What is rack and stack?
Assembly and deployment processes of an enterprise’s IT and computer equipment such as networking equipment, cooling units, cables, cable management trays, servers, routers, switches and other apparatus is known as “rack and stack.” Also known as rack integration, racking includes the process through which individual server nodes, associated components and computer hardware systems are connected to computer server cabinets. It enables a smooth and easy connection between them, is simpler to transport, and easy in terms of maintenance. Stacking involves the transport and deployment of racks to the data center or destination enterprise.
Before opting for racking and stacking, one must consider multiple things which are important to note whether you are looking to do it yourself or hiring a rack integration service. There are many unique elements of rack and stack, three of the most important are as follows:
Beforehand knowledge of the data center layout is necessary as it would prevent delays and data center problems. Installation of equipment in a new rack would not cause any issues. However, if an existing rack is being used of the installation of equipment, it becomes important to calculate the amount of space that would be acquired and ensure its respective availability prior to the initiation of the process.
Calculation of power requirements of the new equipment is important as one would be required to make accommodations in line with it. This includes allocation of proper amount of circuits for the projects, choosing correct power cords, PDU’s working so on and so forth.
Documentation of rack design and layout throughout the projects is must. One of the best practice is to tag and label the servers, IT equipment, rack accessories, wiring etc. Labelling would enable to record all the equipment used through serial numbers. Documentation and inventory maintenance would enable one to keep track of all the work being done with time and a better informed setup for future.
The heaviest servers and equipment should be installed at the bottom to prevent over-weighed top and prevention from tipping over in the future.
For efficiently unpacking new hardware and adeptly assembling it into the rack, following tools and materials are a must to-have for the project:
Screwdriver drill and bit set—one would save a lot of time through this without any wear and tear.
Standard flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers—helps to reach narrow and hard places.
Scissors and box cutter—to cut through boxes, materials, and cable ties.
Plastic tie wraps or Velcro ties—easier and efficient management of wires, tucking smaller material etc.
Manpower assistance to lift and move heavier equipment.
Rack and Stack Cabling Tips
Structured and systematic cable deployment prevents the data center from a lot of problems. Several structured cable-installation solutions are available to prevent one from facing tangled cables, loss of data through damaged cables etc. and improve one’s data center’s performance.
By labelling both ends of a cable, precise track of network connections is ensure. Accurate port mapping and cable traceability will greatly help engineers and technicians with ongoing maintenance.
By using a color scheme vis-à-vis the cables structures, selected colors can be allocated to cables according to their role, function and type. This practice is a time saver in need of upgradation, revamping structure or even general maintenance.
Velcro or plastic cable ties can be used to manage and tie-off cable in bundles per function. Velcro is more preferable with its unbound and rebound options as and when required; this gives an extra leverage to make adjustments without unbinding the whole cable structure in contrast to plastic cable ties that need to be cut for any modifications.
Leaving slack in cables also facilitates potential modifications and transfers. An eight-inch slack is ideal but no more than 12-inch of slack is advised as excessive slack can increase weight.
Do not bundle power cables next to data cables. Bundling the different types of cables closely together causes electromagnetic interference.
Fully Document Your Rack Layout
A comprehensive documentation of asset report containing inventory of all equipment (tagged and labelled) must be maintained for better equipment maintenance, modifications and future installments. Periodic updates must also be done as per adjustments.
Document a list of all cables and all cable-runs for the project. It is necessary to mark cables according to their nature of use as this information helps technicians to properly maintain and adjust equipment.
Your rack and stack project must be thoroughly planned to ensure best possible installation and potential problem prevention. The aforementioned practices and recommendation help in achieving an error free rack and stack project with technical benefits including better cabinet airflow and preparing the rack for future successful equipment additions or changes.
For more advice and support in planning and executing your “rack and stack” project, give Annexus Technologies a call at 919-646-219!