Up-to-date Rack-mounted Illuminated Computer Hardware In Data Center

Written by Kyle Fragalia, Vertical Market Sales Manager – Colocation, Rittal North America LLC                   

Colocation Facility Managers have a full plate:

  • Meeting the uptime needs of dozens of customers, each with different specs
  • Quickly adding new customers into your data centre
  • Deterring physical break-ins
  • Determining a cooling strategy that handles rising thermal loads
  • Making design choices about power and network connectivity
  • Finding the best IT cabinets
  • Ensuring security/privacy of IT enclosures
  • And, that’s just a start

As data storage and management needs continue to expand and density pack increases, more and more businesses are offloading IT infrastructure to colocation. That is putting even more pressure on colocation Facility Managers.

One area that requires constant evaluation: having the space to accommodate customers’ specific needs. After all, real estate is your #1 asset — you do not sell hardware, you rent out space — so it is vital to continually evaluate the performance of your facility.

This article explores ways to maximise this precious asset to the fullest.

Easy to deploy, quick to adapt, stress-free to manage

Of the five distinct purposes all data centres should fulfill…

  1. Reliable performance
  2. High-efficiency operation
  3. Proper utilisation of resources
  4. Maximise sustainability
  5. Optimal space management

… proper use of space is often the most challenging.

It can be difficult to manage “stranded space,” or unused space, both throughout the data centre and within IT cabinets. Low-footprint infrastructure helps minimise wasted square footage as well as optimise white space — the area housing IT equipment (servers, network equipment, storage units, PDUs).

Gray space, the area with backend infrastructure (switch gears, transformers, generators, UPS, chillers) can be combined with white space to make the best use of space in a colocation facility.

An added bonus: consolidated spaces show improved operational efficiency and availability. The capabilities of a colocation facility can always be increased with additional adaptability and flexibility.

Within IT cabinets, the manufacturer should offer ideas about “stranded space,” making it easier to manage or fit more within the same space. Also, ask about accessories to make life easier and products to help ensure reliability and performance.

As has been proven by Edge deployments, a data centre’s efficiency also greatly depends on how the connected devices evolve along with the increasing demand of Internet of Things, network technologies (5G wireless, for example), and artificial intelligence.

Support a reliable, high-performance environment

The goal of every data centre is to perform as expected without surprises. For colos, the added challenge is having different specs for different customers; sometimes dozens of customers.

Because IT cabinets occupy a lot of floor space, it is important to fill them wisely and efficiently. Don’t just think about growing your colocation facility horizontally, grow vertically by using server racks with more capacity, density, and U space.

Also, consider how many “zombie,” or comatose, servers you may have. These running servers consume electricity but serve no useful purpose. Some estimates say a typical data centre is 30 per cent zombie servers.

Speaking of out-of-date equipment, replace traditional tools with tablet-based applications (wireless readers/scanners require limited space), and use fast, energy-efficient, compact SSDs instead of disk-based storage systems.

When selecting cable management, choose wisely (and with the future in mind). Aspire to a solution that supports current cable density, offers growth space, minimises airflow constraints, and uses both copper and fibre media. Space-saving cabling systems with smaller outside diameter sizes free up a lot of rack space. Some compact designs that use fewer cables and a revamped structure also make room for more processing power and memory.

The demand for more rack space is inevitable

Even with wise use of space, you will inevitably need more space, and a flexible rack enclosure system is a great solution. A well-designed, configurable server rack system handles current requirements and can handle whatever customer specs come in. That means peace of mind.

The goal of “future proofing” your infrastructure is more attainable when flexible and scalable network/server racks are used for scaling a facility.

Rittal’s core competencies — designing IT cabinet infrastructure, building a solid frame, providing power distribution, managing cabling, offering climate control, selecting an appropriate security system — complement the ability to seamlessly and creatively integrate systems into a facility’s existing interface.

This is a sponsored editorial brought to you by Rittal. To learn more about TS IT rack systems, visit here.

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