Server Colocation: How to Calculate How Many U's You Need?

Server Colocation: How to Calculate How Many U’s You Need?


Server colocation is the deployment and hosting of a server owned by a company or other entity. This organization-owned server is installed inside a managed service environment through server colocation.

Server colocation allows server-owning enterprises to put their servers inside an existing data center or information technology facility. In server colocation, the client controls all server, operating system, and application services. In server colocation, the service provider for managed services gives the client the physical space, Internet resources, and electricity needed to install the server.

Actually, in server colocation, the server remains the property of the customer or the client business organization, but it is maintained, managed, and monitored by the managed service provider company. Typically, the managed service provider is also a cloud service provider. The client organization of the server owner may connect to its server through the internet or a Virtual Private Network.

Principal function of Server colocation

The major purpose of server colocation is to reduce the operating expenses while employing better information technology support services. It is accomplished by employing the services on the servers of Key Information Technology. In addition to all server maintenance services, the servers are given an Internet Protocol address, physical security, bandwidth, electricity, and any required backup.

A server rack is a steel cabinet or structure intended to hold servers, cables, and other IT gear in a manner that maximizes the utilization of floor space while preserving maximum server performance.

A server rack is a steel cabinet or structure intended to hold servers, cables, and other IT gear in a manner that maximizes the use of floor space while preserving maximum server performance.

Server racks

Not to be confused with server towers, server racks feature a low-profile enclosure and are robustly constructed with several cooling systems. In addition to patch panels, switches, and pre-made slots for connecting electrical and internet lines, server racks have patch panels.

In addition, the server rack bay enables safe stacking of servers and IT equipment as well as simple airflow regulation. When searching for server racks, the most typical distinction between racks of the same kind is the number of “U”s. The U, in this context, refers to rack units, a common way of measuring the mountable height in a server rack.

How many spaces do I need for the letter U (RU)? 

Every rack-mount server available for purchase online from Dell begins with an RU classification. This should be the case for any manufacturer of servers that has a good reputation. If you want to fill a rack with nothing but servers, it will be simple for you to calculate the total number of rack units required on your server and choose a product that has an appropriate number of storage compartments.

On the other hand, patch panels, switches, and routers are less likely to indicate a U-height than other networking hardware. This is because they aren’t usually attached by rails that are specifically made for the right distance between them.

It is more probable that you will wind up tossing a router onto a shelf, and the sizes of shelves might vary significantly from one another. Therefore, depending on the size of your shelf and the size of the networking equipment, there is a possibility that you will not end up filling exactly 1.75 inches of space. Instead, you will need to calculate space using the techniques that are more traditionally used.

Rack solutions have something that will completely meet your requirements for storage space, no matter what sort of space you want. We produce server racks with any number of units, from 1U to 70U (sometimes even 90u). When you are reducing the number of server racks you need, it is important to remember to check that the exterior height will be suitable for you as well as the U spaces.

Colocation Per Unit (U), Single Server, Rack Unit

The lowest quantity of server colocation space in a data center that you are able to rent is measured in units per unit (U). This kind of colocation is frequently referred to as “shared colocation” since the rack in which it is housed is shared by numerous tenants, all of whom share the rack’s space, power, and bandwidth. It is also sometimes referred to as “rack unit colocation” or “single server colocation.”

One U, two U, three U, or four U of server colocation space are all examples of the per U colocation model. There is capacity for at least 42 U of colocation equipment in a complete rack of colocation equipment.

How much space does 1 U of server colocation take up? The dimensions of a 1U colocation space are roughly 19 inches wide by 36 inches deep and 1.75 inches tall. Although it might change depending on the supplier and the region, these are the most typical measurements.

What is the cost of 1 U of server colocation space? The cost of 1U colocation may vary widely depending on a number of parameters, including power, bandwidth, geographical region or market, provider, data center facilities, and add-on services. You should prepare yourself to spend between $49 and $99 per U on a monthly basis. It’s possible that there will be cross-connects involved.

For people, such as gamers, who wish to operate their own dedicated server in a data center, per-unit server colocation is an excellent option for small enterprises, start ups, and other individuals. When compared to hosting a server at home or in an office, where factors such as power, connection, bandwidth, and latency may all have an effect on performance, this sort of server colocation offers greater outcomes. It is essential to keep in mind that not all suppliers of colocation data center space provide increments of 1U for their server colocation space.

How to Determine the Size of a Server Rack and the U-Space Required

Even though there are many different kinds of server racks (some of which may have open frames, locks, or be customized), the primary categorization is based on the size of the server racks. This is due to the fact that server cabinets are created according to the size of the information technology equipment that will be kept inside of them. When estimating the size of the rack, the following are the most important factors to take into consideration:

  • Rack height

Racks in data centers are often categorized and labeled according to their dimensions. Rack Units, abbreviated as “U,” are the standard units of measurement for rack sizes. One rack unit is equivalent to 1.75 inches.

As a consequence of this, it is standard practice for servers and other pieces of information technology gear to be constructed in increments of 1.75 inches. This makes rack height calculations much simpler. The best size frame for a server rack is 48U, which is the typical size frame. This is because it enables dense hardware configurations while also minimizing the use of floor space. However, depending on the size of your servers and other pieces of IT gear, data centers will provide you with a range of different rack sizes to choose from. You can go for a full rack (typically 42U) One-half shelf (typically 21U) Rack in quarters (typically


Consider using non-standard open frame racks instead, which may have as little as 5 units of space or as much as 70 units, depending on your requirements for the amount of rack space you need.

  • The Depth and Width of the Server Rack

The depth of a rack is typically measured in inches. The depth of a server rack will typically fall anywhere between 24 and 48 inches. Racks contain rails running down their depth, which enables the IT equipment to be mounted in an adjustable manner. The majority of the common server racks have an interior width of 19 inches, which enables the installation of servers without any gaps. In addition, they feature an outside width of 24 inches, which enables them to occupy precisely one floor panel in a data center despite their size. This width provides sufficient room to allow for the management of cables and switches as well as the maintenance of gear.

Since you are now familiar with the many common server rack sizes that are available, you can simply determine the amount of space that will be required by your server and the IT gear, and then calculate the size of the rack that will be required. When determining the appropriate size of the rack, be sure to take into account the necessity for room to manage the airflow as well as the height of any equipment that is higher than 1U. 

You Might Also Like to Read: Which Colocation Data Center Option Suits You? Ultimate Guide

What You Should Think About Before Selecting the Size of Your Server Rack

As we’ve seen, one of the most important factors to consider when calculating the optimal size of your server rack is the size of the servers and IT gear you want to house. However, the size of your rack is also affected by other aspects of your server racks, such as their level of customization, ventilation, and level of protection.  Let’s have a look at some of the most important factors:

  • The Server Rack’s Capability for Flexibility and Expansion

Because the pace of digital transformation is accelerating, it is quite possible that you will increase your IT infrastructure in the near future, which will require the purchase of bigger server racks. Because of this, it is in your best interest to get a rack that is far bigger than what you need at the moment so that you will have an easier time finding room for more gear.

You are undoubtedly concerned about whether or not this can be sustained financially. The good news is that we have server colocation hosts that provide a service that is pay-as-you-grow. You are permitted to use a full rack at the data center, but you will only be charged for the size of your rack at the moment. This is done on the understanding that you will eventually fill up the rack.

  • Safekeeping

If your gear needs less space than a quarter rack, the colocation host services that you use will most likely advise you to share a rack with other businesses. Although this may be more cost-effective, it also puts the safety of your servers at risk.

If you want the highest level of safety, you should choose a server rack that is completely enclosed.

  • The power draw of your current IT configuration

If the IT equipment you use needs a lot of cable connections, you may want to upgrade to a bigger rack that has enough space and a power supply to keep your servers running without blocking the flow of air.

  • Enclosures and Ventilation Provisions

Are you planning on getting an open-frame or an enclosed rack? Racks for servers with an open frame are not only simple to put up but also provide excellent ventilation, which is necessary for the elimination of excess heat. Because of this, having a big open server rack will prevent your gear from overheating while still giving it sufficient room to cool down. The sole disadvantage of using an open frame rack is that it leaves your servers vulnerable to the atmosphere outside the rack.

In addition to this, we also provide enclosed server racks that have perforated doors that can be removed and adjustable mounting rails that make it possible for you to install and remove IT systems. The doors with the perforations in them not only allow for ventilation but also keep the servers secure.

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