What's the diffrence between server cabinet and telecommunication cabinet?

It is common to see lack of understanding for differences between server cabinet and telecommunication cabinet – and what follows, are problems with installing larger devices in them, such as NAS. The problem is actually kind of understandable, because – in the end – there is nothing preventing installing sever in telecommunication cabinet, and otherwise – which takes place very often. It is worth to avoid such situation, as it may cause serious problems which I will discuss here.

So, what’s the difference?

  • First

    Server cabinet must be deeper than telecommunication one.
    Typical servers have casings even 800mm long (or deep). So, it would seem that 800mm cabinet would do just fine. THIS IS WRONG! Rack cabinets have their dimensions, even in model numbers made by outer dimension – which makes racks rails inside them closer to each other even by 300mm, depending on cabinet construction. Server cabinet for standard devices should have at least 1000mm, or even 1200mm. On the other hand, telecommunication cabinet 600mm deep will make its job perfectly.

  • Second

    Server cabinet must have vastly higher capacity than telecommunication cabinet.
    The weight of UPS’s switches, and servers is big, even reaching couple of hundred kilos – so they require tougher cabinets – simple. Telecommunication cabinets usually do not meet these standards, as their weight capacity is lower.

  • Third

    Server Cabinet must ensure that the air flow is in horizontal direction.
    Most of servers have air circulation system designed so that air is flowing from front of the device, and is exhaled at the back horizontally. It means that cabinet cannot block the air intake and exhaust of device inside it. In practice, this require from server cabinet to have perforated doors in front and in the back. On the contrary, telecommunication cabinet usually are designed to have glass doors in front, and full metal back.

    Chłodzenie szaf serwerowych Linkbasic w układzie Datacenter 

These fundamental differences theoretically separates the server cabinets and telecommunication cabinets. Nevertheless, these differences may be clouded by flexibility of cabinet producer – it’s possible to get 600mm perforated cabinet, and 1200mm with glass doors. Market needs are different and sometimes unusual solutions are needed. Breaking the rules however, requires from one to understand them first, and being aware of choices made.

I strongly recommend our article about choosing the rack cabinet. It describes in detail what aspects take into consideration when buying either telecommunication cabinet, or server one.

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