Network closets are a critical link between information-technology (IT) networks and infrastructure. Regardless of whether a single network closet is your entire IT setup or you have thousands of them scattered across the globe, considering your rack equipment is important to keeping your IT systems running efficiently.
Power-management solutions allow you to distribute power to and within the rack, and a proper cable-management strategy will help keep your closet organized while making the most effective use of your footprint. To top it off, having the ability to remotely monitor and manage power will ensure you need not run to the closet every time a power issue arises.
Coupling network closets with vital power- and infrastructure-management solutions, the discussion below describes three things data center managers must do ensure a reliable, efficient and safe networking environment.
Choosing the rack or enclosure in which to organize your equipment is vital to the overall health and function of your infrastructure. Racks enable you to store, power, manage, secure and cool your critical IT equipment. Additionally, they add an extra layer of security for environments that may store sensitive information such as credit-card, banking or human-resource data. Depending on the square footage of your environment and the amount of equipment you need to support, you have a few different options to choose from.
With rapidly increasing power consumption and demands from IT equipment, an enclosure can help increase the flexibility and security of your rackmount equipment. New platforms, such as Eaton’s RS Enclosure, are designed to support a broad range of accessories for an optimized network closet—including products for power distribution, management and protection. The enclosure also features a highly secure combination lock to strengthen physical protection for managers of facilities that house-sensitive data.
Four-post racks offer an open, accessible and unrestricted architecture for cable-dense networking equipment. The labeled U-spaces assist with hardware deployment, and the open design provides unobstructed airflow into and out of equipment. You should also consider cable-management accessories and provisions for rack power-distribution units (PDUs).
Durable two-post network-equipment racks are available in 19" and 23" panel mounts with a variety of heights. Seismic versions of this solution also have enhanced frame strength and rigidity.
Wall-Mount Cabinets and Racks
Wall-mount equipment is a cost-effective, secure way to mount communications cabling, networking gear and related equipment to conserve floor space. Wall-mount cabinets provide a secure enclosure with protection from tampering and other hazards, while open-frame swing-gate wall-mount racks offer easy access to and unrestricted airflow around mounted equipment.
Equipment protection and environment design are critical to uptime and efficiency. Actively choosing the right management solutions can protect your power infrastructure, ensuring the design addresses the specific needs of your network during a power event and avoids leaving you in the dark. There are a number of reliable and redundant solutions you can install easily to ensure the uptime and efficiency of your rack.
Extending Run Time
In a rack environment where you require more run time during a power outage, an extended battery module (EBM) is your best solution to meet service-level agreements. You can add anywhere from one to four EBMs to your uninterruptible power system (UPS), depending on the rating, to extend your run time from minutes to hours for VoIP and telephony services.
UPS load segments are groups of receptacles that can be controlled independently. They can cycle hung servers remotely to save time and possibly eliminate the need to dispatch personnel. Load segments also extend run time for critical equipment. In the event of a power outage, nonessential equipment can be powered down to preserve battery power for critical devices.
New managed-rack PDUs can also give you the ability to control power at the outlet level for individual power cycling of a device. To gain further flexibility, you can configure outlets into groups; time and date event scheduling allows you to perform unattended control of individual outlets. This capability also enables you to measure current, voltage and power usage at the outlet (device) level to enable you to make the right decisions when it comes to energy consumption. By integrating your UPSs and ePDUs with management software, you can also view and control your environment from any computer on the network.
A 2N (redundant) UPS solution is one of the most reliable designs, since all equipment is supported by two UPSs. Power-monitoring software can also help to ensure reliability, so even if one UPS fails, the equipment has support from another UPS and will not shut down—giving you continual protection and time to fix the problem. Once the primary UPS is back online, the equipment switches back to it.
Rack-Power Protection and Control
You can use rack PDUs to protect and manage equipment. You can also distribute power efficiently and safely while taking advantage of advanced outlet-level control and measurement capabilities.
Other benefits include the following:
- Avoiding accidental plug disconnects with IEC outlet grip-plug retention
- Increasing uptime by hot swapping a network module
- Eliminating off-site visits by remotely managing equipment
- Acquiring accurate data by measuring power at the outlet level
Management of your networking closet is a major factor when considering efficiency, reliability and uptime. Whether you need to manage at the rack level or manage remotely, you have a number of options.
For in-rack monitoring, a UPS with an LCD screen is the way to go. You can limit the use of software and have access to multiple settings through the local UPS display. You can also access the UPS’s load segments and see what equipment is pulling the most or least power to help you better equalize your power distribution. If you’re unable to connect to your environment through a laptop or if you call tech support for alarms, the LCD allows you to manage everything locally at the touch of a button.
Additionally, think about using rack PDUs that also have LCD screens. The latest models offer sleek displays that allow you to view power consumption at the outlet level and help you calculate power usage effectiveness (PUE).
By employing remote-monitoring software and services, you can monitor and manage your network closet remotely. This capability gives you more time to focus on higher priorities and gives you peace of mind when you’re far from your equipment. Installing these solutions is fast, easy and affordable.
About the Author
Jessica Biggerstaff is a product manager in Eaton’s Power Quality Solutions organization in Raleigh, NC. You can reach her at JessicaBiggerstaff@Eaton.com.