Racks & Cabinets

The base charges are typically comprised of two things. The two most common terms used when referring to the amount of space that is used is rack or U's and cabinets.

Racks

The standardized computer and networking hardware located in machine room facilities, is set to a 19" rack design. Essentially this is a form of cabinet or stand that has horizontal mounting hardware spaced 19" apart. This allows for all hardware manufacturers to design their equipment to an industry standard to be easily installed inside of the racks.

The total height of the items in the rack may vary, but a standard size was also needed to regulate the height of components. The customary height unit or U for a rack mount case is roughly 1.75 inches high. Components are typically labeled with their height in terms of the number of U's. A standard industry server size is typically 1U. Most networking gear such as switches will be 2U and drive upwards of 4U or greater.

The base price of the server will be determined by the number of U's required to mount the hardware into the colocation provider. Typically a single 1U server will be less expensive than a larger 2U system. The server would need to be in a 4U server case to use full sized expansion cards found in most desktop computer systems, this is significantly more expensive. When determining the costs of the server you must also look at the costs and essential equipment needed to fit in that space.

Cabinets

A cabinet is the term used to refer to a full sized rack or about 47U in space. A cabinet that has additional security such as a locking door panel is also referred to as a cage or closed cabinet. This provides an additional level of security to the hardware installed in the facility. Cabinets are normally rented out by larger corporations that need a large amount of space for multiple servers and storage.

At most colocation facilities partial cabinets are available. They are either a 1/2 cabinet (about 24U) or 1/4 cabinet (about 12U). This is still a large amount of space for hardware and costs a fair amount of money. Most providers will give quotes for a 1/4 cabinet if the hardware is not rack mountable. For a single server, it can be a huge cost migrating to a dedicated rack server case that is as large as the 4U size.