Tag Archives: space considerations

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.

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.

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.