Guest blog by Debbie Dailey, Business Development Specialist, APC by Schneider Electric
The NetShelter CX, to refresh your memory, is basically “a server room in a box.” It’s a portable, secure, soundproof enclosure that is a perfect fit for medical offices, clinics and healthcare facilities wherever customers need IT equipment but don’t have dedicated space for it. You can learn all about it at the CX web site.
Now, on to the top questions you’re likely to ask – and one really oddball story that is always good for laughs.
1. What will I get out of my investment?
This is probably the top question you’re likely to ask because the CX does cost more than a typical bare bones rack. However, it saves money in a number ways that other enclosures simply don’t. It should be thought of as a less expensive data center, offering cooling, soundproofing, and security.
First, its fan cooled, so customers don’t have to provide any additional air conditioning or any special venting in the room where it sits. That means you save on operating expenses over its lifetime, as compared to traditional enclosures that require extra AC.
And because it’s so quiet, muffling about 90% of the noise from the equipment it houses, you can place the CX in the same space where your employees are working without fear of it causing disruption. That means you can place the CX pretty much anywhere – outpatient and retail spaces, doctor offices, or other healthcare facilities. So you save on space, which is always a big expense. In some instances, it may even obviate the need for a customer to spend $15,000 or more constructing a server room. So the true return on investment comes from the savings in real estate.
2. What if the AC in my building is shut off in the evenings and on weekends? Won’t our equipment get too hot?
Servers typically run with significantly less load when the office is closed, so they don’t get as hot to begin with. If the temperature in the room is 80° F or less, you’ll have no problem.
Keep in mind, too, that server manufacturers, as well as the industry group ASHRAE, have been providing new guidance around the temperatures at which IT equipment can safely run – and those temperatures are rising. As mentioned in a previous post, for certain classes of data centers, ASHRAE says temperatures as high as 113° F and humidity as high as 90% are OK for short periods of time.
3. If the CX is portable, what’s to stop someone from rolling it right out of the room?
If you are concerned about someone making off with the enclosure and everything inside it, or simply don’t want to take the chance that the enclosure gets moved we offer a bolt-down kit, which secures the CX to the floor This is good for companies that require tight security as well as for areas prone to earthquakes. In fact, we came up with the kit mainly to address building codes in California, which require that certain equipment be bolted down to prevent injury during an earthquake.
4. The CX looks like a piece of furniture. Is it really secure?
The CX locks completely on all sides with a key. We also offer a High Security Adapter kit as an option, which replaces the front key lock with an HID reader so you can use a programmable swipe card to access the cabinet. This is a great option for healthcare facilities that must comply with laws such as HIPAA that require such protections for privacy reasons.
5. What if there’s a fire in or near the enclosure?
The CX is made from materials that are fire-resistant inside and out.
Finally, here’s a little story: About a year ago I got a call from a reseller who had an issue with a customer in southern Florida who had an IT cabinet in a warehouse. Rodents and snakes apparently liked to make themselves at home in the cabinet.
At one point, I got a call from the customer himself, who was distraught. “I can’t open my rack one more time and pull out a snake thinking it’s a wire,” he says. “I just can’t do it!” He wanted to know how quickly I could get a CX to him. I told him a couple days and he put the order in on the spot,
The CX does have vents on the bottom on both sides, but we added the option of the washable dust filters to cover the vents and apparently that did the trick – we haven’t heard any complaints from the customer since. So if you need to keep rodents and snakes out of your IT equipment, the CX has you covered!