When designing the layout for a technical business, keep in mind how rapidly the tech world changes. New devices, standards, and expansions could mean rearranging equipment or needing a full overhaul of the equipment rooms. A mainstay of data centers and server rooms is the server rack, and although it can be adjusted to fit certain devices depending on how racks are installed, you can't secure every device shape and size at the same time. Here's a look into what could go wrong with standard, static data-center designs and how a metal fabrication team from a company such as Cor Metals can help you stay on top of tech change.
Fitting Everything May Not Work
Many networking and server-management devices follow the same standards. A rectangular device with bolting mounts or bolt holes on the sides or corners is the usual design, and many devices can fit within the 19-inch device space with an adapter of some sort.
Unfortunately, new devices are challenging the standard every day. In some cases, a new technology enters the management world with leaders who simply weren't part of older data-center culture, see no need for the new standards, and are keen on bringing their own standards to the market.
The problem with new solutions to unconventional devices is that your data center may become a nearly barren forest of server racks with only a few devices installed. This wastes space, as walking and storage area is taken up by racks that aren't filled up completely. Although it isn't necessary to cram devices into one rack—that can even be a disaster due to overheating due to multiple devices releasing hot air—it's better to figure out how to get at least five or six devices on a six-foot rack.
Another issue is devices that were never intended to be data-center devices. A home-networking or hobbyist device may be packed with amazing new ideas that can bring innovation into tech operations, but even the developers haven't had the foresight to plan for wider data-center usage. You may have a device that's too small or awkwardly shaped for server racks, meaning they'll be sitting on shelf placeholders in the racks and easily knocked to the floor.
Fitting Things with Metal Fabrication
The key is to make a rack that can fit one of your largest, most awkwardly-shaped devices while being able to scale down to other sizes. This can be accomplished with clamping mechanisms, cages, or other options that metal-fabrication professionals can use.
With clamping, customized shelves are built with clamps that can be tightened to the sides of the devices. These allow installers and technicians to secure devices enough that they won't be pulled to the ground if a person trips over cables without obstructing any of the ports and indicators. There's still a bit of a pulling hazard if the fall or pull is hard enough, however, and that is where cages can be helpful.
Metal fabricators can design custom cages that fit the size of a custom server rack for each device. Each case can have face plates and access panels that fit the device's specific buttons, interfaces, and ventilation ports while allowing the device to be bolted in place. Removing the device may be a bit of a chore, but this is an added security measure that may be worth the effort.
Contact a metal-fabrication professional to discuss other designs that can help with constructing a versatile data center.