How Can You Reduce the Total Cost of Ownership of Server Rack Enclosures?
Even as IT Facilities Managers wonder how to control the costs of operating a data center, the industry itself continues to create solutions that help reduce costs and improve performance. Although ongoing costs — climate control, heat removal, energy, etc. — are continually top-of-mind, purchasing server rack enclosures may seem like a one-time, year-one expense. Truth is, that decision will impact costs moving forward for years to come.
The right server rack enclosures allow data centers to immediately adjust to meet tomorrow’s technologies, applications, and increased installation densities, which can mean significant savings opportunities. You need to plan your IT enclosures well before installation for what your facility may require. And insure they will be able to support the appliance and technology refresh cycle over the lifespan of the physical facility.
A smart way to identify savings opportunities is to look at the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an enclosure system. This article explores the factors to consider when calculating TCO, including actions you can take now, while evaluating systems, and even after systems are installed.
Three Definitions for Planning Success
Every IT infrastructure will require adaptation at some point. Whatever its location — enterprise data center, colocation facility, the Spine/Edge — it takes planning to ensure IT enclosures are ready to take on tomorrow’s demands. Here are three things to define before an IT facilities manager can understand if they’re ready:
- Define the installation environment — Future plans need to be fully understood
- Define the hardware to be installed — You need to know what is going into your IT enclosures
- Define the scope of what’s needed — Get an idea for how many enclosures are needed now and to meet future growth
With those issues defined, you can now consider selecting the correct enclosure platform that meets your TCO expectations. Here are some tips to help.
Tips for Lowering TCO of a Server Rack Enclosure System
1. Choose a modular, scalable solution from the beginning
It may sound simple, but planning from day one of your project to select a server rack enclosure solution that is modular and scalable provides the freedom to expand when necessary over the life of the facility. The right enclosure architecture allows for the selection of standardized components (see #2 below) to create flexible, ready-to-deploy data center solutions. Meeting current needs is a good feeling; meeting future density needs is true peace of mind (mostly because you won’t be spending more to make that happen).
2. Prepare for the next generation of IT components
Make sure all components (cabinet and accessories) are designed to meet the needs of next-generation hardware and components. For example, modularity ensures that PDUs/Power strips, regardless of power parameters AND dimensions easily integrate into the IT rack, resulting in toolless installation and quick deployment. In addition, doing so across sites creates a consistent, standardized configuration to save additional costs down the road.
3. Support high density cooling
Climate control and heat removal strategies are evolving as processor and server technology advances. Imagine integrating or retrofitting enclosures with supplemental row- and rack-level cooling solutions that are designed to address specific requirements or hotspots without impacting your existing environment or infrastructure. That visionary thinking drops total cost of ownership.
4. Master air flow efficiency
Move beyond just trying to get cold air where you think it needs to go. Intelligent air flow management can drive the efficiency of any installation and ensure sustainable operation for years down the road. Row- and rack-based cooling strategies beat traditional perimeter systems, and less energy means lower energy costs, dropping TCO.
5. Consider the value of service
It may be hard to put a price tag on the value of having a competent, global support system in place that’s filled with experienced, helpful professionals. The goal is always to keep your enclosure systems (and facility) functioning properly and efficiently. Although difficult to calculate, top-end service definitely reduces TCO.
6. Tailor the TS IT Pro to your facilities
Here’s why Rittal’s new TS IT Pro server rack enclosures are worthy of mention: it accomplishes all of the previous five tips to help you lower TCO. These are flexible and scalable server rack enclosures that meet today’s IT needs as well as the growing trends of tomorrow, including high density cooling and power distribution.
True adaptability provides a single footprint that accommodates a variety of IT appliances or configuration requirements: space for extra deep servers and internal volume for high density cable installations. The goal? Invest once, adapt as needed.
Rittal has merged our innovative enclosures, power distribution, climate control, and IT infrastructure products into one system platform. Before concluding any search for enclosures for your facility, consider TCO and how a manufacturer will deliver features, functionality, and engineering that provides long-term value.