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Surprising Difference of Server Racks vs Data Center Cabinets

Are you thinking of purchasing a server cabinet or a server rack? You must know the difference between the 2 products before actually buying one. This will make sure that you get exactly what you need. Server cabinets are like racks in that they can hold assorted modules for electronic equipment. In a nutshell, the difference between a cabinet and a rack is that racks are open and have open sides, while cabinets are fully enclosed.

 But first, let’s discuss in detail what they are and how they differ. 

What is a Server Rack?

A server rack is a rack specially designed to organize and keep IT equipment. A lot of companies require more than one server to perform their necessary functions. Stacking servers and other IT equipment on a rack help keep everything organized and prevent overheating. 

Server rack cabinets (not to be confused with data center cabinets) are usually 24 inches in width and 36 inches deep. We offer server rack customization services to suit your needs. Server racks are usually perforated at the front and rear. This ventilates the equipment being enclosed and crucial to providing cooling air as equipment like these generates a fair amount of heat.

What is a Network Cabinet?

People always confuse network cabinets or data center cabinets for server cabinets. But, they have their differences. Network cabinets are often used for router storage, central office cables,  switches, panels, networking equipment, and networking accessories. In many cases, network cabinets are shallower than server rack cabinets. Generally measuring less than 31 inches deep. Sometimes network cabinets are also equipped with a strong plastic front door or glass. They also don’t have perforated enclosures. This type of equipment won’t generate the same amount of heat versus one that is enclosed in a server rack. 

It is crucial that you are aware that improperly housing equipment that generates heat is dangerous. This can cause damage, or worse, it could become a fire hazard. 

Difference Between Server Racks vs Data Center Cabinets

Now that we have discussed the definition of a server rack and a data center cabinet let’s proceed to talk about their differences. Let’s summarize their major distinctions, shall we?


Because a server rack cabinet will house longer network equipment, it should be deeper than a network cabinet in depth. Similarly, a network cabinet is used to store patch panels, house routers, and other network equipment. Let’s say a fiber optic cable requires significantly shorter depth. There is usually a difference of 800mm to 1200mm in terms of their depth.


Let’s admit it, servers produce a significant amount of heat. The type of equipment generally enclosed in a data center cabinet does not generate the same amount of heat enclosed inside a server rack. To prevent overheating and generate airflow over the hot servers, a server rack cabinet is designed and made with perforated material with vents on the front and back. A network cabinet and its equipment stored inside does not generate as much heat. So they are just made with plexiglass or tempered glass on its front door and solid material in its rear. 


You can’t fulfill all the requirements of storing company equipment in just one enclosure. It may actually be necessary to get both! Make sure you discuss this with your IT personnel and server experts to do an extensive evaluation of the types of equipment your company is using or will be using. This is so you won’t make an impulsive purchasing decision, albeit an informed one. In most cases, offices require the use of both a server rack and a data center cabinet. For other situations, they just outsource the storage to “cloud” servers. 

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