ServerLIFT: The Present
ServerLIFT’s mission is to provide the safest and most effective tools and solutions for the physical handling of rack-mounted IT equipment. This year, that mission became even more important. “2020 was a very challenging year. We can’t think about 2020 without noting the impact of COVID-19. We were concerned about how the pandemic would impact our business, but what we found was that our customers needed us more than ever,” says Ray Zuckerman, ServerLIFT Chairman & CEO.
We heard from customers of all sizes—all around the world—running into pandemic-related problems moving their IT equipment. For example, just as the COVID-19 crisis began, we were contacted by a data center in Italy who could not lift a heavy server on their own without help; they were left adrift due to new and strict social distancing guidelines. In the U.S., colleagues working in colocation facilities contacted us, panicking, when tenants removed their ServerLIFT machines to comply with coronavirus-era policies. Our data center lift rentals were brought in to get the work typically done by multiple people in close contact, completed with just one technician on their own. Not only was a single person using a ServerLIFT data center lift to handle servers compliant with the new social distancing mandates, it was (as it’s always been) much safer and more efficient overall.
“We aimed to double down on our mission statement: to eliminate manual server handling in any industry. We wanted to really be there for data center management—in whatever capacity they needed us,” states ServerLIFT Vice President Brandon Budd.
Efforts have also been made to offer clients every buying option available so they can get what they need, and how they need it. To that end, we have expanded our rental program service offerings to include other brands of lifts, introduced financing options, created tools to help customers find some creative budget room, and accelerated our popular buy-back program to allow customers to upgrade from old models and off-brand, inadequate lifts. These things have made a huge difference—our customer base expanded by about 50 percent this year. “We ensured sufficient offerings for companies and data centers of any size. That goes from very small server rooms requiring a temporary rental all the way up to the largest multi-million-square-foot data centers in the world and massive enterprise global deployments. We worked hard to make sure we didn’t leave any corner of the market unserved,” says Budd.
We’ve now shipped to more than 60 countries and were recognized by the White House (in the mid-2010s) for excellence in exporting. It’s been exciting to see our reputation grow on a state and national level. Other resources introduced this year include:
- Server Database: Our newest web page lists popular IT equipment models and specs—including size and weight—for handy reference. “People call us all the time asking, ‘Which lift model do I need?’ And one of the questions we ask in return is, ‘How heavy is your heaviest equipment?’ They don’t always know the answer. The server database solves that problem,” says Budd.
- Translations: Manuals, instructions, certificates, and more are available in multiple languages here. We also added translations in dozens of languages on our website for our international visitors.
- ServerLIFT Website Assistant: Ask a question and get an immediate answer. The new assistant allows us to engage with customers on new purchases or for service and support in real-time.
Onsite technical service and support are available virtually anywhere on earth. Customers have more ways to buy than ever, including rent-to-own, financing, and leasing. It’s great to see how far we’ve come.
ServerLIFT: The Past
“We’ve been in business since 2002. And we’ve been financially stable and secure every year of that business, constantly improving our processing and our quality control,” says Zuckerman.
From the very beginning, the safety mandate heavily influenced our mission. In a story we’ve now repeated many times, a data center employee working for a Fortune 500 company was badly injured by dropping a server on his leg. In addition to damages, he also secured assurances that the company would change the way they do business and make adjustments to prevent anything like that from ever happening again. The company placed an order for a ServerLIFT SL500 Electric Data Center Lift—before we had even manufactured one. We had liftoff.
However, the inspiration for ServerLIFT dates back further, in part, to the 1960s. Zuckerman had taken a break from studying engineering in college to serve in the Army National Guard. “I thought that serving my country for a time would allow me to go back to college a little more mature,” he says. Zuckerman worked as an engineer for the Army Corp of Engineers, doing construction and demolition. Primarily, he built bridges and other infrastructure for the troops. He served 6 months of active duty and 6 years in the Reserves before he was honorably discharged. “Everything I learned in the military, I use today.”
It is no coincidence, then, that the ServerLIFT name is associated with giving back to the community and supporting our troops. “My own service is a reminder to continue to support our veterans and their families. They deserve that support, always,” says Zuckerman.
ServerLIFT: The Future
Moving forward, our dedication to any client big or small remains steadfast. “More than ever, it’s not just about the massive data center players—every person working in any size data center we help is the biggest customer in the world, and their safety is just as important to us,” states Budd.
State of the IT Industry
The IT industry is shifting in response to digital transformation, and growing steadily. “Everything we’ve seen this year with the world going virtual due to the pandemic—and the resulting explosion of digital footprints—is just going to continue to explode. It will push the demand for new data center builds; more square footage, more power, and more connectivity,” says Budd.
One major shift is the growth of bigger data centers and colocation facilities. “We are still seeing consolidation in the industry; companies are farming out their IT operations to the bigger players. The number of companies that are running their own IT operations is declining, but the industry is still growing,” says Budd. This doesn’t mean that those smaller facilities aren’t both thriving and important as ever. “There are still tons of new data center builds. And companies who run their own IT services. And there are still a lot of little guys out there. Small office buildings still have small server rooms because that is a necessary thing for them. We’re there for them as well.”
Still to Come for ServerLIFT and the Data Center Safety Mandate
There’s a great deal of excitement surrounding what’s to come in 2021. ServerLIFT, as a company, remains a key component for the infrastructure most people rely on but don’t even know exists. “We will be adding products where we see opportunities to better serve our industry,” says Zuckerman. Budd adds, “These will just add more value and functionality to what we already offer. We also have additional standalone products coming that will create a paradigm shift in the industry. We’re very excited about what’s ahead.”
“Integrity remains the foundation of our company,” – Ray Zuckerman
Our staff is proud to be able to help keep some of the most talented, technically proficient people in the world safe while doing their important work. These are exciting and difficult times, but we’re focused on the values that propelled us here in the first place. Learn more about our current offerings here.