Tag Archives: small space server racks

Zen and the Art of Running a Data Center

canstockphoto4912969by TechRack Systems

Chances are you and your team work hard to ensure that your data center is set up and maintained properly, but did you ever think about seeking advice on how to make it not just more energy efficient but also more energetically balanced? That just might be possible with the ancient art of feng shui, the Chinese philosophical system of environmental harmony.

Although it might seem odd for ideas that are thousands of years old to be applicable to the care and maintenance of data centers that were invented only a few decades ago, but many of the general principles of feng shui just make good common sense. The principle of repairing or fixing anything that is broken, cracked, or rotting isn’t just a good idea but is also a professional imperative. Another obvious maxim is to clear away all clutter, easy to understand but hard to do!

Maybe less applicable is the suggestion to make your space beautiful (“Live with what you love!”) and to bring in nature, although maybe a plant or two in the entryway is a good idea. It has the added fortune of satisfying the recommendation to make your entryway enticing – after all, that’s how the chi gets in. Chi is the basic energy of the universe, kind of like The Force…and who doesn’t want more of that?

But it’s not just about rearranging your server racks and sweeping out dust. Peace of data mind also comes from within. Our “monkey mind” can distract us with inner questions, so here’s some advice from the ancient masters to put you in that ZEN state of mind.

Q: Do I need an emergency back-up generator?
A: “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”  – Marie Curie

Q: What is the rated floor weight limit for my server racks?
A: “Life is more or less a lie, but then again, that’s exactly the way we want it to be.”  – Bob Dylan

Q: What is the best way to ensure facilities have dust-contained, raised floors?
A: Learn to wish that everything should come to pass exactly as it does.”  – Epictetus

Q: How do I install fiber network cables into the server cabinets?
A: “I’d love to give you something but what would help?”  – Ikkyu

Q: What is the best way to configure my data center power systems?
A: “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”  – Confucius

Q: How can I get more airflow through equipment racks?
A: “Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place.”  – Lao Tzu

Q: What’s the advantage of fully enclosed cabinets versus open racks?
A: “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.”  – William Shakespeare

Q: I have my computer equipment in front of an air conditioning unit and yet the equipment still runs hot. Why and how can I fix it?
A: “Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”  – Pablo Picasso

Q: Where should I place perforated floor tiles, in relation to small server racks, in order to maximize air floor and cooling?
A: “Your duty is to choose, not to choose this or that.”  – Zen Koan

Q: How often do I need to check aging equipment to ensure it’s in good working order?
A: “Man who stands on hill with his mouth open will wait a long time for roast duck to drop in.”  – Confucius

Q: What’s the best approach to upgrading older server racks?
A: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  – Lao Tzu

Thoughts from the old masters and TechRack Systems: techrack.com; 888-266-3577.

Computer Server Industry Changes: What Do IT Professionals Need to Know?

Hardware and Data Securityby TechRack Systems

“Change happens.” The server industry is no stranger to this fact after experiencing decades of computing growth, new technologies, and evolving company business practices. As these shifts continue to transform the industry, there are four key areas that affect the way servers are purchased and used for data storage today.

High Security Concerns: Hacking and cyber-crimes, such as employee data theft and identity theft, are front and center and a real threat to companies of all sizes and in all industries. It means that there is a need to secure both the physical computing assets and the data itself. To respond to the alarming rise in all types of computing theft, there are numerous physical and tech-driven devices available to keep out intruders, including secured server cabinet racks, USB port locks, cage and data storage room locks, and biometric identification devices. We can anticipate the arrival of more security devices as well, as hackers and thieves continue to plague the industry, particularly around cyber-crimes.

Increased Laws and Mandates: Each year, a growing number of city, state, and federal codes, and ordinances are used to regulate the data privacy of individuals. With the proliferation of computing devices and wireless communications, there is an increased desire to protect citizen’s rights, whether through government-mandated HIPAA requirements for medical records, or to secure data that is used by the financial industry. Every business that deals with regulated data—from small offices to those with large data centers—is responsible for knowing and following these regulations. Breaking these laws can result in fines and other penalties, as well as the possibility of class-action lawsuits when data has been compromised.

Shrinking But Smarter Equipment: There was a time when huge mainframe computers were spread across entire buildings and took up the largest footprint within a company. That has changed significantly. Computing equipment is now much lighter, is more powerful, and can provide increased functionality with much less real estate. With that, there is more peripheral equipment in use these days, such as firewalls, touch panels, and telecom devices. For many businesses, this means using smaller server cabinets and storing them in out-of-the-way areas (under the desk, in corners, on walls etc.) For larger businesses, such as hospitals, computing power is likely decentralized in multiple areas with larger locking racks and the data may still be tied to one or more mainframes. Which leads to our final big change…

Cloud-Based Computing: A lot of companies are now operating in “the cloud.” It is by far, the biggest information and data storage shift, as many businesses are deploying cloud-based applications and software, and are utilizing this for data storage. For small companies, this can help reduce computer equipment; larger ones tend to benefit most, as they can decrease their on-site computing requirements and gain more flexibility, reduce costs, and increase scalability. Cloud computing also offers a good option for disaster recovery planning. Though cloud computing has its benefits, there are still concerns around security and safety that will need to be addressed.

These four changes—increased security needs, additional data privacy regulations, more compact computing equipment, and the rise of cloud-based computing—are continuing to shape the present and future of the computer server industry. Watch this blog for additional updates. For questions about how these trends impact your server rack and computer cabinet requirements, contact sales@techrack.com or our website (http://www.techrack.com).

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.

Keep Your Eye on These Server Trends in 2014

Server Rack Trends 2014

by TechRack Systems

Each year brings new designs, innovations, and trends to the server industry and 2014 is no exception. As server equipment becomes more optimized and energy-efficient, the supporting server racks must be more versatile than ever before. That means the purchasing consideration process becomes more complex when evaluating your future data center and small office computer rack needs.

Here are four key words to guide you in your purchasing decisions: Disruption, Density, Integration, and Cloud. Let’s explore further…

1. Disruption: We’ve all heard of “disruptive innovation” when it comes to new technologies—they bring sudden changes in technology that force businesses to adapt or risk losing revenue or even their company altogether. With that, companies often fall into three categories: a preference to be risk-averse and stick to the mainstream; a tendency to take moderate risks to enhance their business; or the willingness to take big risks with the eye on the prize of bigger goals, expansion, and revenue. Which path you decide to take will depend on your company’s size, financial situation, and future plans. These characteristics also drive how well your data center will likely react to the change.

2. Density: As technologies advance, it’s becoming the norm to consolidate more servers and related computing equipment onto the same chassis. That’s good news for budgeting a server approach—it means you can fit more equipment onto the same racks and cabinets, and will likely save both money and space. And for small businesses, this means utilizing an approach that will maximize space and will keep server equipment in a contained area and organized efficiently. Examples of this are small 6U-18U computer racks and wall racks.

3. Integration: A server rack can have all the promise of improved efficiency and performance, but it won’t be very effective if it doesn’t integrate seamlessly into your current equipment and component setup. In other words, be sure that any integration plans for the future are complimentary to your existing server configuration. The fact that new technologies are available is not reason enough for the investment. Timing plays a factor in integration too—you may want to wait until existing technologies are in sync with your business goals like expansion, reallocating office space, or even a move to a new location.

4. Cloud: This could be the biggest game changer of the bunch. Big data is only getting “bigger” in nearly every industry, and the number of data centers specializing in cloud server and storage needs is increasing by leaps and bounds each year. In fact, a number of vendors are anticipating building servers that are designed specifically for cloud computing use. If you don’t have a plan in place to integrate cloud computing into your business model, now is the time to figure out if a strategy is needed for the future and how that will impact your purchasing decisions.

These four trends in technology—disruption, density requirements, system integration, and cloud requirements—will be important levers in your server rack buying strategies in 2014. Work with your server vendor to create the best plan to meet your data center or small office requirements. For more information, contact TechRack Systems, info@techrack.com, or view our Website.

Four Reasons for 4-Post Racks

4 post server rack       4-Post Server Racks 

by TechRack Systems

In TechRack’s last post we gave the 411 on 2-post racks, their features and customization options. This time, we’re all about 4-post racks: A steady workhorse, 4-post racks are the perfect match to organize typical servers and networking equipment in office or data center environments. 4-post racks are geared to support heavier weight loads and easily accommodate growing workspaces, as they are easily ganged together. The classic 4-post server rack provides lots of options to choose from.

As an economical alternative to an 4-Post server rack, one could utilize a Rack-to-Frame Conversion Kit, which uses adjustable horizontal braces to connect two relay racks together into a 4-post rack (Bonus: You can also use this conversion kit to secure any telco rack to the wall for added support).

Now, let’s begin with the basics: Typically, 4-post racks are left open or are used as the structural frame of server enclosures. They range in depth from 24” to 42”, and in usable rack space from 6U to 44U (12” – 84” overall height). A variety of styles are available, from small cabinets to large cabinets and wall mounted units (or you can even customize your own—more on this later). Let’s take a look at why 4-post racks dominate the industry:

1. Strength: While a knocked-down 2-post rack typically supports 750 lbs., evenly distributed, fully welded 4-Post server racks can handle more than double or triple that amount. Many options are available, such as the value cabinet, which can support up to 1,500 lbs; the corporate cabinet, which can store up to 2,000 lbs; and the enterprise cabinet, our strongest line, that can handle up to 2,500 lbs. Our fully welded units are Zone 4 seismic rated, UL Listed and made in the USA.

2. Flexibility: Think “out of the box” too for unusual or compact spaces. You might want to consider small floor racks, designed for free standing floor use (many sizes are suited to tabletops or under desks), ranging in height from 12″ to 36″ and in rack space from 6U to 18U. Or try wall mounted computer racks aimed at maximizing the wall space, with depths of 12”, 24”, and 30”; and outside heights of 24”, 36” and 48” respectively. (Note that these racks can fit all 19” rackmount equipment from most major manufacturers, including DELL, HP and others).

3. Customization: To get exactly what you want for your office or data center, opt to build your own cabinet configuration (in fact, you can come up with as many as you need). Techrack customers can take advantage of this unique service to support their specific configuration for their data systems, computers, servers, and telecom equipment. Choose from open 4-post racks to fully customizable server rack cabinets to fit any environment and requirements. As one example, if your situation requires partial ventilation, you can add a perforated door or a vented side panel.

4. Security: More than ever, security has become paramount in the data server market, with low-tech (as in locking doors) and high-tech solutions like biometric identification. Heavy-duty 4-post enclosures can provide protection and confidence to keep intruders out, thanks to features like fully welded steel frames and lockable doors, which are available in plexiglas and perforated metal, and also meet HIPAA and other potential security requirements.

To find about more about ordering a sturdy, versatile 4-post racks or enclosures, contact sales@techrack.com.

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