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What a Server Rack Is and How it Functions

Businesses of all sizes need to store their data, and a big part of data storage is a server rack. These racks play an integral role in safeguarding sensitive data from security threats. For example, they can protect consumer credit card information and an organization’s proprietary information.

Learn more about what a server rack is and how it functions.

What Is a Server Rack?

A server rack houses servers and other technical components like routers and switches. Data centers use server racks to make servers and other equipment organized and secure. They’re also the linchpins for keeping data centers safe, cooled, and maintained.

How Server Racks Work

Depending on your needs, it’s possible to find server racks that are open or enclosed. Enclosed server racks, or cabinets, provide more security from damage or theft, and it’s usually easier to control airflow in them. Airflow is an important consideration since the servers can overheat. If this happens, the resulting damage can result in data losses.

Measuring Server Racks

Both enclosed and open server racks are available in multiple sizes. How many servers typically fit in a cabinet? The typical server cabinet size is 42RU, meaning it can hold 42 servers that are 1RU units tall. 1RU is the standard size for servers. While the standard cabinet size can be sufficient for a modest organization, the racks range from 1RU up to 48RU.

Server Rack Benefits

Data centers couldn’t operate without server racks because they provide so many advantages. Here are some of them.


Many data centers are massive structures that need proper organization for server maintenance to prevent data breaches and losses. When they stand side by side, they maximize the use of square footage. In some cases, data centers may span entire warehouses.

Cable Management

Not only do they help with equipment organization, but they also make it possible to manage the miles and miles of cables that servers need!


Maintaining the right temperature in a data center can be difficult. However, some server racks can come with cooling capabilities to protect the servers.


Even more critical than cooling and organization is making sure data within the servers is secure. You can lock enclosed server racks to protect them from theft or accidental damage.

Knowing what a server rack is and how it functions is only the beginning of understanding the complex world of data centers!

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Written by Logan Voss

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