Top tips for selecting data centre ITE cabinets

22 February 2022

Michael Akinla, the FlexFusion guy at Panduit UK & Ireland

Michael Akinla, the FlexFusion guy at Panduit UK & Ireland

The continuing increase in compute density within data centres coupled with higher awareness of environmental sustainability requirements has driven the evolution of ITE cabinet designs.

How do you go about selecting a cabinet system that meets your compute and supply chain requirements and still offers customisation capabilities for future changes? A key initial decision is, does it meet your platform requirement? Whether you are a hyperscale, colocation, enterprise or edge site you need cabinets that are highly configurable with the modularity for future expansion or change.


Maximising energy use within the ITE environment through more efficient air flow across the hot equipment will positively influence the sites PUE, and increase the energy available for compute purposes. Cabinet front and rear doors effect the rate of air flow across ITE, so choose a design that optimises the air flow into the cabinet. Today, you can select a cabinet system offering doors with 80% perforations providing increased high airflow.

Configuring cabinets in hot air containment layout offers increased energy efficiency by eliminating cold and hot air mixing. Creating a highly efficient hot air exhaust flow requires cabinets that seal gaps and openings in order that all exhaust heat is directed up and away from the ITE and cool environments. Ensure the cabinet you choose is optimised with the correct level of cable seal options, such as brush seals and CoolBoot grommets, which offer up to 95% air management efficiency.

Security and ease of management

For installation of systems and ease of maintenance and upgrades ensure that the cabinet door offers industry leading 170o opening to maximise access and allow more data centre aisle space.

Physical security is a key obligation to your customers and cabinets now offer a range of capabilities to ensure only authorised personnel access your ITE systems. Most cabinets offer a range of locks, so ensure that your chosen systems meet your requirements for access and monitoring. Handles now have capabilities to offer mechanical keylocks with replaceable tumblers, pin code and digital combination locks and smart handles that combine keys, card readers (low and high frequency) and onboard remote access to the cabinet’s intelligent PDU interface and environmental monitoring. This offers the critical dual factor authentication secure access control often sought after by customers. This level of monitoring provides high levels of systems management whether on site or at a remote location.

Inside out

The speed of change in data centres heightens the need for a flexible cabinet system. Choose a system that provides a wide range of options in sizes from 600mm to 800mm widths and 1070mm and 1200mm depths and a range of heights from 42RU to 51RU, that way, whatever the requirement you are guaranteed uniform capabilities and high quality.

Fully adjustable front and rear E-rails help to maximise equipment utilisation, and rail position markers; top, middle and bottom ensure correct positioning, saving time and aggravation. Increased density means more ports and connections, so confirm the cable management capability of the cabinet for the density you need. Vertical cable panels are now essential and when employed with cable management fingers provide highly effective cable routing to the critical connectivity and increase the overall efficiency of the airflow cooling through the cabinet.

Additionally, the flexibility to easily remove the side walls of the cabinet, for installation or MACs, is highly useful so ensure your cabinet system has two-piece horizontal panels with conveniently placed handles and a locking mechanism.

Increased performance, heavy load

Higher performance has increased the loading on individual cabinets and is shifting the scales up towards 1,587 kg static load capability. Even semi-configured cabinets are a challenge to position within the data centre or move around if needed. Ensure you are also familiar with the rolling load rating, which is always lower than the static rating, however it can be as high as 1,133 kg.

Any colour as long as it is…

Finally, remember that Panduit undertook research that demonstrated that white cabinets positively affect the light level reflected into the cabinet interior and therefore assists maintenance. We have ensured that all components of our white cabinets are indeed white and this has a very positive effect on the reflectance of light in the white space allowing for increased light efficiency and the ability to reduce LUX levels and better energy efficiency with fewer lights being deployed. Although, our cabinets are available in both white and black.