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At the heart of almost every business is data. Every infrastructure relies on the management of a company’s crucial data, and more often than not, that means the management of servers. Server management is often looked at as a matter of keeping up with patches and updates, and this is all very critical and important stuff. However, it’s important not to overlook the basic physical part of the matter. Things like, server space management, cooling, and cabling are just as capable of taking down your server as a software crash, so consider the following tips next time you take on the daunting task of setting up server racks.
Budget – This one comes first because it is often the first thing considered by any IT manager, and will likely determine what servers and ultimately what racks you invest in. Consider your budget carefully and don’t overlook things like maintenance and future expansion. If your budget server is too old, this could make upgrades difficult. On the other hand, if your server is top-of-the-line, other issues could arise such as a lack of community support and other product/software compatibility.
Rack placement – One of the most crucial implications for a successful server setup is the placement of your racks. Poor placement can lead to maintenance issues as well as cooling issues, so you’ll want to plan all of this out thoroughly. When planning your space, first consider how large your servers will be and then how large your racks will need to be. Make sure that you can set up your racks in a way that allows for a hot and cold aisle set up or some form of cooling architecture as this will be crucial to the performance of your servers.
Consider your future needs – Ask yourself questions like, “how much do I expect the volume of my data to change within the next 5 years?” While this may seem like a long time, it really isn’t, and its one of the first things any server rack consultant would ask you. A solid plan will make your life much easier in the long run.
Cabling – Speaking of making your life easier in the long run, one of the easiest and simultaneously worst things to overlook is cabling. Proper cabling can be the difference between a professional-looking, efficient datacenter and a spaghetti-infested rat’s nest that haunts your IT maintenance guy’s dreams. Every cable should be measured precisely before being cut and implemented. Cables of the wrong length are an open invitation for kinks, knots, and overall confusion. Additionally, every cable should be color-coded, labeled at both ends, and properly tested. Following these steps will make your racks much, much more manageable.
Stay cool – As mentioned earlier in the rack placement section of this blog, cooling is crucial to the performance of your servers. Naturally, this means designing your rack placement so that they can be evenly cooled and expel the heat they create efficiently. Additionally, it is a less well-known fact that the cables connecting your network of servers be well cooled as well. Heat can lower the performance of cables over time and eventually damage them permanently, so design your cooling situation in a way that takes the whole system into consideration.