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Full and Partial Rack

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If you're exploring the options available in server data center colocation services, full or partial rack colocation can be a great way to go. But what's the difference between the options available at a data center? Let's take a look at a couple commonly used options for full and partial racks.

What's a rack?

A rack is a shelf system that acts as housing for servers, telecommunications technology and similar technology. Built to standard widths of 19" and to accommodate several rack units (U) in height, a rack allows different components to be placed into it. Component height can vary, but is standardized upon how many U spaces it takes up, and they can be slid into a server rack shelf, making switching out failed components a quick process. The racks contain both Internet and power connectivity and are placed in the buildings and suites in a correct way to provide optimized cooling.

What's the difference between a full and partial rack?

As an option in data center colocation, you can explore possibilities from server partial racks (you are only renting the number of "U's" you need) to full network rack solutions. Depending on what's available in the data center you're investigating, you may be able to find smaller server racks as well. The standardization of the rack system means you can rent as many U spaces as are needed in a rack.

A full rack means you're renting all the U spaces in that rack, which can be helpful if your business needs are anticipated to change quickly. If you need your own servers and are expecting more steady growth, renting a partial rack means that you'll only pay for the space you're using, in terms of how many U spaces are utilized by your hardware in the full rack.

What are the benefits of using full or partial server racks?

Because rack systems are standardized, they allow you to only use what you actually need in terms of space. This same quality also means that it's fairly straightforward to add capacity quickly, allowing you to adjust to rapidly changing business conditions. These benefits are in addition to the usual benefits of a data center, which frequently includes power, network and power redundancy, and physical security.

If you're anticipating rapid growth in your business, you may want to start with by renting a full rack, even if you're not using all the U slots that are available. By doing so, you make it easier for technicians at the data center to quickly upgrade your service without having to swap out components as may need to happen if you rent a partial rack. Some data center services will offer either shared and/or dedicated bandwidth depending on which type of service you are renting.

Hopefully this has helped clear up some of your questions about full and partial server racks in data colocation centers. If you still have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact us. At, we understand that selecting the perfect data center services can be difficult for many business owners and entrepreneurs.

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