Browse Definitions:

rack unit

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A rack unit (abbreviated as U, less commonly seen as RU) is a unit of measurement applied to equipment racks and the servers, disk drives and other devices that they contain. One U is 1.75 inches (44.45mm); the standard rack, at 19 inches, is 42U.

Rack servers and other hardware designed to be rack-mounted are manufactured in multiples of 1.75 inches and specified in multiples of rack units, usually 1U, 2U, 3U or 4U. Racks are designed to hold equipment of those sizes. The holes in the mounting flanges of racks are arranged in groups of three, and that three-hole grouping is also called a rack unit.

Rack units for equipment is considered maximum dimensions. In practice, devices are often made slightly smaller than the specified U value to allow a little space. A device specified as 2U, for example, may in reality measure 3.44 inches in height, rather than the 3.5 inch multiple of 1.75.

See an introductory video on rack mounting equipment:

This was last updated in October 2016

Continue Reading About rack unit

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.


File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...




  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

  • all-flash array (AFA)

    An all-flash array (AFA), also known as a solid-state storage disk system, is an external storage array that uses only flash ...

  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.