial building built and outfitted exclusively for this purpose. For smaller businesses, these can often be the size of a utility closet. Larger businesses will have larger and more extensive server rooms.

Servers are the lifeblood of your company’s technology. They empower your computers to work, your phones to make calls, your wifi to stay on at all times, your security cameras, and much more.

What Makes Server Rooms Function?

Servers require a very specific environment in order to function well. Generally, professional server rooms are climate-controlled. That is, they need to be well-insulated and air-conditioned at all times. Computer servers get hot and need cold air around them to prevent overheating.

They also need sufficient airflow and ventilation. Vents need to be strategically placed so that hot air can escape from the room to prevent damage to servers.

Server rooms should also have a fire suppression system that doesn’t use water. Water would destroy all of the equipment, so a system that uses other materials is preferred.

Also, you’ll want to provide your servers with a backup power source. Should your general electricity supply suddenly shut off, you’ll need a generator to keep your servers up and running until the power is restored.

Aside from the design and systems built into the server room, it also needs the proper equipment in order to get up and running. One of the most important pieces of equipment is rack enclosures.

What Is a Rack Enclosure?

So you’ve set aside a room where your IT equipment can be installed. So what do you need first? You’re going to need a rack mount enclosure.

Racks are the physical structures upon which servers, or computer hardware, are installed. Racks hold the servers in place and protect them from falling or damage.

They are also designed in a way that allows for effective airflow. You can find open racks or enclosed racks.

Enclosed rack mounts are ideal for larger businesses or those who have proprietary information and need to prioritize security. Many businesses have janitorial staff who need to sweep and dust server rooms, so keeping them locked out of the individual racks is a good idea.

They contain locking doors that can keep all unqualified personnel out. Proper rack enclosures come with perforated walls and doors that will allow for the perfect amount of airflow, even when closed and locked.

These racks come with mounting holes so that your servers can be installed and kept safe if the racks are bumped or moved. Plus, they contain cable management bars which will keep the massive amount of cables organized and out of the way.

Benefits of Rack Enclosures Over Open Racks

The biggest reason some companies opt for rack enclosures is security, keeping them locked up. Aside from security concerns, there are a few other reasons to choose an enclosed rack for your server room.

One of the other big factors is aesthetics. Enclosed racks look much more clean, professional, and sophisticated. If you are a company that prioritizes a professional image in every room and detail of your company, then choosing enclosed racks will make your comms room look much better.

Finally, the quality of enclosed racks can’t be beaten. They are more secure and more stable, ensuring that your precious servers are protected from damage more than other types of racks.

For these reasons, spending the extra money on enclosed racks is worth it for most businesses.

Setting Up Rack Enclosures

There are many different types and sizes of rack enclosures. Depending on the size of your comms room and IT needs, you can customize and configure a layout that is perfectly suited to your business.

And since these systems are modular, they can grow as your business grows. So in the beginning you only need to pay for and install what you need at the time.

You’ll want to ensure the racks that you buy are compatible with the servers you are using for your business. If so, mounting the servers to the racks is easy to do with the provided mounting holes.

For more complex IT solutions, hiring a professional to install your servers is a good idea. There’s a lot that can go wrong when installing servers and getting them up and running.

It helps to have a local IT company install the system so that they are always available should you have any issues later down the line.

Get Your Server Room Up and Running

Now that you know how important a rack enclosure is to your business, it’s time to determine what your computer server needs are for your business. If you are a small company then you probably don’t have an IT specialist on staff.

Consult an IT company to determine what types of servers are going to be needed to power your business. Once you know what you need server-wise, you can ensure you get the right rack mount hard drive enclosure to house it.

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