Top “Gotchas” When Buying Data Server Racks (Plan Ahead)
In our last few posts we discussed buying considerations for server racks. But what about special building or usage specifications when purchasing your computer and server racks? You may be familiar with some of these, but others could be potential pitfalls. Consider these five points that could make a big difference:
Ensure server racks will fit allotted space: It’s not unusual for office and data center employees to want server or small computer racks to be stored under their desks. To accommodate the needs of a data center however, the width and depth of the server enclosures must align exactly to the size of the floor tiles. This is because under the raised tiles are the air conditioning, power, and other utilities. Check the space configuration to determine if you need a left or right door swing for the cabinet. (TechRack Systems offers reversible door swings); and don’t forget to check for adequate space for the door to swing out in small areas.
Check codes and ordinances: There are dozens of codes and other requirements that vary from state to state and even community by community—ranging from fire codes to sprinkler systems, as to how close equipment can be to the ceiling, and much more. One important area that affects many parts of the U.S. is both seismic zone and UL ratings for cabinets and tie-downs. Remember that fire marshals may want to see proof of both. To meet seismic ratings, it’s best to purchase a server cabinet that has a fully-welded frame construction and tie-down points built in for floor anchoring, instead of units that require assembly and, which might create a risk during an earthquake (TechRack’s server racks are both seismic zone 4 rated and UL listed).
Keep your equipment cool: Depending on the equipment stored and its location, you may have to keep the air cool and circulating, or even kept in it’s own environmentally controlled space. If you have a large UPS running multiple servers, for instance, it may give off extensive heat. Depending on how much equipment you have, you may even want to have a dedicated AC system for the unit. To address heat issues, most data server cabinets purchased have perforated metal doors both on the front and rear. The air vacuum created by a fan will help draw in air and circulate the hot air up and out. It’s also important to ensure that there is adequate air space between pieces of computer equipment. It’s recommended that they be at least one rack space (1.75”) between each other.
Understand governmental purchase requirements: There are several considerations here: Some companies and governmental agencies require that cabinets and other data server equipment be manufactured in the U.S. This is serious business and is often specified in contracts. Orders can even be revoked if they don’t comply (TechRack’s products are made in the U.S.).
Another consideration for governmental purchases is the shipping of equipment to secure locations, such as military bases. Be aware that it will take longer, require more paperwork, and the details of the order may be complicated due to the secure nature of the location. Find out the exact destination, if it has a loading dock or receiving center, and any other important requirements upfront. It’s best to work with a known shipping company that delivers to these types of locations regularly.
Keep Data Racks safe, sound, and secure: As we wrote about in a previous post, it is optimal to have a well-planned and integrated security practice in place for your data server equipment. And for some offices and data centers, it’s not just a preference—it’s a requirement. Physical security methods include locks built into cabinet handles via combination lock or key (some may also require sides that lock, for extra security). All of TechRack’s cabinets are locking. There are also specialty locks that may be required (i.e. U.S. government or companies with highly confidential data). Biometrics, also known as fingerprint ID, is another method or reinforcement to security. Whatever security route you go, know the requirements before you purchase equipment.
Prepare now and save later
The last thing you want is a surprise when making a costly, long-term purchase like data server racks. Spot potential problems before they happen. This will help you plan and execute a flawless purchase process. If you have any questions about special equipment requirements or a product inquiry, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.