Small- and medium-sized businesses often find office space is at a premium, and the same goes for the space that houses their IT equipment. Similarly, larger businesses with smaller remote locations may have difficulty finding room for IT gear at those sites.
In either instance, IT needs to plan out the physical IT infrastructure in a way that’s cost effective, efficient, convenient and manageable, while ensuring maximum data availability with proper power, cooling, power distribution and cable management. Following are seven tips for how you can slim down your IT deployment while maintaining proper management.
1. Short-depth UPS systems allow for easy deployment in a space-efficient two-post rack when needed. Choosing a UPS that can also house a network management card enables IT to proactively manage the devices, providing the ability to receive proactive alerts about the power and environment (a topic we’ve touched on before). IT can even remotely turn a given outlet on or off, such as to restart a hung server (more on that shortly).
2. Unified, vendor-neutral management solutions allow you to remotely view and control all of your physical data locations through a single pane of glass, and collect alerts from all environments on the network. Monitoring solutions at the rack or room level let you keep an eye on critical equipment from any location. Ideally, the dashboard will allow for management of third-party devices so your entire network can be managed.
3. Simple, cost-effective racks are a standard in the networking world. They also make power management easier and more organized, a topic I’ve written about previously:
While small businesses may consider it difficult to justify the cost of a rack enclosure, a rack is a fundamental structure for IT gear. It enables proper organization of equipment and cables, to help prevent cables from turning into a rat’s nest, and when you avoid the rat’s nest of cables, you’re likely to reduce downtime from human error.
Racks are recommended for loads greater than 2kW because they promote proper airflow for cooling IT equipment by helping to isolate hot and cold air streams such that IT equipment is breathing in cooler air.
Some racks have locking doors, which provide additional security – especially important in open office areas or in unlocked server rooms. Enclosed racks can also include noise dampening, so the fan noise from IT equipment doesn’t distract office workers.
4. Remotely manageable power outlets and security cameras provide additional security, better organization, higher levels of availability, and better energy efficiency. You can manage and control everything without being physically present, which gives you the ability to turn outlets on and off, such as to remotely reboot hung devices. Security cameras and sensors installed in existing racks and rooms help keep the area secure while monitoring temperature, humidity and other environmental conditions such as water leaks.
5. Cable managers keep cables organized to maintain proper airflow, reduce troubleshooting time and keep the space clean. They also simplify cable routing and installation, especially since cable managers can be applied to existing racks.