Thursday, October 25, 2018


     Picking up the asterisk from yesterday's post:

     * Yes, "rack room," or occasionally "rack compartment," looking not very much different from a modern-day server farm.  I was Chief on the freighter Billy How before things were quite so digital, though even then, the early '90s, it was well begun and any fool could see the trend was only going to grow.  Still, the end is the same; then it was mostly screwdriver adjustments with oscilloscopes and meters to see the result; now it's all keyboards and screens for the same job. 

     "Rack" is an overused word.  Small to medium sized equipment gets installed in racks nineteen inches wide and standardized to a pattern that goes back to late 19th-Century telephone equipment; when we had computer and audio tapes aboard starships, they got "racked" on the machines instead of "mounted" and "re-racked" instead of rewound.  You even sleep in a rack -- well, you do if you're a regular grew member; as Chief Engineer I rated a compartment of my own, much too handy to Engineering and nearly large enough to turn around in.  Somehow the meaning is clear in context -- and the galley never serves rack of lamb. 


Chuck Pergiel said...

I didn't know 19" racks were that old. I do know that the mounting screws, while apparently normal, aren't used anywhere else in the world.

Rick T said...

4 post racks with RIAA-pattern 3 square holes on 1.75" spacing (yes, Imperial) are the industry standard for IT server/storage gear, with the two post versions (with drilled/tapped holes) reserved for network switches and patch panels.

I think that is why a lot of audio and video gear are the heights they are.

Roberta X said...

Other way around, Rick T -- the 1.75" vertical increment was standard at least as far back as the 1920s!

Rick T said...

That's what I meant.. The IT industry for once didn't reinvent the wheel (with 5 random length sides) but used existing hardware.

We in IT did move away from drilled & tapped rail holes to big square ones you can hang a rail kit from before bolting it in.

Rack depths and widths are a whole other issue. A lot of new gear doesn't fit in 1075x600mm racks, we are going to 1200x800mm to have space for cables and power without creating rat's nests for the next tech to wrestle with..