The continual evolution of IT and communications equipment has produced a totally new look in everything from: computers to modems to storage devices. Behind the scenes, the data center has gone through a similar transformation. The old installations of raised floors and massive units have been replaced with vast numbers of servers and other equipment, all accessible via standardized racking systems.
In the past 20 years a set of standards has evolved that provides users a standard form of racking and mounting. These standards allow the technology of this equipment to constantly change while continuing to conform to existing data center, server room and ISP setups.
Today, different types of telecommunications, computing, and networking equipment are mounted in a variety of types of racks; however, the vast majority of these fit into the 19-inch rack format. The height of various electronic modules is standardized around multiples of 1.752 inches, or 44.50 mm.
Within these standards are options such as:
- Rack-mount instrument
- Rack-mount chassis
- Rack-mount systems
- Rack mountable
With efficient use of the space in a data center a high priority for all center managers, the 19-inch racks provided in 2 post and 4 post designs are most popular. The 2 post server rack allows for dense configurations without the need for extra shelving or wasted space for accessibility.
For most servers, excess weight is not the problem that is often presented by network and Telco modules. This means the use of a 2 post center mount conversion kit allows easy and safe server mounting instead of traditional flush mounting. The standards used for regular 19-inch racks also provide the mounting brackets needed for use with relay racks. This enhances the flexibility of the 2 post server rack and provides an acceptable alternative to the 4 post rack.
Beyond the standard data center, the 19-inch rack is put to use in corporate server rooms and ISP facilities. Multiple versions of the 19-inch rack are now found in a wide variety of uses, including fiber-reinforced plastic rackmount cases for military and field applications. The 19-inch rack is so versatile versions of the 2 post server rack are even found in some homes to hold audio and video equipment.