Organization and categorization is in our nature. We, as humans (and a scattered few cable monkeys) are designed to organize. From early childhood we stack the cups, group the abacus beads, or in some cases, not mentioning my name – separate the building blocks by size, shape, color, pegs, and which ones were the most effective in tripping my parents. Humans like to keep things organized. Data Center people are just a little more highly evolved organizers.
Rack Solutions has broken down the fourth wall with their full product line of wall mounted organization. Most people have or at least know someone who has a wall mounted television. Now you can take that just a little further. Mount your monitor, keep it off the real estate on your desk, mount your pc – keep it off the floor and give your dog more room – Mount your keyboard even, laptop, or get an all in one package you can mount or just take with you.
It’s called a wall mounted PC rack, and mounting your PC to the wall will keep it up and help keep dust build up lower, keeps the PC out of the way. However, IT guys tend to think outside the box and one of the more creative ways of using a wall mount was on a desktop. A customer had actually mounted our wall mount to the outside wall of his wooden paneled desk, allowing him to keep the PC off the ground and away from any liquid (since he worked in the food industry sometimes liquids spilled). It also gave access so his floor could be mopped regularly as well.
Also you could mount your pc on a mobile rack, great for mobile stations you can move and plug in anywhere. Also great for AV departments in schools or hospitals, or food service, or anywhere where mobility counts.
If anyone has any other suggestions for great places to mount your PC or monitor, we would love to hear them. We are always on the lookout for innovative ideas. We also love hearing from you as well, I promise I have grown out of the tripping-people-with-Legos phase. . . Mostly.
Portable Server Rack
Short on required space – Big on innovation.
We live in a modular world. The business community is always moving- Trade shows – On site – Off site – Demonstrations — in most all industries we have a time and a place to have to be mobile. Albeit some businesses are more mobile than others; the fact remains – in every industry a little flexibility never hurt. There will always be the day where you wish you could pack up your IT department and take it with you somewhere, be that a client site or for your own personal amusement (Who couldn’t use a great game of pin the Cat 5 on the Network Admin?). That’s where a mobile server rack comes in handy.
Mobile Rack Benefits br>
• Caster’s give more flexibility
• Handles for easy packing
• Space saving
• Keeping the equipment accessible
• Better air flow
• Less superfluous packaging
Mobile Rack Uses br>
• Under desk rack
• Desktop rack – great for IT professionals and engineers
• Trade Shows
• Many more
Portable racks have standard casters, but can have heavy duty casters to push the weight (up to 540 lbs) and make it internally mobile. You can put computer monitors, laptops, printers, even smaller engineers on the server itself if storage is an issue. (Although take into consideration the 540 lb weight limit.) You can put front and rear locking covers for security and if security and storage is an issue, you can put a shelf inside to store your 19 inch devices and lock box as well while on the road.
Taking only 20 minutes to put together, the uses for this highly versatile and mobile server rack are endless. All of the tools and hardware necessary to get you started come with the kit, so there’s nothing else to worry about aside from what you are going to put inside it and which of your engineers or IT guys are worthy enough to claim it! It even comes with a vertical cable organizer, making life easier and cleaner on the go for everyone.
Taking your server on the road is great, but having the unit handy is great too. . You can put a portable server rack under the desk and use it for your high traffic hard drives or anything you need to pull on a regular basis. With the casters the rack becomes modular and can move from one area of the office to another, so you can open a whole new level of versatility in your IT department as well.
Open Rack versus Closed Rack
There are two basic kinds of server rack, and the battle between the two has been thick and furious with no set winner, no set loser – However there are battles won and lost on both sides.
Open Server Racks
• Cost much lower
• Ease of airflow
• More cost effective to ship lower quantities
• Movement is easier – though it’s no fun moving them while they are full!
• Moving them constructed is easier through doorways and low ceiling environments
• There are more standard sizes available
• They are easier to take apart
• They do require less space for storage
• Easier cable management
Enclosed Server Rack
• More Security – extremely important in some cases
• Aesthetically pleasing
• Ability to rent space more securely.
• Possible, but not designed, sound reduction.
Upon further research the open server rack has a huge following in implementation, and actual use and design. However, when asked what the preference is, without cost really being a factor, most IT professionals prefer the enclosed rack. It’s a finely divided line of preference versus practicality.
Open racks are going to have a lower cost; logically it’s a smaller amount of actual metal and product that goes into the making. This being the case, it’s easier to ship and stores in a much smaller area. However Rack Solutions has an ingenious shipping design for 6 or more of the enclosed racks that not only ships six to a pallet, but also stores flat as well. Despite that, however if the company is looking to store more than a few racks extra, the open rack is much more space effective to store.
Closed racks are prettier; I haven’t had anyone argue that point with me. Aesthetically it’s easier to look at the clean design, cords are hidden better. There are air flow management systems that work on the closed rack, and aren’t effective on the open racks because the flow of air doesn’t escape out of the sides like an open rack. An enclosed rack will reduce noise, but not by design by physics. There are solutions for noise reduction beyond just the metal wall blocks some sound. Beyond those, however, a closed door will muffle more sound.
However, all said and done — closed rack — open rack– it’s all about personal preference and company needs. If you have more questions on which you should get, give Rack Solutions a call – their experts will be happy to explain the differences along with pros and cons and depending on who you talk to their own personal opinions vary greatly as well.
- Live on infrastructure for life
- No need for proprietary fastening system
- Will not take up excess space
- Smooth Transition
- Lowest Cost
- Must be replaced with new chassis
- Issues with fastening patterns
- Increases overall cost of servers
- Increases time needed for server replacement
Average and universal are terms that should be given great consideration when used. For example, the average server life is 5 years. That statement is true, yet arguably false. The average lifespan on a server varies on load, usage, brand, quality and many other variables. For the sake of conversation however, we can put an average 5 year label on it, put a pin in the other argument and continue.
The average lifespan of a server rack has a comparable argument. Some military racks have circular screw holes that can wear out, but other than that, server racks don’t die (Now server racks have square holes with cage nuts and other hardware that is replaceable). Occasionally the need increases – whether it’s size or volume, but that’s the only way a server would be retired.
Rails however, are not so lucky. Each manufacturer has their own proprietary chassis. Each chassis has their own fastening system. Sometimes this is called the ‘spool’ or ‘shoulder nuts’, but the idea is the same, this is how it attaches to the rails.
Universal rails fix the problem of paying extra cost to replace the oem rails with new rails during every server replacement. This could save over a hundred dollars per server replacement or $20.00 a year on average per server chassis on your rack. While this may not seem like a lot, it (pardon the pun) racks up quickly.
Universal rails hold, on average, the same weight load as their OEM counter parts. With weight limits like 1u-45lb, 2u 75lb, and 3U-200lb weight limit it is comparable to the same weight limits on OEM rails, so weight isn’t a problem.
The only downside is that while you are saving a ton of money on replacing rails once every five years, you can’t slide a server out halfway, work on it then put it back. It is required that you pull the server all the way out and do whatever upgrades or work then put the server back.
However, this slight time negative is more than defrayed by the quick and versatile installation. There are quick rails that can be installed, moved or removed by one person. There are tool-less rails that almost literally just snap in. The universal rails are so quick and easy, once the first set is installed, the average IT professional never goes back to OEM.
There are many problems that arise from working in data centers. One of them is cable management. I hear a lot about the spaghetti bowl that is, or can be, the working environment of any person who is so lucky to work in a data center without proper cable management. We have all seen the spider web of cables that would make Spider-man dizzy. However is this really necessary? What can be done?
I had a long conversation with Rodger from Rack Solutions today about this very topic. Rodger was very candid and shed a whole new light on the topic, clearing away a lot of the ‘cobwebs’. Cable management doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact there are CMA’s or Cable Management Arms that can start out as little as $22 per U. However, people are always saying that they have overspent themselves on the other equipment and they will do the cable management later. It would be easier if they would use even zip ties or Velcro straps because more often than not, they never get back to the actual CMA and two or three years down the line another poor tech gets saddled with the monumental task of figuring out the cable system.
Why is cable management even necessary? Well there are two real reasons; the first reason is air flow. The second is cleanliness and organization. An overly cabled back area can restrict airflow, causing the hot air to not exit the server area. Alternatively, if a company takes their servers in and out a lot, it can be a hassle to not use cable management as then you have to unplug and re-plug in cables and they inevitably will fall and take forever to find.
There are several cable management options available on the market. The first that comes to mind is the Cable Management Arm . The arms itself has a hinge that moves with the server so that the cables can be threaded through the arm and held, but also slide with the server for easier access from the front. This is great for people who need to take servers out often to work on them. However the down side is that the weight of the arm itself could actually cause it to bend and sag. The sagging arm could cause more harm than good if it blocks airflow, so it’s important to be careful.
Also, there’s a cable management bracket. The bracket isn’t as versatile as the arm, however it doesn’t sag, so for people who want to keep their server area cleaner and easier to work with, but don’t actually pull servers daily, this might be a better option.
There is always the cable tie / zip tie / Velcro option, of which cable ties are extremely inexpensive and easy to find and replace. Velcro ties are slightly more expensive, but still a fraction of the cost of permanent cable management solutions and are reusable. It could be a little more time intensive however to really work with and manage cables in this way, but it is an option.
Interesting enough to me though, was that according to Rodger, he gets more of a call for cable management on open racks than he does on cabinet servers. It seems people with enclosed cabinets can hide their cables better in unused slots, however if your data center’s cabinets are completely full, cable management would be much cheaper in the long run.
What is “Standard”?
In days past we had standards on a lot of items. If you wore a size 9 shoe, you bought a size 9 shoe. Not all size 9’s are the same anymore. We get the same thing in the Rack Solutions industry as well.
When dealing with server rack technical support, we hear the term “standard rack” all the time. A customer will come to us with “I don’t know why my server won’t fit. I have a standard 19″ rack”. The problem lies in the fact that, although there is a document defining standardized 19″ racks, there are a lot of details left out of the specifications.
The standard is EIA-310.
What the EIA-310 Rack Standard does not include:
Here is a brief list of rack details not completely defined or addressed:
- Does the rack have 2 posts, 4 posts, or even 6 posts?
- How deep is the rack’s mounting depth?
- What is the thread type of the rack?
- Are the rack holes threaded, square or round?
- What is the shape of the rack upright: “L”, “C”, or “?”
- Are there obstructions between the front and rear posts?
- How much space is between the front door and the front post?
- How much space is between the rear door and the rear post?
Problem #1 – Rack Holes
Rack hole type is the number one reason for server and rack incompatibility. This is why we always recommend square hole racks. You can always add threads with a cage nut if you need them. Most modern server rails are designed for square holes. Only a few OEM rails are compatible with both round and square holes.
As an example:
- Dell’s RapidRails only work in square holes.
- Dell’s VersaRails work in round, non-threaded holes, but not threaded holes such as 10-32 or 12-24.
- Dell now has a combo rail that can switch between Rapid and Versa, but still does not work with threaded holes.
The solution is often to find a third-party rail for the server or use a fixed rail kit.
Problem #2 – Uprights and Obstructions
The second most common type of server and rack incompatibility is rack obstructions. The EIA spec does not address what the rack manufacturer does between the front and rear mounting posts. There are often additional flanges or other mounting features. These obstructions are notorious for colliding with the OEM’s slide rail and preventing the installation.
Again, the solution is often to find a third-party rail for the server or to use a fixed rail kit.
Problem #3 – Rear Door Collision
If we only had a dollar for every time we heard, “The server fits fine, except the back door of the rack won’t close”. This problem is caused by competition among the OEMs to fit as much technology as possible into a 1U or 2U server. They cannot make the box wider or taller, but they can make them deeper. And every year, the servers get even deeper until racks can no longer hold them. In the 1990′s, a 36″ deep rack worked great. In the early 2000′s a 39.37″ (1 meter) rack was the standard. Now racks are being sold as deep as 42″ and 44″ deep.
The solutions to this problem are limited, but there are a few (If only we had invented a “Rack Stretcher”).
- Sometimes the Cable management arms can be removed
- The back of the rail can be cut off (we do this all the time for Dell 1950 and 2950)
- Fixed rails can be used
- What is a 19″ Rack
- What is a Rack Unit (“U” or “RU”)
- What is EIA-310
- Wikipedia has an in-depth overview of 19″ racks
- Why all racks are not created equal
For more information or to try and stump our experts, visit Rack Solutions
Chuck Price knows what it feels like to be a CIO, and he has conversed with numerous other chief information officers about the topic of cloud computing. So, when Price set out to begin his own cloud computing operation, his focus was on making his IT infrastructure “for CIOs, by CIOS.”
Price is the CEO and President at Ajubeo, a cloud-provider that has started cloud-related business in Boulder, with the intention of assembling software, hardware (server racks, computers and the like), and networking tech aimed primarily at end users or those looking for IaaS cloud platforms. Ajubeo is funded by Grey Mountain Partners, a private equity business based in Boulder with over 400 million dollars in managed investments.
The name Ajubeo is taken from Latin roots, phrases which mean “beginning with strong relationships, mastery and order.” Price was previously employed at CoreSite Realty as the Technology VP and has acquired many other CoreSite Veterans for his new company. With all of the past experience in the new company, Price believes that Ajubeo’s infrastructure and networking offerings will be the best option for CIOs who are looking to put their IT network on the best path.
“Ajubeo’s inspiration came from challenges we experienced first-hand while leading enterprise IT departments for some of the most regulated organizations in the world,” said Price, who co-founded Ajubeo with another official from CoreSite, Tom Whitcomb. Ajubeo’s self-stated mission is to furnish current-day IT executives with a high-security environment that increases overall company performance, starting with a thorough examination of current work conditions and looking forward based on the company’s visions for the future. Ajubeo will then work with the company to provide a cloud platform that is made specifically for the needs that must be met to succeed as a business.
SingleHop, a prominent data center service supplier, has decided to open a new data center in Phoenix, Arizona. The planned data center will be managed by IO. IO is one of the foremost givers of cutting-edge modular facility technology and services. The business currently is the only North American extension for SingleHop. SingleHop can now give its consumers the choice to decide in which facility the client would prefer to house his hardware.
The new technology provided by IO gives the data center the ability to be able to hold up to 2,500 servers and equipment racks. The data center gives the company’s clients the ability to link with SingleHop’s services using 40ms of latency. SingleHop’s platform continues to function using cutting-edge automation which helps raise user control in the modular facility.
The company which will manage the Arizona data center, IO, is a business which provides data center infrastructure to some of the biggest corporations worldwide. The business maintains a large amount of facilities for consumers. IO is also constructing the cloud of the future for its clients. The company works hard to deliver the fastest service for its consumers worldwide. The business was the creator of the premier facility operating system, IO.OS. Its purpose was to give the maximum intelligent control required to have the most efficient resiliency and energy in data centers. The company has a main location in Phoenix.
SingleHop has customers in over one hundred different countries, has three major facilities, and controls more than ten thousand online servers. The enterprise gives cutting-edge instant infrastructure services for end-user and re-sellers mainly under periodic contracts. The company merges safety and ease in order to give solutions to a diverse set of corporations worldwide. The business continues to be a prominent giver of remote administration and availability when personal devices are being used.
If you have sensitive data on a server that needs restricted access, one option is a Secure Server Unit. The Secure Server Unit, or SSU for short, allows you to lock a 1U or 2U server within a rack, preventing access to anyone who doesn’t have a key. The front and rear doors may both be locked to help thwart tampering of hard drives or ports.
Each SSU requires 2 keys and 2 locks (they come with the unit). You can choose from 6 different lock and key combinations so that if you purchase more than one SSU, you can decide if you want the same key to unlock both units or if you prefer that the keys be different for each.
The SSU is shown below, first as an empty unit mounted in a 4Post server rack, then with a 2U server installed.
This Secure Server Unit requires a set of 2U Universal Rails to be installed along with the doors, lock assemblies and top cross bar. It takes up 3U of rack space, comes with all the required hardware, and it also includes zip tie mounts for securing cables in the rear. The