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Moving Servers: 3 Essential Functions of a Data Center Lift

You’ve heard of the “rule of three’s.” In Latin, omne trium perfectum,roughly translated, means “everything that comes in threes is perfect.” We agree.

At ServerLIFT, we think constantly about moving servers in data centers. OK, so we’re a bit obsessive. But what are the fundamental functions required to move heavy data center hardware?

What we discovered is that, in fact, there are only “3 essential functions” that any data center lifting device needs to do in order to be useful in any data center:

  • Transport
  • Position
  • Install/Remove

Sure, there are plenty of nice features and benefits that a lift can have, but without these three, the rest doesn’t really matter.

Data Center Heavy Lifting and the Rule of Threes

The migration and manual handling of data center equipment continues to be the “dirty little secret” that plagues and distracts us from the real work of operating a data center. But an assisted lifting device (ALD) takes the physical lifting out of data center equipment migration. Our clients share data proving that using these devices not only mitigates risk of injury when lifting heavy equipment, but also increases the speed of server deployment.

Here are the criteria to meet the rule of threes in data center hardware migration.

Transport

Servers don’t just show up by themselves in the right rack in the right aisle. Transporting IT equipment around the data center facility, from dock to rack, is a critical activity of daily operations.

  1. You need a server lift that can move heavy equipment throughout the data center, from the loading dock to the racks. That means through standard doors, over ramps, and into passenger elevators.
  2. Your server lift should fit an aisle as narrow at 48” without having to do a 360 to position equipment.
  3. It should roll easily over floor obstructions such as grated tiles, door thresholds, or cord protectors; some lifts fall short of this requirement and may necessitate a completely smooth service area before undertaking a migration.

Position

Positioning and aligning servers and switches in a multitude of environments and configurations can mean the difference between assisted server handling and going back to the dangerous and inefficient method of manual lifting.

  1. Once you’ve navigated your way to the rack, you must be able to move the data center equipment to the right height – even to the top of a non-standard rack (48U, 52U, or even 58U high), the very bottom of a rack, or even to the floor.
  2. The equipment must be aligned side to side so that it’s level with connection points or rails during installation into, or during removal from, the rack.
  3. If you are dealing with servers that attach to the rack using drop-in or slotted rails, you must be able to support the angle of the equipment during install or removal.

Install

What good would it be to go through the effort of procuring an ALD unless it fully assists in making the process of installing and removing equipment to and from the rack as easy as possible?

  1. You must be able to safely move equipment into and out of the rack and support it in place while you use two hands to secure it to the rails or posts.
  2. Effective moves require full access to the mounting and connection points work freely on the server from the front or sides.
  3. When installing or removing equipment, the lift must not budge, even if you are pushing a server weighing hundreds of pounds from the platform to the rack or vice versa. Lifts that don’t meet this requirement and move around while transferring servers (on or off platforms) can create as much danger as not using an ALD at all.

ServerLIFT is the Only ALD to Meet the Rule of Threes

Of course, we have to point out that ServerLIFT is the only Assisted Lifting Device (ALD) for data centers on the market today that anyone can use to perform all three of these crucial functions for any piece of equipment, in any rack, in any data center, anywhere on the planet.

With ServerLIFT, you have the opportunity to go from the box or pallet into the rack (or vice versa) in at least half the time. Not to mention that adopters of ServerLIFT solutions boast a reported 100% safety record. That’s zero operator injuries and zero equipment damage.

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data centers, IoT, connectivity, capacity management, workflows

Growth of IoT Threatens Data Center Efficiency, Including Moving Servers

data centers, IoT, connectivity, capacity management, workflows This year we’ve noticed a trend in data centers; infrastructure management is struggling to keep up with the demand for connectivity. A lot of this can be blamed on the growth from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and the data they capture. The growth of IoT threatens data center efficiency.

As data center managers are being tasked to handle bigger data loads, do you really think they have time to assemble a team of three or four employees to physically move data center equipment? It’s the last thing a data center manager should have to worry about.

Gartner predicts that over half of all the new business processes on the market by 2020 will be IoT-centric. This will challenge data center managers to handle the wealth of additional information these sensors capture and bring to the enterprise. Data center managers will also increasingly be called upon to extend their responsibilities around security, as more IoT devices will mean additional threat vectors that must be mitigated.

IoT and Capacity Management

The Internet of Things connects remote sensors that provide a steady data stream. This data can be harnessed and integrated into existing enterprise processes. The IoT is now everywhere — and it’s changing how hospitals monitor discharged patients, how cities respond to traffic patterns, and even how police monitor and respond to gunshots. In the data center, IoT devices are being used to monitor energy efficiency, server room temperature, humidity, and more.

But all this data will increasingly push data center managers to deliver on the scalability promised by our digital architectures. Proactively managing capacity is job one for data center managers tasked with responding to the demands of the IoT.

If Gartner’s crystal ball is correct, data centers will soon be struggling with the volume and velocity of data flooding in from the roughly 26 billion IoT devices in use by 2020. From a hardware perspective, this will require additional capacity, faster upgrades, and perhaps even the deployment of distributed mini data centers designed to aggregate more data, more quickly.

How quickly you can deploy, consolidate, and deconfigure data center equipment will have a big impact on how you respond to these demands.

Streamlining Data Center Workflows

With data centers evolving and their capacity expanding, the last task the forward-thinking data center manager needs to worry about is the physical migration of hardware. Yet we’ve found that the lifting and maneuvering of servers into racks in the data center is one of those processes that is rarely evaluated for its effectiveness and safety.

As the demands for data center managers increase, server relocation, replacement, and installation will increasingly require planning and implementation time that you simply do not have. As pressures increase to expand data centers to handle IoT data, speed-to-launch will become increasingly important. Utilizing an assisted lifting device (ALD) cuts the physical migration of data center equipment in half — or more.

It’s clear that the data center of the future will discard cumbersome processes. Assisted lifting devices (ALDs) are part of the growing family of data center infrastructure technologies designed to deploy technology with the speed and efficiency demanded by the IoT.