Women in the Data Center

There are more women in the data center than ever before. “In 2015, women held 57% of all professional occupations, yet they held only 25% of all computing occupations,” according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2016, women in the U.S. occupied only 38.9% of jobs in data processing, hosting, and related services, despite an increase in the number of women graduating with graduate degrees in IT programs.

Between 2005 and 2011, institutions with IT programs issued more than 76,000 degrees to women, with increases among graduates at the master’s (19.7%) and doctorate (14.2%) levels, according to the Institute of Education Sciences.

Many strategies have been suggested regarding increasing the number of women in quality tech positions, says the Workforce Institute. Unfortunately, as far as data center careers go, the dirty little secret is that, on a daily basis, workers in data centers have to lift heavy, expensive servers up and down, in order to do their jobs. As a result, many employers, consciously or unconsciously, hire young, strong, male candidates to fill IT engineer or tech positions. Likewise, women may not even apply for positions because they know that it includes tasks that are as physically demanding and as dangerous as construction site jobs.

What Does the Law Say About Lifting Heavy Objects?

As a general guideline, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in the 1980s, established a basic recommended maximum lift weight of 51 pounds applied equally to both men and women. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have both adopted the NIOSH recommendation. However, no federal legislation in the U.S. requires adhesion to the recommendation, leaving employers and employees with the responsibility of making decisions about lifting equipment in data centers.

To help physicians advise pregnant women, NIOSH established a Revised Lifting Equation (RNLE) to provide recommended weight limits (RWLs) for pregnant women in the workplace. Just as with the original recommendation, the federal government does not require compliance. It is the employee who must take the initiative to consult with a physician to establish a safe weight limit and negotiate assistance terms with her employer.

Should Women Apply for Data Center Jobs?

Lifting heavy IT equipment does not have to present a barrier to women, or anyone else, who would like to work in an IT job. Easy-to-use data center server lifts have virtually eliminated lifting ability as a hiring consideration.

Purpose-built server lifts maneuver well in the data center, and they eliminate the need to lift, hold, or support any piece of IT equipment that fits in server cabinets. Well-designed server lifts level the playing field and provide a tool that can be used universally by anyone regardless of height, age, or strength.

Aside from essentially doubling the pool of candidates (more than half the population are women), hiring women in the data center generates a number of advantages, according to a study, “The Case for Investing in Women,” by the Anita Borg Institute. The key advantages:

  • Improved Operational and Financial Performance. “Women have tremendous purchasing power. Organizations who employ more women in key roles are better equipped to meet the needs of the broader market, because women know what women want,” according to the Institute.
  • Increased Innovation. The ability for companies to innovate is a critical competitive advantage. Research has shown what should be plainly obvious – that the different perspectives of women produces a more fertile environment for new ideas and ways of thinking. According to research, women “bring valuable perspectives and approaches to the ideation process, resulting in more innovative solutions to complex problems.”
  • Better Problem-Solving and Group Performance. Diverse groups with diverse perspectives, compared to homogeneous ones, solve problems more efficiently and increase overall performance.
  • Enhanced Company Reputation. Those with aptitude in the tech field are in short supply and high demand. Having women in positions throughout the organization sends a strong and positive message to suppliers, customers, investors and prospective employees.


The pool of female IT graduates is growing and will continue to do so, as the enrollment of women in IT-related degree programs increases. Having the tools needed to hire women for jobs in a data center environment can benefit the overall business by improving company diversity, productivity, innovation, and image.

Federal regulations protect men and women equally, with respect to duties involving lifting IT equipment, and recommendations exist to establish fair policy. Lifting solutions such as server lifts now eliminate the barriers of physical strength and height that may have once prevented women from applying for data center technician and other positions requiring the handling of heavy IT equipment.

5 Factors for Choosing the Right Data Center Server Lift

Employees in data centers of any size require mechanical assistance when moving heavy items. According to Occupational Health and Safety Magazine, lifting any load greater than 51 pounds (23 kg) by hand, can easily turn into an “unsafe lift.”

“If the load to be lifted does not meet [exact] criteria, then it is an unsafe lift, and modifications must be made. Modifications would include lightening the load, getting help, or using a mechanical lifting device. There is always a way to turn an unsafe lift into a safer lift.”

Adding a properly designed server lift to your data center operations simplifies server maintenance and data center moves.

Warehouse lifts are designed to move boxes and items on pallets in wide, spacious passageways, with little regard for how precisely they hold and handle their payload. In fact, lift tines and warehouse lift platforms can sag under load, by several inches, because their purpose is not precise, level positioning for tasks like rack installs.

Furthermore, because their job is lifting boxes and pallets in a warehouse environment, it is generally acceptable for them to employ hydraulics or open systems replete with pinch points. However, that is a major no-no in clean room data centers where the use of clumsy, inappropriately designed warehouse lifts creates new challenges and dangers.

A lift designed specifically for data centers navigates much more effectively in tight server room aisles. Its rigid structure keeps the equipment aligned for installs, and it provides support for servers into the cabinet. It allows your staff to migrate, refresh, and maintain servers and other IT equipment with a facility-compliant tool. It should minimize risk of injury, and damage to expensive equipment and structures.

Doing a quick Google search for a server lift produces a lot of results, some of which may be confusing or misleading. Many of those search results will include general material lifts, and some may even be advertised for use in the data center. The question is, “Do any of these lifts meet the important functions and standards needed to eliminate manual handling of IT equipment in data center environments?”

When choosing an Assisted Lifting Device for your data center, be sure to select a properly spec’d unit and solution that will best fit your operational needs. Take into consideration:

  1. If the device enables you to remove all manual aspects of server handling from your daily operations
  2. Frequency of server moves (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
  3. Maximum present or future load size (e.g., heaviest server, multiple servers, switch, etc.)
  4. High and low reach requirements
  5. Required safety regulations and certification compliance

1. Can the Server Lift Carry Out the Essential Functions that Eliminate Manual Handling?

When making your purchase decision, remember that in order to be useful as a server lift, the machine you select must be able to perform all of the following essential functions – transport, position, and install/remove – within the confines of your data center environment. Traditional material lifts or any lift that cannot safely carry out these activities should not be considered. Whether it’s navigating narrow server room aisles, positioning servers with the necessary finesse, or supporting the equipment during an install, most can do one or two of these functions, but not all three.

You need an Assisted Lifting Device designed to transport equipment around any data center, where expensive, unprotected equipment and tight aisles between server racks limit turning radius and maneuverability. Its wheel size and a low center of gravity must enable it to travel smoothly and safely over raised floors, ramps, channel raceways, elevator car sills, and rough surfaces such as perforated tiles or grates and concrete expansion joints.

Your lift must respect low ceilings in cold and hot containment units, door openings, elevator entrances, drop ceilings, and overhead cable trays, lighting, conduits, and ducts. It should be able to position servers while not interfering with all these obstacles or at least not damaging them.

2. How Often Do You Move Servers?

For infrequent migrations with only a couple of servers at a time, a manual data center lift that meets the criteria stated above, provides data center managers with a viable alternative to the dangerous work of lifting equipment by hand. It will also satisfies strict safety department requirements and eliminates the sometimes overlooked risks of the job.

However, for most reasonably sized data centers, a motorized lift is an even better option. From simple server refreshes to migrating entire racks and many servers at a time, a motorized lift is always a more efficient and easier-to-use tool to keep IT staff happy and focused on the brainwork.

The aggregate total migration weight and number of tasks handled daily, weekly, or monthly add up, in terms of muscle strain. Avoiding that requires a motorized data center lifting device. It should include a heavy-duty motor, deep-cycle battery, and safety lock-outs to handle the equipment and keep your IT staff on-task and not in pain.

3. How Much Does Your Heavy Equipment Weigh?

Server weights vary from tens to hundreds of pounds, and during big moves you may find your staff migrating several servers at a time. That’s when you want a heavy-duty lift with a large capacity. Your maximum anticipated load size plays an important role in deciding which server lift best fits your data center needs.

If you have one component weighing 500 pounds (226 kg) or more, for example, you need a lift rated at or above that weight. Likewise, if you plan on taking advantage of the efficiency of moving several lighter servers at the same time, for a rapid install, their aggregate weight could easily exceed a few hundred pounds. In that case you’ll also want a data center lift rated to carry at least that amount of weight. Choose a lift with a carrying capacity greater than your highest anticipated weight, whether moving one piece at a time or moving several in a single trip.

4. Server Lifts Must Safely Handle Loads from the Floor, Upward through to the Top Cabinet Positions

Data center managers should choose a device with enough reach to assist installs at the lowest and highest points of their cabinets. Because data center “real estate” is at such a premium with sky-high operational and cooling costs, achieving a high server density is critical. Empty slots at the top or bottom of your rack is something you can’t afford, especially if it’s not by design, but because your chosen lift tool can’t do the job.

When servers are delivered to your facility, your IT techs need the right tools to get them unpacked, off the floor or pallet, and into their working position in the server cabinet. Unpacking heavy IT equipment by hand, can require two or more people bending down to floor level, and you may be forced to destroy some or all of the packaging to successfully get the equipment out.

5. A Server Lift Must Meet In-House, Federal, State, and/or Local Regulations

Wherever you’ll be using your server lift, federal, state, and local regulations may require that your it meets safety and quality standards. Be sure to choose a lift that meets the requirements  of your internal safety standards as well as those of the jurisdictions covering your facility. The EU, for example, requires that every piece of equipment be CE certified. In the United States, many companies or jurisdictions require commercial FCC compliance to avoid electromagnetic emissions and interference with surrounding equipment.


As you compare server lifts, the importance of choosing one that is capable of carrying out the three essential functions of a data center lift cannot be overstated. You will find yourself doing a lot more dangerous manual handling of heavy equipment than you bargained for if your lift can’t properly assist you in transporting servers around the data center, positioning them where they need to be, and providing access and support when installing/removing them to and from cabinets. The lift you select must be able to carry out these functions effectively and efficiently –  without putting your staff or your data center equipment at risk.

Finally, it must be capable of operating correctly in the unique configuration of your data center environment, yet still have the strength, reach, endurance, and stability to handle heavy equipment faster, better, and safer than you can do by hand.

Introducing the SL-1000X Super Duty ServerLIFT

ServerLIFT is pleased to introduce the much anticipated SL-1000X Super Duty ServerLIFT, the latest addition to our server and IT hardware handling. With features specifically designed to enhance safety and efficiency, the SL-1000X™ ServerLIFT represents the future of advanced data center lifting solutions. The SL-1000X™ ServerLIFT is the only compact server lift rated to lift 1000 lbs., offering unrivaled lifting capacity without compromising maneuverability. Designed with a slim 24” base and side-loading capabilities, this state-of-the-art device smoothly navigates the narrow confines of a data center and aligns IT equipment precisely to either side of even the narrowest aisles .

ServerLIFT’s exclusive gliding shelf slides 6” towards the rack, for seamless server alignment the appropriate rack level. To further enhance positioning, the proprietary electronic lifting system brings equipment to the precise rack heights of up to nine feet with ease and precision. The dual-point stabilizer brake system prevents the lift from sliding or rotating during an installation to maximize employee and hardware safety. The unit’s selection of features allows just one user to safely move equipment, in todays advanced data center environment. Specifically developed for efficiency and ease-of-use, this sophisticated unit makes every install simple and safe.

With the addition of the SL-1000X Super Duty lift, ServerLIFT strengthens its position as the industry leader committed to providing tailored lifting solutions to fulfill the needs of data centers worldwide.


IBM, Data Center Design & Inefficiency

Like so many things taken for granted, data centers have a side to them that few people know of. IBM’s insight into their data center management and infrastructure comes across as interesting, puzzling and perhaps even absurd.

Data Center Design

According to IBM around 80% of data centers were created before the dotcom era. With almost three fourths of the number of data centers built before 1985, they are in need of rebuilding. This affects the duties of those responsible for data center design and data center management today.

We’ve come a long way from when Bill Gates remarked that 640K ought to be enough and looks like nothing’s enough going to be enough for modern data centers that are energy efficient, handle more information and keep it more secure than yesterday.

Don’t lose your cool

Paris Hilton’s patented observation “that’s hot” takes a whole new meaning in the world of data center design and data center standards. Data centers very easily lose their cool, and when they do, it has a very serious trickled down effect. Lost jobs and crashing stock prices are not uncommon effects of failure to keep data centers running at optimal temperatures. Hot doesn’t just affect server performance, but raises safety concerns as well.
IBM claims that more than 50% of energy injected into a data center is used for cooling. The actual computing gets only about 3%! These incredible figures highlight just how important and delicate the issue is of maintaining the optimal data center environment.

In an idle situation…

What would your boss say if you sat around doing nothing for 7 hours out of your 8-hour shift? Sitting idle is not for people, but for data centers apparently. In distributed computing environments, as much as 85% of computing capacity can just sit idle. This translates into wasting around $40 billion worth of supply chain. Not very efficient data center management.
What all data centers managers should take away from the above is the importance of efficiency. Increasing costs and green initiatives aren’t exactly making the job easier. But through automation, virtualization, and smart data center design, the elusive efficiency can be achieved, without blowing up budgets. With the right solutions you can boost data center efficiency and enjoy all of the associated benefits that range from cost savings to better customer experience.


Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)

Your Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)

In 2007, The Green Grid published its very first white paper regarding energy efficiencies in data centers. “Green Grid Metrics: Describing Data Center Power Efficiency” proposed the use of Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Datacenter Efficiency (DCE), now Data center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE), as a means to enable data center operators to quickly estimate the energy efficiency of their data centers, compare the results against other data centers, and determine if any energy efficient improvements could be made. Since 2007 PUE has been massively adopted by the data center industry and is now used as a standard in measuring power usage. According to the Uptime Institute, the typical data center has an average PUE of 2.5, estimating that most facilities could achieve 1.6 PUE if the most efficient data center equipment and best practices were put into place.

Although PUE has greatly increased the power efficiency of data centers and made the industry more proactive in green energy practices, lately PUE seems to be more of a number to blast to the media then an actual account of the total energy consumed in a data center. Daily, the industry is bombarded with “my new data center’s PUE is one-dot-x” reports, but frankly no one really cares anymore. No longer is PUE a real account of energy efficiency, but more of a fabricated number that gives you bragging rights for a few days before the next newest, lowest PUE is announced.

As I said above, PUE is supposed to give you an account of what the total data center energy consumption is. But with the trend towards not including communication systems, security systems outside lighting, lunch rooms, restrooms, fire suppression, emergency lighting, basically anything fed from an energy source, into that number, your PUE is really just a fabrication to help you look like you have the lowest PUE on the planet. In essence it’s the industries popularity contest, your PUE can help you to win Prom Queen.

As nice as your PUE number may look, as low and wonderful as it may sound, and how popular you think it will make you, only you know if it’s really a ‘true’ PUE. If you’re willing to admit (even if it’s just to yourself and you never speak of it again…) what your actual total data center consumption is, then you can begin to properly manage the energy consumption in your data center. With that truthful little number you can start to develop an understanding of your IT’s performance per watt and embrace accurate utilization rates, bit traffic, storage, workloads, and clock cycles. When all is said and done, what really matters is your uptime, your ability to meet or exceed your SLAs and IT needs, and meeting your energy objectives.

So yes, PUE is great. It can greatly increase efficiency and help to increase your IT performance per watt per day. Go ahead and fabricate your number a little bit if you really want to be the “quarterback” of the datacenter industry for the day, but do everyone a favor, and please shout it from the roof tops with a report to The Green Grid or the EPA. I’m sure you can relate when I say, we are all getting a little sick of the constant news blasts and PUE noise clogging up our Google alerts. Spare us the “one-dot-x” headliners that bottleneck our email accounts daily and just report it the proper place.

May I suggest that perhaps we should all try and remember why data centers were built in the first place? I can guarantee the management of any corporate data center is probably more concerned with availability and IT performance, than a PUE number that would make them look “cool”, because that fictitious PUE isn’t what’s driving up profit and quarterly reports. At the end of the day, it can be summed up by this perspective from Steve Hassell, President of Avocent, in speaking about running data centers, “I may get yelled at about efficiency, but I will get fired over availability.”

ServerLIFT Expands into Asia Pacific Market

ServerLIFT’s New Distribution Channel in Asia PAC

ServerLIFT would like to take this opportunity to proudly announce our partnership with Datumstruct, a new technology distributor in Asia Pacific. With current distributors established in Canada, Australia and Europe, ServerLIFT has further expanded its global reach throughout the Asia Pacific market.

Recently being named to the 2012 Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest growing companies in America, we have experienced exponential growth on a global scale. ServerLIFT is positioned as an industry leader in datacenter server management solutions, consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations for top of the line products and solutions since 2002. While many U.S. based companies have kept their focus on service based products or imports, ServerLIFT remains among the roughly 1% of American companies who actively export products to other countries. Our partnership with key technology distributor Datumstruct leads the way for Server Lift’s expansion into one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

About Datumstruct

Founded in 1997, Datumstruct is a leading distributor and solution provider for Southeast Asia, with over 10 years of experience servicing the technology industry. Headquartered in Singapore, Datumstruct has established offices throughout the Asia Pacific, with locations in Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Hong Kong. Offering products ranging from IT infrastructure to audio and video connectivity applications, Datumstruct takes a holistic approach to the solutions and products they provide.

The New Google Data Center in Finland

New Google Data Center in Hamina, Finland

This week we decided to post a video about Google’s new data center build out in Hamina, Finland. This particular data center has created a lot of hype in the industry and we thought a lot of you would be interested learning more about this facility and how it’s data center design is using a sea water cooling system. It’s definitively an innovative approach. Let us know what you think.


ServerLIFT Visits i/o’s Phoenix ONE Data Center

Phoenix ONE Data Center Tour:

Recently some of the ServerLIFT team had the opportunity to visit one of the world’s largest data centers! Lucky for us, i/o data centers calls Arizona home and it just so happens that their Phoenix ONE data center is one of the most technologically advanced facilities in the world.

i/o 538,000 square foot monster facility houses more than 80,000 square feet of office space, allowing its corporate headquarters to conveniently reside at the same location, alongside the most advanced colocation space in the world. The rest of the 460,000 square feet are is covered by raised floor, divided into four data center “pods” and the facility as a whole has been awarded Tier III Design Certification by the Uptime Institute.

Besides i/o’s enormous size, Phoenix ONE boasts a number of really cool innovative data center design features.

The facility has its own on-site sub-station providing 55 MW of utility power and a huge array of solar panels on the roof.

To keep things cool, Phoenix ONE uses a thermal storage system, ultrasonic humidifiers, LED lighting, CRAHs (computer room air handlers), high-efficiency chillers, and sealed server racks.

Like most data centers, i/o is very concerned with their environmental impact and has taken measures to help make their facility as green as possible, down to their recycled car tire flooring.

To keep things safe, i/o secures the perimeter with automatic bollards and a guard station that is monitored 24 hours a day. If you’re lucky enough to get past the lobby, you will be watched closely by digital video surveillance and be subjected to numerous bio-metric and ID card screenings. Phoenix ONE is intent on keeping anyone who shouldn’t be on the premise out. And with that, our tour ended and we were back to the offices at ServerLIFT headquarters.



ServerLIFT Sponsors the NOC at Interop Las Vegas 2012

Interop Las Vegas 2012 –

ServerLIFT Sponsors the NOC

Since 2008, ServerLIFT Corporation has sponsored the NOC at Interop Las Vegas and New York. This video shows how the team at Interop uses ServerLIFTs to prepare for their show! For two weeks, some of the best and brightest engineers in IT gather at an uberGeek bunker in Brisbane, CA to assemble the most advanced temporary network in the world and use ServerLIFTs to rack and lift all of the equipment!


Extreme Makeover: Server Room Edition

Extreme Makeover: Server Room Edition


Happy Friday readers! I thought I would start this week’s post by telling you how thrilled I am to see comments starting to appear on the posts and watching our reader count climb! It’s great to know that we’re providing you with articles you find interesting or informative! I would love your feedback on the blog and what you would like to see talked about in the future, so don’t be afraid to leave a comment. After all, the purpose of our blog is to post about things and news that you want to read about!

With that said, this week’s Funny Friday video was created by Microsoft and is called “Extreme Makeover: Server Room Edition”. It’s a spoof on the hit TV show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” hosted by Ty Pennington and is pretty hilarious. If you like the TV show, you’ll find this video especially entertaining.

As always, have a safe and relaxing weekend!

Remodeling the Server Room