Rack Diagram

What is a rack diagram? A rack diagram is a two-dimensional elevation drawing showing the organization of specific equipment on a rack. It is drawn to scale and may show the front and the rear elevation of the rack layout.

Rack diagram example

Typical Uses of Rack Diagrams

Rack diagrams can be extremely valuable when selecting equipment or racks to buy, since they are drawn to scale and can help determine what size to choose. In addition, a rack diagram allows for efficient organization prior to moving the actual equipment.

How to Create a Rack Diagram

Installing equipment in a rack without planning in advance can create issues. You may not have adequate space for equipment, cables, and patch panels. Creating a rack diagram can help you plan and organize your equipment in an optimal fashion.

Here are some tips for creating a rack diagram:

  • Determine the purpose. Determine the equipment and racks to be organized. It may be useful to write a list of each item and its measurements. Also consider any special needs of a piece of equipment such as air flow.
  • Draw to scale. A relay rack typically uses universal hole spacing at 0.625, 0.625, and 0.5 inches. Each of these sets of holes is what is known as a rack-mount unit (RMU) of 1.75 inches. If you're drawing your rack diagram by hand you'll need to know the size of each component part and convert it into RMUs to allocate rack cabinet space. SmartDraw provides preformatted symbols for commonly used components such as servers, switches, patch panels and standard rack cabinets. This makes building a rack diagram much faster and more accurate than trying to draw one by hand.
  • Create the rack. Draw the racks on the page first. They should be drawn to scale exactly and should show every feature of the actual rack in real life.
  • Arrange equipment. Draw each piece of equipment to scale. Placing a label inside the area of each will be useful for keeping track of them while organizing. Begin placing equipment on the racks where it will fit and continue rearranging until the desired organization is reached. It is good practice to place equipment that will be accessed frequently, such as patch panels, at eye level or slightly below. This will make servicing much faster and easier.
  • Allow space for cabling. Don't forget to allocate space for cable troughs and raceways. This is particularly important in a multi-rack environment. The dead space at the top of the rack is often a good place for cable management.
  • Use your rack diagram. Use the diagram you have made to arrange your equipment on your rack. Since the diagram is drawn to scale, everything should fit together as it does on the diagram.