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When choosing a colocation plan for your business, one of the primary considerations is how much space allocation you need to store your equipment.

Different colocation plans mention the space in that specific package. For the uninitiated, the terms used by the service providers can be a little confusing. If you do not know what they mean, you may end up choosing a plan that doesn’t suit your need.       

Space Allocation

Here we explain how the space is measured in a colocation data

center and what the terminologies really mean. This simple guide will help you understand your colocation space requirements.    

Unit of Measurement 

In data center terminology, to measure the physical space, you can use rack units, denoted by U . Here, 1U refers to the rack space required to store a single tray. 1U rack space equals 1.75 inches in height. The width and depth of the rack may vary from one colocation center to another. The usable width of a rack is usually 19 inches or slightly less. The depth of rack space ranges between 30 inches and 42 inches. Note that the standard is 36-inches.

The depth and the width remain fixed. So, if you need more space, you go vertical. Thus, 2U space is equal to WxDx (2 x 1.75). 

Rack Space

Depending on the size and complexity of the IT infrastructure, the amount of space needed by a business may vary widely. It can range from a few inches to thousands of square feet. 

Racks refer to the frames in which servers and other equipment are mounted in a colocation center. Standard colocation plans usually offer ¼, ½, or full-rack space. 

¼ rack space consists of 10U (1.75 inches x 10 = 17.5 inches). The usable space in ¼ is around 8-9 units. Small companies with limited infrastructure requirements may want to start with ¼ rack space. 

½ rack space typically contains around 20U space, and the available space is roughly 19 units. ½ rack space is a good starting point for most mid and small businesses unless they have an unusual IT load.

A full rack is most suitable for large-size companies. Mid-sized companies may also find this option cost-effective if they have a higher requirement. A full rack usually houses 40U space, which translates to around 38U available space.  

Cabinets and Suits

The other two terms frequently used in relation to colocation data center space are cabinets and suits. A cabinet is an enclosure that houses one or multiple racks. A business may want to lease an entire cabinet mainly for security reasons, or they may share a cabinet with other customers.

A suit is a large, locked space within a data center. They are enclosed with metal cages or glass walls. It usually contains several cabinets and offers enhanced security. 

Coloco offers colocation service in Washington DC and the Baltimore area. Both half-rack and full-rack space are available at our world-class data centers at an affordable rate. Our racks are locked and fully secure. Visit Coloco to know more about our different plans and even more about space allocation.