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How Much Should a Data Center Lift Cost?

The ROI on a data center lifting device is clear. As we’ve demonstrated in the past, savings can reach into savings of millions of dollars (particularly when accident prevention is factored in).

Forklift truck in warehouse or storage loading cardboard boxes.

In a warehouse, a manager will always reserve a line item spot for the ubiquitous warehouse hoist or forklift. An auto repair shop cannot operate without a car lift in place. And yet, so often in the data center, a server-handling lift is missing from the budget. It is not yet a standard purchase, or a standard budgetary line item for operations. 

When this occurs, it is particularly problematic. Once the organization realizes they want/need a data center lift, they have a problem, because getting an off-budget purchase approved when it exceeds discretionary spending limits can be difficult. Initially there is no concern that a good, purpose-built lift would exceed discretionary spending limits. We hear this all the time and it makes sense—as a first-time purchaser, they have no frame of reference for how much a data center equipment lift should cost.  

A proper lift will likely cost more than most discretionary spend limits. But thinking about it for a minute, it all makes sense. The equipment it is lifting is heavy, expensive, and sensitive. Racks and cabinets are stationary supports for servers, but they can cost one to a few thousand dollars each. The aforementioned forklift for the loading dock costs tens of thousands of dollars and doesn’t have near the rigidity, precision, or “clean-room” specifications (such as no hydraulics), needed in a data center. So, should a good data center lift be as cheap as a rack or as expensive as a forklift? Certainly not.

All this means means that unless the DC manager has the foresight to include data center lifts into their budget from the start, they will be eventually be faced with the task of getting the purchase approved later, and budgets realigned. 

Data Center Costs

Designing, building, and getting a data center up and running is an expensive task. Estimates begin at around $200 per square foot for a small business-owned DC with a few racks. Costs, however, can climb well into the millions. Maintaining uptime is paramount because the cost of downtime is staggering. 

According to SiliconIndia, “It’s been estimated that just one hour of infrastructure failure costs a Fortune 1000 company $100,000, which balloons to $1 million if a business-critical application suffers an outage.”

Lost revenue due to downtime or an outage rises significantly every year. A standard rack—empty—can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Data center cabinets are also simple in construction, but because they are specially made for the data center environment, they tend to be expensive. 

Pricing out your own data center can be broken down into four separate primary concerns:

  1. Power
  2. Space
  3. Network
  4. Technical Support

Whether you are purchasing and building a new data center or upgrading an existing space, these concerns remain the same (joining a colocation space is a different topic and will be addressed separately). Many financial factors are considered, but only one is consistently left out.

Considering a Data Center Lift

In your data center financial discussions, how often does the subject of equipment transportation, positioning, and installation come up? How often is an equipment lift considered? Here at ServerLIFT, it’s clear it’s not happening nearly enough. It is not noted as a consideration in many industry articles, including this one and this one. No one would forget to budget for the purchase of properly spec’d cabinets and racks, and yet, somehow data center lifts are an afterthought at best. 

Our customers are spending tens of millions of dollars on their data centers. Designing, building, and maintaining uptime all come at a steep price. Because expensive equipment cannot magically move itself into the rack, why isn’t a lifting device included in a standard budget?

Staff safety, deployment, uptime, and customer satisfaction all hinge on well-designed machinery in the data center. Here are some reasons you can cite when discussing the need for a purpose-made equipment lifting product for your data center.

Using a ServerLIFT Data Center Lift 

A ServerLIFT data center lift is used to safely and efficiently carry out the following tasks:

  • Lifting/supporting equipment which costs thousands or millions of dollars
  • Lifting/supporting extremely sensitive equipment
  • Lifting/supporting equipment that is hard/impossible to replace
  • Precisely aligning, lifting, and lowering servers and other equipment
  • Moving equipment out of trucks, on ramps, over doorways, and in elevators
  • Moving all equipment without damaging the people, equipment, or facilities

ServerLIFT Production and Design

Designing and producing a ServerLIFT server-lifting device mirrors the same stringent standards applied within a managed, wholesale, edge, or shared hosting data center. Quality assurance is rigorously applied during engineering and manufacturing

Our certifications and standards mirror those of our most exacting clients in order to operate internationally. The safety features on a ServerLIFT protect the user and prevent unnecessary strain and other injuries. The amount of thought, energy, design, and engineering put into a ServerLIFT suits the environment it is designed to work in.

ServerLIFT vs. the Competition

It takes millions of dollars to plan, design, construct, outfit, and operate a data center. ServerLIFT is the one product that mirrors that investment, is as high-tech in nature, and suits the environment perfectly. Consider a surprise injury; that will cost far more than any ServerLIFT product.

About 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2017, occurring at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time workers. There were 882,730 occupational injuries and illnesses in 2017 that resulted in days away from work in private industry. The median number of days away from work—a key measure of the severity of cases—was eight in 2017.

A lifting device is sometimes the last thing people think about—but we argue that it should be the first thing you think about. If you’re still on the fence, we offer a convenient Rental Program and helpful videos to watch a ServerLIFT device at work in the data center. If you have a used lift that is no longer pulling its weight, we also have a BuyBack program.

The value of a ServerLIFT device lies not only in its high-quality and data center-specific design, but also in the amount of money it saves in any DC environment. It’s worth the cost; disregarding it can be outrageously expensive.

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