SERVER RACKS, CABINETS & CAGES
From single servers, to 42U cabinets or multi-cabinet cages.
Mosaic offers data center server colocation & hosting space from single rack unit space to half 21U cabinets and full 42U locking server cabinets as well as private multi-cabinet cages in each data center facility serving Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.
Calculating the server space you will need
Our multiple points of presence is data centers around the DC area give Mosaic the flexibility that you need to find the right home for your servers. Whereas some datacenters will require you to purchase a whole rack just to house a single server, we can provide colocation for single servers up through your entire network infrastructure.
Since Mosaic allows for shared server cabinet usage (purchasing fractional space in a cabinet that also contains other clients’ server equipment) we can provide you with space for individual servers without the cost of an entire secure cabinet. Rackmount-ready equipment is designed to fit within industry standard sizing—the rackmount unit or “U”. In shopping for equipment you will find that the form factor of the equipment chassis is designated as “1U”, “2U”, “4U” etc. This tells you exactly how many rack space units are required to accommodate that server. Therefore, determining your total rack space requirements is a simple matter of adding up all the form factors of all of your equipment. Private server cabinet spaces will vary in size slightly by manufacturer, but generally, you will have 21U of available space in a half cabinet and 42U of available space in a full cabinet.
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U’s, Cabinets, Racks, and Cages
The smallest measurement of data center server space is the rack/cabinet Unit. It is typically referred to as a “U” or “Rack Unit” which is 1.75″ in height. Data center locking server cabinets, which resemble large lockers, as well as their cousins the open relay-rack, are designated as having a fixed 19″ usable internal width (which is actually less, as we’ll explain below). The depth of the server hosting cabinets varies a bit by manufacturer, with 36 inches being the most common, though some are as deep as 42 inches. Wikipedia has a good article on 19″ data racks which is worth reading if you have the time.
The cabinet/rack “U” defines the third dimension: height. One U is a slice of cabinet or rack space that is the full depth and width, and exactly 1.75 inches high. Relay server racks and server cabinets use the same “U” designation – the chief difference between server cabinets and relay racks is that relay racks are open (no sidewalls), while cabinets are closed on all sides. Secondarily, some relay racks have only two mounting poles (one on each side), located in the center of the rack – this is what’s commonly known as a “2 post” rack. Server cabinets are almost always outfitted with two pairs of posts, one pair in the front and one pair in the rear, known as a “4 post” configuration (some open racks are also supplied in the 4 post version). Server racks are typically only supplied by the customer when they are going to be used inside a private cage colocation (see below), so unless you are shopping for a private cage, the racks will be provided with our cabinet existing space.
The vertical mounting posts are located inside of the 19″ horizontal width of the cabinet or rack. Rackmount server equipment is designed to fit between these vertical posts, so consequently the width of any rackmount chassis is generally no more than 17.5 inches. Rackmount servers are designed to use the mounting hardware typically supplied with the server by the manufacturer. This is ideally sliding rails, wing brackets, or both. If the servers and equipment that you need to colocate do not have sliding rails, you will be required to provide universal rack mount rails or cabinet shelves in order to install the servers. This is less desirable than having the proper sliding rails but is a workable solution.
When is a Private Cage colocation the right solution?
For very large colocation deployments, you may want to look beyond one or even several full cabinets, and instead consider a private cage. This kind of space is just what it sounds like – a fully enclosed wire cage with a locking metal door, to which only the colocation customer and designated facility staff have access.
Where cabinet space is rented by the U or by unit of private space (half cabinet or full cabinet), private cage space is typically rented by the square foot. Since cage spaces are private, you can use open racks inside cages instead of enclosed cabinets to hold your equipment – doing so can make access to equipment a bit easier and promote more even cooling. Cage space is not for everyone – the entry price point for a cage, which will typically be 100 square feet at minimum, is generally much higher than for other types of colocation & server hosting. That said, private cages provide unmatched flexibility when it comes to how you stack your equipment and allocate power, and if available space allows it you can even set up a small workstation inside your cage.
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