Tag Archives: purchasing

The definitive #IT checklist (for purchasing #server #racks)

canstockphoto20027517by TechRack Systems

Ever heard the phrase “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance?” This old expression is as true with server racks as it is with any other important company purchase. No matter what type of rack mount equipment is required for your installation—whether it be for a small business, medium-size office or large data center—the planning stage will be crucial for determining the right configuration requirements. To help guide you through the process, here are eight points to consider when you evaluate your needs and before you order:

#1 Determine the correct space/size for your server rack.
Measuring rack space is not the time (nor place) for guess-timates. Take the time to evaluate all of your IT equipment needs and know the exact dimensions of each component that will be housed in the server rack. Note: the inside dimension (usable space) of the server rack is what you have to work with. While the outside dimension (footprint) of a computer rack is NOT the usable space, it is important in deciding the placement of the rack

#2 Know the server lingo, local codes and infrastructure needs.
Familiarize yourself with the latest terminology of the server rack industry (The Techrack website is a good place to start). Research local codes in your city and state; infrastructure requirements, (such as power, A/C, space, sound, environmental factors); and corresponding load factors and construction of the computer cabinets, (such as static load capacity); whether you will need welded frames (which are stronger than knocked-down frames); and what material to choose (steel versus aluminum).

#3 Do thorough research on vendors.
Of course you’ll want to do business with a company that provides quality products, has competitive and fair pricing and has available products. Perhaps more importantly, verify that your supplier will provide excellent customer service before, during, and after your purchase. Insure your vendor has an extensive knowledge of server equipment and can partner with you to help make the best purchasing decisions for your requirements and budget.

#4 Get the right people involved in purchasing decisions.
It’s not as simple as just getting the purchasing department to place your order. That alone could lead to ordering an incorrect data rack size, leaving out accessories, and not providing all of the needs of the end user. Be sure to have your IT professional review and preferably place the order. Be sure to obtain pre-approval for the space allocation and expenditure for the server rack, even for the small equipment enclosures.

#5 Factor logistics into the delivery.
Consider all details of your product receiving situation: for instance, do you have a dock? Will you need a lift gate truck? Are there call notifications in place? Is the delivery going to a secure location: to a school, construction site or government facility? Is there an accurate phone number for the receiving party on delivery day? Providing the supplier with all relevant information for your company delivery process when you order will ensure smooth equipment delivery.

#6 Know your rack equipment’s specs.
It is critical to be very familiar with product certifications and any other information that could affect which server racks and cabinets should be ordered. These include: country of origin, seismic rating, and UL listing. Otherwise you run the risk of receiving a product that doesn’t meet required specifications. This is most important for government projects, as they usually have specific standards of certification.

#7 Don’t forget about customization.
When putting together your order requirements, also consider the customization options: color(s) you might want, air filtration needs, noise dampening requirements, casters, ventilation fans, cable management, shelving, and any security features that may be critical to include.

#8 Allow processing time for your order.
Once your configuration requirements are final and you have had a conversation with your vendor about the order details, make sure to allow, time to check the your specs, and have the vendor get back to you with a quote for the final landed cost and timeline.

Investing this time and effort during this pre-purchase phase helps you avoid unnecessary pitfalls along the way. For a personal evaluation of your computer server rack needs, visit www.techrack.com or contact: sales@techrack.com / 888-266-3577.

Top Five Ways To Save Money on Server Racks

spendsaveimage by TechRack Systems

Server racks contain the nuts and bolts of your business—literally!—and thus represent one of the most important purchases for your data center or office. To get the most value for your dollar, here are five ways to conserve cash when you’re evaluating server cabinets.

1. Measure Twice, Buy Once

Before doing anything, all components and computers should be measured to ensure they fit into the usable space of the server rack—not a ballpark estimate. There are important dimensions to consider:

  • The footprint of a server rack (the outside dimensions) is not the same as the usable inside dimensions, which are smaller by 3 to 6 inches.
  • Be sure to select, measure, and calculate all aspects of the proposed placement area for the server rack, and take into account any restrictions, codes, or door swing issues you might have.
  • Always leave at least 1U clearance (1.75″ between components for better airflow and heat dissipation). Never go to the max that you can squeeze into a server rack, it will end up costing you later. Which brings us to our next tip…

2. Shop For Quality, Not Just a Price Tag

As with any purchase, the value is only as good as its reliability. If it has to be repaired or replaced (or there is a lack of ability to do so), the low price was not worth the hassle and cost later. Some of the best cabinets are made in the U.S. with American steel. Look for racks that are made with fully welded frames versus those that are knocked down and assembled on-site. You’ll also want sturdy doors of carbon steel with all welded construction. In the end, spending a little more upfront for quality will save you later.

Here are some guidelines for computer cabinet specs to keep in mind:

  • With vertical mounting rails—12-gauge cold-rolled steel or heavier, with holes that
    meet EIA spacing
  • For 48” tall to 84” tall computer racks —carbon steel frames of at least 12 gauge
  • For full height cabinets—a static load rating of at least 2,000 lbs.
  • Small server racks between 6U and 18U—with fully welded sides, top, and bottom

3. Plan For Changes in the Future

A very small rack or a wall rack may be enough to hold all of your components for now, but what if your business grows this year? Or you hire more employees? What if you move to a different location with a new configuration? Any number of factors can affect data center and small office plans.

If you don’t consider the possibility of expansion (or moving), you might end up spending more money for future additions or replacements, not to mention potential freight and installation costs. But if you opt to buy a taller or deeper server rack from the beginning, it’s only slightly more costly than a smaller unit, which can save you money and more planning down the road.

4. Choose Full-featured Cabinets for Adaptability

Future considerations (and savings) don’t stop with size alone: Start factoring in all the “moving parts” now. To maximize floor space, consider cabinets with flush mounted side panels and doors, both top and bottom. Look for 24” wide cabinets, as they will likely match the widths of the floor tiles in the computer rooms where you plan to install them. If you have multiple components bayed together, consider cabinets that are joined by a top mount frame coupler with pre-drilled holes in the cabinet frames—this will avoid fix-it projects down the line (note: be sure that cage nuts or rack screws are included with your purchase).

Next priority is ventilation: Our top picks are cabinets with open bases to allow for a raised floor ventilation option. And check availability of solid or vented side panels, as well as optional split rear doors. To keep maintenance simple, look for field-reversible front and rear doors that don’t require tools to change the door swing.

Other potential elements that can save you down the line:

  • Capability to add up to 4 fans in the cabinet top
  • Cabinets that are seismic zone 4 rated and that are UL Listed
  • Cabinets with both seismic tie-downs and caster mount features as well as 4-point
    leveling

5. Don’t Forget Safe and Secure

None of the above factors matters if your cabinets are not secure and your data is lost or equipment is stolen. Take stock of your server cabinets with the following checklist:

  • Do your cabinets have lockable front and rear doors?
  • Are your side panels secured from the inside of the cabinet? Or do they have available locking, quick-release side panels?
  • Will your cabinet doors accommodate electronic, proximity, or combination locks?

Security is not something you want to scrimp on. The money you spend now far outweighs the issues you could have later.

For a personal evaluation of your computer server needs, contact sales@techrack.com, or visit our Website, www.techrack.com.

Data Storage and Data Privacy Rules, What Do I Need to Know?

Computer Data Security

Know the Laws for Data Privacy Before Buying Server Racks

by TechRack Systems

Did you know that there are many privacy rules that impact the way that you can store your data? This is important when evaluating options for large server racks and even small computer cabinet purchases. Many large organizations have an IT infrastructure and measures in place to safeguard these privacy rules. However, smaller businesses and offices often don’t have an IT department, so they may not be aware of these security requirements. Whether it’s government-mandated HIPAA laws that protect medical information, laws that oversee the financial industry, or government regulations that affect military contractors, knowing the rules will not only safeguard data, it will shield you from violating any applicable laws.

As a starting point, across the board for both online and off-line businesses, installations that are subject to confidential data requirements must keep their server racks and cabinets in either a locked room with limited access or in an enclosed space, or under lock and key in an open area. For both situations, only authorized personnel should be able to access this private data. Though it may seem “overly protective” in a one-person office, these laws mandate this regardless of the size of a business (and imagine if someone broke in and stole the computers).

So What Information Needs to Be Protected?

  • Medical: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, protects individually identifiable health information from being released against a patient’s will. This means personal medical data needs to be secured at all times, whether in an individual doctor’s office or a large hospital complex.
  • Military Contractors: Just as the U.S. government has strict regulations on handling sensitive data and classified material, military contractors are subjected to the same stringent requirements as an extension of the government. From office equipment logs to personnel records to matters of national security, the data must be in a physically secure storage area. (On a similar note, delivering server racks to both military installations and their government contractors can mean cutting through more red tape than deliveries to traditional, commercial locations. See more here from TechRack’s previous post.)
  • Financial Records: Banking regulations, acts of congress, and FTC consumer protections require that financial information be stored securely. These laws apply to any company hosting personal financial information: banks, brokerage companies, retirement planners, insurance companies, and those that provide credit scores, to name a few. Data protection has come under more scrutiny in recent years given the increased frequency of data breaches coupled with the rise of hackers. It also underscores the importance of starting off with a strong foundation to secure the physical data.

In addition to these rules and regulations, follow these common sense, practical guidelines when hosting confidential information in data servers and cabinets:

  • Store private data in work areas that are protected against damage from physical hazards, including fires, floods, and earthquakes
  • Ensure that your computer inventory levels are carefully monitored on a regular basis (and that backup measures are in place should a disaster occur)
  • Authorize the minimal number of employee access to restricted, secure storage areas
  • Make sure that you use USB Port Locks
  • Consider Security Wire Racks

To find out more about secure data storage options, check out our locking server and cabinet selection.

2-Post Computer Server Racks “101”

2-post server rack 2-Post Computer Server Racks “101”

by TechRack Systems

One size does not fit all when it comes to server racks. The classic 2-Post Rack (also known as a “telco rack” or “relay rack”) is the most economical way to store 19-inch rack mount equipment, such as computer hubs, power backups, and rack mounted servers. In our two-part series, we will discuss characteristics of a 2-post relay rack (versus a 4-post rack), available configurations, and customization options (something TechRack uniquely offers).

2 Post Racks are often used instead of the conventional Server Racks, Computer Cabinets or Wire shelving Units, but they do have a few limitations.

Security and Temperature
Because 2-Post units are generally set up to be open, one must consider both security and air flow requirements in determining where they are to be situated. In terms of security, consider whether the equipment requires security, if the rack location will be in a small office so that only one person or a few people have access to it or if the racks are housed in a secure room or a “fenced in” area which provides the most security. For equipment that needs constant air flow due to high temperatures, open racks are best suited to meet this requirement, especially if they are installed in non-congested spaces.

Strength. No Matter How Light.
Any two-post rack you purchase should be sturdy and strong, whether it is used for storing light or heavy equipment (note: standard weight capacity is typically 750 pounds, evenly distributed). Techrack, as an example, only sells heavy-duty steel racks with upright channels, outfitted with heavy-duty and top-and-bottom aluminum angles. These are of knocked-down (KD) construction. For storage of even greater loads, consider the use of fully welded 4-Post open frames.

Know Your Equipment Layout
When configuring your relay rack requirements, there are a variety of heights available to accommodate office or data center equipment needs, such as 48″, 68″ or 84″. When it comes to rack spaces (“U”s), these range from 24U, to 45U. Note: 1U = 1.75 inches.

Don’t Forget Add-ons
There are some state and city ordinances that require bracing for earthquake-prone areas. Techrack offers universal earthquake bracing kits so that a rack can be secured to the ceiling or wall. Another method for securing a rack is a floor bracing kit (with seismic tie-down openings). An additional potential server rack requirement to consider is whether mobility around the office or data center is required. Techrack offers specially made relay rack rollers for this option (note: weight capacity is 300 pounds). It is unsafe to attach wheels or casters directly to the base of a relay rack.

Expand Your Space
If you want to have more room for equipment space altogether, you can also create a double telco rack by connecting two 2-post racks together to create a 4-post open rack. This method uses adjustable horizontal braces to connect the two relay racks together (more on this in our next blog post on 4-post racks).

Tailor to Your Exact Needs
One of the unique offerings Techrack provides in the industry is the ability to customize relay racks to meet specific needs that are not “standard equipment needs,” for instance, a rack with computer shelves, blank panels and power strips. In other words, you can take a modular approach to building your rack to create exactly what suits your needs. Customization can be wanted for a variety of reasons: an unusual configuration or shape of equipment, a working environment that may expand in the future, or having an odd office or data center footprint.

TechRack makes it easy to order customized 2-post racks; just select the frame you want and then add on the components you desire.

To find out more about ordering 2-post relay racks, contact sales@techrack.com.

What Kind of Computer Server Rack Do I Need?

TechRackPhotoBlog3a   Rack ‘em Up! (For Your Data Center, That is)

by TechRack Systems

In our last post we discussed buying considerations for the most popular of data center equipment items—server cabinets—the enclosure itself. But what other structural items should you evaluate as part of your purchase? A perfect complement to large computer cabinets, and sometimes in place of them, are racks of various styles to accommodate a range of data server configurations: from open environments to secure areas, from those that require mobility of equipment to compact work spaces, and much more. The possibilities are endless.

These racks can handle diverse equipment such as servers, computers, monitors, telco devices, and keyboards. Understanding each type of rack will help determine which are the most appropriate for your data center or office space. Here are some considerations before buying:

Relay (Telco) Racks

Typically lightweight and sized for 19-inch rack mount equipment, these racks can also accommodate heavier telco equipment. They are available in a variety of sizes and in heights ranging from 24 to 45 rack spaces, depending on your requirements. Relay racks are typically used for mounting hubs, power backup, and rack mount servers. They can also be configured to create a 4-post rack by using adjustable horizontal braces to connect two relay racks together, so flexibility is built in.

Wire Racks (Stationary/Mobile/Security)

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to store heavy-duty equipment, chrome wire racks might be your solution. Available in stationary or mobile configurations, these racks  come in various heights, typically 63 or 74 inches in height, and in depths from 18 to 30 inches. Most open wire racks are used to store computers, but can store other data center equipment as well (note: TechRack’s heavier wire and robotically welded design renders them 25 percent stronger than the competitors).

Another type of wire rack is specifically designed for security. Security Carts are enclosed and used when storing or transporting items that can be a target for thievery. These racks come in several sizes as noted above (including a mini version).

Heavy Duty Server Racks

When it comes to managing your larger equipment set-up, heavy-duty server racks can be used in a vertical configuration for a variety of work areas. Comprised of strong steel, the shelves hold up to 450 pounds of load each and come in modular configurations, so multiple units can be connected together. Units are 78 inches high and the bottom rollout shelf is 26 inches deep (check out our photo gallery for ideas).

Work Center Units

These open work center units combine a storage area and integrated work surface to house equipment and serve as a workspace environment. They are pre-configured with a 36-inch work surface and a 26-inch-deep bottom rollout shelf. The best part is their flexibility: it is easy to create your own tailored configuration by adding or subtracting any component to the workstation (more ideas in our  concept  gallery).

Small Space Server Racks

For that small space in the office, or even in a closet, you might consider using a compact server rack. This is ideal for smaller data centers, tight office spaces and under the desk use.

A lot to think about? Yes. But having choices enables you to  find exactly what you need for your data center or office space.

Next up, we’ll discuss special requirements for your data center that could affect the equipment you purchase.

Image:  Copyright Can Stock Photo

How to Buy a Server Rack or Computer Cabinet

blogpost2image

Top Considerations When Buying Data Server Cabinets and Racks

by TechRack Systems

You might think that buying a computer server cabinet is a pretty straightforward process, but when you consider all the parameters of the purchase, it requires more than a cursory evaluation. In our two part series, we’ll talk about what considerations you should take into account before purchasing server cabinets—from the outside in.

True Cabinet Measurements

To start with, when determining server measurements, you’ll need to know the sizes of all the pieces of equipment you wish to install. Take into account the additional depth, width, and height around the equipment— typically this will be 3-5 inches additional, for proper air flow. (Check with your manufacturer for specific measurement requirements.)

Bigger is Usually Better

Plan for the future at the beginning of the search process: consider a long view of your cabinet requirements instead of just current needs. Even if you only have a few computers for your cabinet now, in a year your business needs may change and grow, other equipment might need to be added. The rule of thumb is: it’s better to spend the budget now for a slightly larger computer cabinet model than to have to purchase a second cabinet because you’ve out grown your purchase.

Sturdy and Strong

Strength is also a factor in a server cabinet purchase. The general recommendation, whether it’s for a small office environment or large data center, is to go with a fully welded steel frame, unibody-type (one piece) to ensure stability in all circumstances. Knocked-down aluminum units, typically from overseas, are plentiful on the market, but they are not nearly as stable. Another issue with these types of cabinets is that it is often difficult to find replacement parts, since all manufacturers have customized, unique styles, sizes, and shapes. In the end, there is a high probability you’ll spend more money finding parts for your current ones instead of buying new cabinets. Again, the upfront investment of buying quality usually pays for itself.

Used Units Can Spell Trouble

Similarly, a word of caution on used cabinets: here you may also end up paying less initially for your purchase, but you’ll have the same problems finding parts later on the open market that are the exact fit your unique cabinet. The saying “penny wise and pound foolish” applies here as well.

Things Can Heat Up

Another consideration when evaluating server cabinets is that that there may be heat build-up from server cabinet equipment. The ability to exhaust and dissipate this continual heat is key. Measures to control this will depend on how much airflow is needed for your equipment. Several solutions are to consider a cabinet that does not have front doors or a computer enclosure that contains a fan to expel air. Another option is a server cabinet with a perforated metal door, which allows constant airflow through the unit. (Generally speaking, if you are going to get cabinet doors, the safest bet is to go with a perforated metal door to keep airflow high and risk at a minimum.)

Custom Configured Cabinets? Yes!

But what if after all of your searching, you can’t seem to find the right cabinet or rack for your specific requirements? Well there’s a solution for that too: You can build your own cabinet. TechRack Systems is one of the few vendors on the market to offer this unique service. Those hard to match, custom cabinet components can be added to meet your exacting needs—including the basic equipment and all of the accessories. You’ll also save time, effort, and money because you will get exactly what you want, and nothing that you don’t.

In a future post, we’ll look at buying considerations for different types of racks, as well as special considerations for equipment purchases.

Image:  Copyright Can Stock Photo