Is your team asking: “Should our organization switch to a custom data center rack design?” If so, this is the blog post for you.
The technology housed within data center racks is dramatically changing as more organizations begin to design and build their servers and data center equipment. Companies are quickly finding a standard data center rack won’t fit their equipment needs and have turned to custom data center racks.
A prime example is the Open Compute Project (OCP), which Facebook launched to create a more efficient computing infrastructure at the lowest possible cost. The project team decided to custom-build software, servers and other components from the ground up, and to share those technologies with the OCP community. Solutions like this don’t fit into a standard rack since each has a unique footprint.
Racks that support custom infrastructure designs go beyond specifications that drive traditional industry-standard designs. An OCP rack, for example, can be built to accommodate larger pieces of equipment that contain more processors and hard drives, while allowing for more efficient cooling across the motherboard. As these types of initiatives gain momentum, the data center industry is seeing a shift toward equipment-driven specifications at the rack level. See why they are choosing custom solutions.
The Benefits of Custom Data Center Racks
A custom rack solution streamlines installation and moves, adds and changes, reducing costs and enabling a faster time-to-value of the technology. Also, custom racks and cabinets allow for greater efficiencies in equipment access, cabling management, airflow and other factors, cutting operational expenses and cooling costs. As a result, a custom rack can deliver higher value through the continued Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) savings across the product’s lifespan.
In addition to supporting infrastructure requirements, rack customization can also have a positive impact on the cost of the product, as well as a company’s “green” initiatives. Generic cabinets typically ship with parts that may not be used, meaning pieces that the customer must pay for and leave sitting on a shelf. A custom rack only includes necessary components, which saves money and conserves environmental resources.
Is your organization considering a custom rack design? Learn the seven factors you should evaluate when considering the move to custom.
What Should be on Your Checklist for a Custom Data Center Rack?
Evaluating custom data center rack designs using the seven factors below can have a measurable impact on the TCO of your data center design and support your custom equipment.
- Physical Space. A rack with a footprint that optimizes data center floor space helps to reduce real estate costs.
- Cooling Environment & Cooling Systems. Rack design plays a crucial role in maximizing airflow and controlling cooling costs, whether in a hot-aisle/cold-aisle configuration or traditional raised floor environment.
- Rack Strength. A rack that meets strength requirements will not buckle or lose its structural integrity when subjected to seismic or transportation stresses. The ability to rack, stack and ship fully populated racks help decrease the time required for data center deployment.
- Cabinet Bracing. Bracing provisions, seismic floor mounting plates, floor mounting anchor points and levelers should be positioned so that they can be accessed when the rack is fully populated.
- Cable Routing and Power Configuration. A rack that conforms to the custom specifications improves the accessibility of equipment within the rack, airflow through the equipment and cable management.
- Application. The rack should meet the requirements of the equipment while offering the flexibility to support mixed environments.
- Security Protocol. If rack-level security is required, door locks should be available in keyed alike, keyed unalike or combination configurations; otherwise, doors and door locks should be optional.
The Future of Data Center Rack Design is Custom
Data centers are highly complex and dynamic, and it is difficult to overstate the value of a data center rack or cabinet that complements its environment. Custom data center infrastructure and equipment are typically best supported by custom data center racks. Thus, many data center managers are making a move from standard cabinets and racks to custom cabinets and racks.
Want to learn more about how to start your journey to custom data center hardware? Contact our team!