Racks – the ideal space saving and safekeeping solution for SMB IT equipment

When it comes to IT equipment, most Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) experience the same problem.

October 1, 2013

By Elrica Quick, APC Product Manager at DCC

When it comes to IT equipment, most Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) experience the same problem. Cables all over the place, servers taking up valuable office space, and other equipment scattered across the floor and on desks as space permits. Other than looking untidy, this practice can actually be hazardous, and can cause damage to critical IT equipment. Tidying up IT is not the complex, expensive exercise it may at first appear to be however, as the installation of a cost-effective rack or reliable IT enclosure is fairly simple. Racks will not only reduce the space taken up by various pieces of equipment, and ensure that this technology is kept safe in one place for optimal positioning and storage, they also simplify installation, making them the ideal solution for SMBs.

Having cables strewn across the office connecting servers, switches, UPS solutions and more is a typical SMB office scenario. These cables present a hazard though, and if the cables are caught in someone’s leg and yanked out of their sockets, this can damage equipment, corrupt server data and generally wreak similar havoc to a sudden power failure. The equipment itself, because it is not all stored in one place, is also prone to being kicked over, kicked and otherwise damaged, simply because it is in people’s way. Aside from this, sunlight may move across the floor during the day, placing some equipment in direct sunlight, which again can damage it. Furthermore, cooling the equipment either requires separate fans for each device or for the air conditioning to be turned up very high, which is not energy efficient. When it comes to protecting equipment from power surges, if this equipment is scattered across various locations, it is impossible to use a single device for protection.

Solving this challenge, while it may seem difficult, is actually a straightforward task. The installation of a rack, similar to those used in big data centres, can address all of these problems and ensure IT equipment is kept safe, cool and protected from dust and accidental damage while minimising the space requirements. Racks are now available that have been designed specifically for small offices and any non-IT space where there is no room, time or budget to build a dedicated IT zone. These racks offer a cost effective, ultra-portable, secure, economic, plug-and-play IT solution – simply roll one into the office, put the necessary equipment inside, plug it in and close the doors. They can be soundproofed to create a ‘Server Room in a Box’, and offer a number of benefits, including the creation of a central, dedicated IT zone which prevents wasted space, and the silencing of noisy equipment through quiet enclosure solutions.

These racks are available in a variety of sizes, heights and widths to accommodate requirements, and can hold a variety of equipment, including UPS, servers, switches, firewalls and power distribution units (PDUs), ensuring that IT equipment is neatly packed and that cables are not in the way of human traffic. Extra cabling is not necessary, and installation is simple, so specialists are not required to assist with the install process.

These units can hold up to 1200kg of equipment, and offer easy expansion with the addition of extra racks, allowing the IT space to grow with the business. Blanking panels allow for proper air flow and ensures that hot and cold air do not mix in the rack, providing optimum performance and protection of your IT equipment and , further securing IT investment. A variety of accessories such as extra fixed and sliding shelves accommodate different sizes of equipment are available, along with cable organisers for added tidiness. Racks can also be locked, to prevent casual thieves from being able to easily steal equipment that is expensive and critical to the running of the business.

When it comes to IT in the SMB space, there is no excuse for dangerous, untidy and space-consuming practices anymore. There are racks designed specifically for this market, offering a cost-effective solution to IT challenges, protecting equipment from damage and ensuring that a professional, tidy look can be easily achieved, with many more benefits.