How Server Lift Equipment Helps Data Centers Meet Facility Requirements

Data center managers must meet a wide variety of facility requirements that are dependent on the type of facility that they run, its size and its location. This is in addition to those requirements that are mandated by compliance standards and safety regulations among others. Handling data center equipment for changes, migrations or expansions touches on all of these and other requirements for DCMs. This is where server lift equipment becomes critical to meeting those requirements.

Moving, lifting and installing servers into data center racks via the use of server lift equipment dictates the ability to quickly and efficiently configure software and deal with daily end-user demands. The first general requirement of any data center is the space limitations as regards to maneuverability.

Data centers are built with much tighter spaces than commercial environments and have strict policies against products that use hazardous materials. As a consequence, lifts made for the general market would be inadequate due to size, maneuverability, weight parameters, emissions, and flexibility among other attributes.

When we look closely at those needs for handling and installing rack-mounted equipment in compact data center aisles, we see how server lift equipment must be designed specifically for that function. Maneuvering in tight spaces with heavy loads require extreme stability in operation and at rest. It also requires increased functionality for raising and lowering expensive and heavy pieces of hardware into cages, server racks, and modular data center configurations. In addition, hydraulics or other hazardous materials as well as EMF emissions risk major code violations as well as data corruption.

Server lift equipment must be capable of meeting other physical space requirements such as low ceilings and overhead cable trays among other vertical design parameters. Damage to cable runs when raising servers with a powered server lifting machine can mean major outages that cause downtime for clients or even more serious interruptions of mission critical compute operations. That means server lifts used in data centers should have built-in, dynamic safety measures to protect against these costly accidents.

Harmful interference, emissions or the potential for usage safety challenges in product design can be a death sentence for a busy data center where EMI can cause data corruption among other hazards. Consequently, server lift equipment must be designed to adhere to a list of standards ranging from FCC Class B Standards and LVD to the CE Immunity, Emission and Product Machinery Standards.

All of these varied requirements and many others go to the heart of data center operations regardless of the type of facility and who it serves. DCMs must have the tools that enable them to work within those requirements while ensuring the optimization of data center operations 24/7. In busy data centers, the right server lift equipment can be one of several important defining factors in the efficiency, cost savings, and safety of the modern data center.

For more information about how server lift equipment can help your data center meet its requirements for operational efficiency and safety, contact us online or call +1 602-254-1557 to speak with a ServerLIFT specialist.

Using Server Equipment to Increase OpEX Savings in the Data Center

While virtualization and monitoring technology has become the most effective way to increase data center efficiency and decrease operational costs, DCMs have to use every tool at their disposal to further increase OpEx saving margins. The ability to utilize server equipment to lower data center operational expenses has proven to be another way to provided various solutions that further that goal.

Rack consolidation, high density patch panels and other high density solutions can increase operational efficiency exponentially, but when used in conjunction with server equipment they increase OpEx savings as well. For example, rack consolidation can reduce floor space while high-density patch panels can achieve double the port density in 1U of rack space. These measures allow for density increases and technology changes without a complete tear-out and replacement of existing infrastructure. High-density solutions also require fewer cabinets and power distribution units (PDUs).

Another way that DCMs are utilizing server equipment to increase OpEx savings is by growing vertically instead of horizontally. This can enable the accommodation of increased growth, capacity, and density without taking up floor space. Of course, DCMs must have a clear design plan that enables flexibility while also accounting for accessibility. Server equipment in the form of today’s advanced power server lifts is the key to executing these plans in a way that lowers operational expenses in terms of manpower and maximization of space utilization.

DCMs have to enlist the use of server equipment that provides the scalability required to support rapid changes in demand and technology. That means data center designs that have far reaching mechanical and electrical systems designs that accommodate flexibility through consolidation without disrupting operations.

To learn about the ServerLIFT options that can enable the speed, flexibility and safety that modular data centers require, contact us online or call +1 602-254-1557 to speak with a ServerLIFT specialist.

Improving Data Center Efficiency with Advanced Server Equipment

Data center efficiency is a never-ending pursuit for DCMs where they must balance efficiency, availability, and flexibility to effectively manage the many data centers parts as well as the whole. These parts include a compilation of servers, storage, network systems, mechanical/electrical systems, applications and tools, governance procedures and staff. While DCIM and other monitoring tools are key to managing the physical space of the data center, advance server equipment such as technologically and mechanically advanced server lifts are also foundational to that efficiency.

One of the most common tasks in any data center facility is the physical handling of servers and other rack-mounted equipment. As equipment weight reaches dangerous levels, server manufacturers are making it clear that this hardware requires a minimum of 2 people to install 2U servers, and up to 4 people to handle heavy equipment. Most of these companies recommend using a mechanical lift to handle equipment in their operations manuals.

While blade servers, condense packed servers, and UPS systems increase computing power they also increase physical demands that impact data center efficiency. For data centers without advanced server equipment solutions like server lifts, the lack of standard lifting procedures for equipment handling in a datacenter puts both the server equipment and the data center efficiency in jeopardy.

While advanced server equipment such as modern server lifts can increase data center efficiency, not all solutions are created equally. As a consequence, DCMs must utilize all of the data derived from their DCIM solutions as well as facility history to determine the best server lift solutions to meet their needs. While the right choice can mean greater efficiency, the wrong choice can actually lower efficiency, costs and safety in ways that jeopardize the data center.

To learn how advanced server equipment can improve data center efficiency, contact us online or call +1 602-254-1557 to speak with a ServerLIFT specialist.

With Modular Data Centers on the Rise, DCMs Need Faster Server Equipment Setup to Keep Up… Here’s How.

While data center managers (DCM) certainly see the differing options for modular data centers as providing a means of faster deployment and space maximization at a lower cost, those attributes can come at a price all their own. Since these data center modules are typically removable, consideration needs to be given to installation and removal logistics. These logistics may include access for cranes, trucks, forklifts in many cases while server lifts are often a part of every installation. This is particularly true where necessary free space and enough turning radius to bring a module in or take it out is a prime consideration.

DCMs may have a number of DCIM tools to help them deal with these changes in order to ensure optimal space efficiency with module placement. That means taking into account the logistics of service access corridors between modules, if needed, but also the best layout of infrastructure modules versus those that only carry payload.

Deployment speed is always a concern, but it cannot come at the cost of the resiliency and operational efficiency of the overall data center design. Keeping up with the pace of these types of deployments can require highly flexible server lifts that can meet the space limitations while also providing the stable weight lifting capacity that are needed in the deployment and outfitting of modular data centers.

For many DCMs modular data center designs are part of an expanding data center where multitenant needs are constantly in flux. That means that server lift solutions must be able to accommodate a wide range of options beyond just weight, stability, lifting capacity, and streamlined footprint. Server equipment setup solutions like server lifts must have the ability to provide the tight turning radius and the lateral shelf movement to accommodate all modular and traditional data center configurations.

To learn about the ServerLIFT options that can enable the speed, flexibility and safety that modular data centers require, contact us online or call +1 602-254-1557 to speak with a ServerLIFT specialist.

How DCM’s Can Improve Productivity by 200% or More

In order to vastly improve the productivity of data centers, DCMs are using application-based solutions as well as physical tools. On the application side, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) systems provide a unified, real-time picture of data center operations, enabling IT teams to match resources with demand. With hardware changes and servers a regular occurrence that can eat away at productivity, server lifts and server handling standards are crucial to enabling increased productivity.

Today’s data centers are IT environments made up virtual machines, storage-area networks and cloud-based applications. While these approaches can streamline compute and monitoring operations, they still require a system that can enable overall management of all virtual and physical assets. That means having a technology that enables going beyond compute system management to include environmental and power consideration needs. DCIM systems are often integrated with management tools, allowing administrators to monitor dynamic IT environments at the infrastructure level to give them visibility into power utilization and cooling needs.

In addition, a DCIM solution allows tracking of the various steps in relocations so that different groups are able to report status of their individual tasks in order to verify that all required steps have been completed. In this case, workflow functionality will coordinate the server installation steps so that all preparatory work has been completed before the technician installs the server in the rack, thereby streamlining the entire process.

It’s still the case that many data centers lack a set of standards for handling servers and other rack-mounted equipment. To ensure safety as well as improve data center productivity, DCMs are implementing standardized methods and practices for handling IT equipment in a data center environment. This has made advanced server equipment solutions like modern server lifts an integral part of that goal.

The ability to coordinate the operational, environmental, and physical aspects of data center management via these two tools has formed the basis for increasing productivity by triple digits. As always, it is the staff of the data center that holds the key to maximizing their use in pursuit of that goal.

To learn how advanced server equipment and solutions like server lifts and DCIM can improve data center productivity, contact us online or call +1 602-254-1557 to speak with a ServerLIFT specialist. 

Data Center Space Efficiency – How to Fit More Servers in the Same Amount of Space

Managing data center density and growth is certainly something that can cause sleepless nights for DCMs. As a consequence, data center space efficiency is driving a lot of decisions with cooling and energy consumption being intertwined concerns. That’s a significant motivation that has led DCMs to incorporate a number of different approaches to fitting more servers in the same amount of space.

High density blade servers are growing more efficient and with larger capacities, which has made them a staple in data centers around the world. As a tool in server consolidation that shrinks hardware within an overall data center footprint, this approach brings benefits in overall space efficiency. It also brings its own challenges in that this optimization favors compute density and improved server manageability over other IT priorities, such as maximizing local storage capacity. As a result, utilizing blade servers encourages the use of networked storage.

The use of server virtualization increases server density further by using a single physical server to host dozens of virtual machines. Server virtualization offers a number of benefits, including server mobility which allows load balancing of virtual machines across each physical server and enables automatic failover of a virtual machine in the event of a physical server failure. Virtual machine mobility also necessitates networked storage.

Server virtualization saves time, especially with maintenance, as fewer servers are needed for the job. Reductions in hardware means fewer updates, less time trouble shooting, and less time jumping between management tools. While virtualization cuts down on the number of physical servers, the transition can take a relatively long time depending on the data center architecture and its function.

Data center space efficiency can also be gained with the use of solid state disk (SSD) technology by providing the desired I/O performance without the requirement of a large number of lower capacity enterprise drives. As SSD costs come in line with that of HDD, DCMs are encouraging the switch to particular workloads in the data center for a hybrid approach to storage.

Regardless of the nature of the data center, poor use of physical space is a clear and ever-present danger to the cost as well as compute efficiency of every facility. Data center managers must be economical in their layout and choice of equipment, so as not to overcrowd specific sectors.

Every facility will have high- and low-density racks and cabinets – cooling components and airflow systems must accommodate accordingly to maximize space usage. A failure to do so can foil data center management’s attempts at operational efficiency by creating too many hot spots.

Traditionally, storage migration is complex, time-consuming and expensive due to data centers having disparate hardware that requires manual configuration and the need for data and application downtime. Since all of these options are likely more gradual rather than all-in affairs, DCMs must find more efficient ways to move hardware throughout the data center to deal with this incremental change towards consolidation. That is on top of the other server changes that take place on a weekly and monthly basis due to a variety of factors.

Engineering and maintenance staffs are generally small and can only be in one place at a time. Doubling or even tripling up the manpower to accommodate the need to move and service servers weighing hundreds of pounds introduces a level of inefficiency that can hamper optimal facility operation on a physical and a compute level. The introduction of the latest powered server lifts into the environment makes the consolidation process more efficient without hampering the daily operation of the facility by tying up staff to move heavy servers.

DCMs understand that data center space efficiency through consolidation has to be an ongoing pursuit that utilizes different solutions and technologies at the right time. They also understand that consolidation cannot come at the expense of efficient operation of the facility. Consequently, having a long-term data center growth plan that can be easily modified to accommodate changes in need as well as changes in technology are the key to making efficient use of space part of the culture of the data center rather than being an approaching crisis that must be averted.

To learn about the ServerLIFT options that can be foundational to enabling data center space efficiency, contact us online or call +1 602-254-1557 to speak with a ServerLIFT specialist.

How to Help Data Center Customers Scale Faster During an On-Premise Relocation

As data center customers and their systems grow, server racks inevitably require changes in terms of hardware as well as on-premise relocation to accommodate that growth. Uptime is always a factor for these companies, so faster scaling is always a concern for DCMs. The goal is to enable faster, more efficient moves where data center relocation causes limited disruption to the center overall as well as the client’s compute needs.

Relocating a client’s servers within a data center requires careful planning and execution. That all starts with creation of a detailed move plan that includes the equipment move sequence, back-up operations during the move, installation & testing, and ongoing operations.

The sequencing plan, which outlines the specific equipment relocation steps, is very dependent on the need of the client in terms of scheduling and operational access. As a consequence, it’s almost like a highly choreographed dance as to how each device will be positioned within the racks and how each rack module will be positioned within the overall raised floor space in a given time frame.

Here is where speed, economy of movement and physical disruption as well as flexibility all converge to enable faster scaling through the use of the right lift servers. Typically in a data center there are installations with very heavy equipment (massive 15U – switches, Blade frames), which makes installation of the device to the rack nearly impossible without the proper lifting equipment.

Of course, just having the right server lifts is not enough in itself to ensure faster scaling. Move personnel must be proficient in their use and have a clear plan of execution in terms of the differing steps of removal, transport and insertion of hardware at the new location point.

It is also essential to have a well-coordinated plan that takes into account ensuring aspects such as:

  • The appropriate electrical distribution
  • HVAC capacities
  • Back-up power
  • Compliance with building codes and local ordinances

Additionally, the audit of equipment to be moved, defined exit path info and removal procedures as well as source and target checklists for the move are crucial to accuracy and speed once the move begins. The move needs to be timed down to the hour and even the minute to ensure that the client’s data center relocation happens quickly.

While server equipment will be the last to be powered off, and the first to be powered on, cabling infrastructure must be an early stage of completion in the move. That means that the new cabling runs must be completed with the old cabling still in place in order to ensure optimum uptime during the move. DCMs and engineers have to remain on top of new modular server enclosure options as well as cabling and PoE capabilities that can decrease cabling configuration times and overall relocation efforts.

Comprehensive data center relocation risk assessments are necessary to identify obstacles and recommend solutions for redundant and fault-tolerant network & support infrastructure for mission critical environments. This is where the right server lifts and its configuration will play a major part in everything from meeting safety and emission standards to server aisle and vertical space limitations.

Data center relocation is a delicate balance between the needs of the client in terms of the move window as well as the needs of other clients in a multi-tenant environment. Regardless of the size and reasons for the move, DCMs have to bring the latest tools, techniques and technologies to bear in order to ensure the move is fast, efficient safe and cost effective.

To learn about the ServerLIFT options that can enable the speed, flexibility and safety that modular data centers require, contact us online or call +1 602-254-1557 to speak with a ServerLIFT specialist.

Minimize Data Center Costs & Increase Worker Safety

There are few crossover points where DCMs can lower data center costs while increasing worker safety. Consolidation through virtualization can certainly increase efficiency as well as lowering data center costs, but it also can indirectly set the stage for worker safety via reduction in physical servers. Moving new technology to a high density environment enables the data center to increase cabinet space utilization and processing performance. The question is then, how can these measures increase worker safety?

The act of moving IT hardware to minimize costs in this way often presents a complex physical challenge. The size and weight of servers, chassis, switches and routers in today’s environment can often exceed 400 lbs. There are numerous risks associated with the traditional moving of IT hardware, and they include:

  • Damage to expensive equipment
  • The need to tie up more data center personnel in the consolidation process
  • The high potential for injury without a proper plan and tools

Data center professionals face the risk of dropping mission-critical IT hardware on a daily basis. This poses a big threat to data loss, and more importantly the safety of the individuals handling the equipment. Powered server lifts remove the possibility of these types of disasters when the right server lift is chosen and properly utilized. When coupled with proper planning, data centers can ensure that data center safety as well as data center costs are optimized.

Powered server lifting technology enables faster and more efficient consolidation, which frees up costly personnel hours in the move while avoiding the constant threat of physical injury. There is also the cost reduction of freeing up as many as three additional people that would need to be involved in heavy hardware moves.

Today’s DCMs have to think very strategically about layout, space utilization power consumption and cooling need in order to reduce the costs of overprovisioning. Server lifts may seem like a small consideration when it comes to minimizing data center costs, but when seen through the lens of server c0nsolidation and virtualization, it becomes a critical foundation to that achieving that goal

To learn how ServerLIFT solutions can minimize data center costs while increasing safety, contact us online or call +1 602-254-1557 to speak with a ServerLIFT specialist.

Trends in Adapting to Cloud

Challenges and Reasons for Switching to Cloud

Is cloud computing the future of data centers?

By taking a closer look at the past trends in the adaptation to cloud, it starts to become clear as to whether or not cloud computing is the way to go.

The Trending Cloud

Statistically, the biggest jump to cloud adaptation happened from 2011 to 2012. In 2011 only 2% of companies were utilizing the benefits of cloud computing, while in 2012 that numbered climbed to 25%. From 2012 to 2013, the number of IT related companies using cloud computing reached 36%. The numbers show that companies are continuing to switch to the cloud for their data center operations. The increase may not be as big as in 2011 to 2012 but it shows that the trend is continuously moving towards new technology.

Unlike what many expect, big data center operators are the leader in the adoption of cloud. 40% of companies with over 5,000 servers have switched and 22% of companies with fewer than 1000 servers have adapted to the cloud environment. Enterprise adoption is also increasing. In 2012, enterprise adoption was only 10% while in 2013 it increased to 17%. About 44% of data centers are deploying private clouds as an alternative. This leaves 25% to still planning on deploying it, while 31% have no plan of switching to private cloud computing.

The Big Switch

There are many advantages to using this new technology. The top drivers to cloud computing are customer demand, reduced cost, scalability and speed of deployment. 43% of companies surveyed stated that they needed to change because of the needs or demands of the customer. 41% indicated reduced cost, 40% specified scalability and 36% indicated speed of deployment for being their reason for change. Clearly for many companies, these reasons are enough to switch to cloud. However, other companies are still not ready to change.

Challenges to Adoption

Why are so many companies reluctant to change?

The answer is relatively simple, companies are worried about the security of cloud, but a solution is a lot more difficult than simply knowing what the reason is. The reason being cloud security is not surprising since it is really not that secure. 45% of the companies stated that it is the main cause of their decision to not use cloud computing. 13% of the companies surveyed indicated a lack of skills as their main reason while only 7% indicated cost as their main challenge to adopting cloud as a solution for their data center. Addressing these challenges, particularly security, may ultimately lead to more companies adopting to cloud technology.

 

Enterprise Servers May Save Blackberry

How important is an enterprise server to the company it serves? Well, that seems to be a very important question for BlackBerry at the moment. If we take the word of BlackBerry’s CEO, the salvation of the company lies within the enterprise server and not on its phones. According to BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, the future of BlackBerry will be dependent on the success of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).

So, what will be the contribution of BES to BlackBerry’s resurrection and profitability?
According to Chen, the new BlackBerry Enterprise Solution is still the preferred choice of IT professionals. BES servers are the interfaces for 60% of company phones across the globe. This is about 15 million devices globally which makes it really powerful and an important tool for the company. Consider the company’s 2013 fourth quarter earnings report. The company reported that it has 80,000 BES servers around the globe. Each server manages around 2,000 devices.

On the downside, according to BlackBerry, the adoption rate for its new BES is only 40%. Nevertheless, many companies may just be waiting for the BES 10.2 in order to avoid having a separate server for the BlackBerry 7 devices. The BES 10.2 has just been recently released, so it is too early to make any forecast at this moment. In any case it just might be the one that can really save the company.

Chen also announced that the new enterprise server supports even Windows Phone platform. Currently it supports iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms. The company however has yet to announce the launching date for the Windows Phone. The BES is a multi platform device management service. Using the BES, administrators and IT mangers can make the personal devices of their employees use the company’s email system. It also supports BYOD policy since it is capable of deleting the data in the phone in case it gets lost or stolen. The company can also deactivate the camera of the employees’ phones during business hours or while in the office. This is an additional feature of the BES which is also capable of encryption and unified communication. It is even capable of home and work space separation. From the looks of it, the BES can really save the company and it may even be the future of BlackBerry.