IT people might not think too much about the cabinets their machines reside in, but according to Mark Hirst, a T4 product manager at Cannon Technologies, a manufacturer of cabinets, they’re one of the most important elements of a data center.
“Back in the early days of the data center industry, cabinets were simply a ‘one-size-fits-all' location for servers and other equipment,” Hirst wrote in a release. “As the sector has grown to meet the demands for greater data storage, bandwidth and processing power, cabinet specification has become a fine art that requires a serious amount of consideration.”
One major problem is that too often, cabinets are just too small. Hirst said that it was better to get a rack that was bigger than what the servers and other equipment are needed. For example, he recommended a 1,000-1,200 millimeter cabinet, as it gives IT administrators literally room to grow as their needs increase.
Another pitfall that data centers run into is the lack of room for Power Distribution Units (PDUs). Anyone who has ever tried to plug too many plugs into too few sockets (especially when electronics makers insist on placing the plugs right on the power supply “bricks”) will know the feeling. Having enough room in the cabinets to house them is a good idea, according to Hirst.
Like a lot of things in IT, people tend to get what they pay for, including cabinets. Better cabinets are friendlier to IT staff installing and removing cables and machines.
Other factors to consider include climate control, front panel access, physical security and airflow.
One surprising element that many people fail to consider is the color of their cabinets.
“In fact, choosing to use grey or white cabinets during an equipment refresh can make even bigger savings than intelligent lighting systems that use movement-sensitive lights,” Hirst said. “This is a growing trend and HP's kit is now in grey, and Cisco (News - Alert)'s new data center in the USA used bright white cabinets throughout.”
Ultimately, for Hirst, IT professionals will have to plan for not only their present needs but also plan for their future growth.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson