Details, Details, Details – Individual Components or Pre-Configured Cabinets?

The devil is in the details. This is true for many endeavors, particularly when building out a data center’s physical infrastructure. Given the scope and investment of the entire data center project, the physical infrastructure can seem relatively minor. Missing some important details however, can have a significant impact on installation schedules, and your job…who wants to explain why a new service or application is delayed  because a minor component doesn’t fit right or didn’t arrive on schedule?  Missing details can also impact network performance when work-arounds, done for the sake for expediency, lead to operational problems or worse….after the data center has been commissioned.

So many parts, so little time

The collection of cabinets, cables, cable managers, labels, power strips, power cords, grounding lugs and miscellaneous accessories required to deploy a data center’s physical infrastructure adds up to literally hundreds of individual components, coming from multiple vendors, requiring different contractor specialties and installed at different points in the deployment process. A switch cabinet for instance can have around 250 individual components.

The details involved in making sure all the components are at the site, work together, and deliver expected performance level requires a significant investment in time and resources to evaluate components, develop specifications, create designs, and manage the procurement of components. Increasingly, IT organizations are less likely to have resources with the time and expertise to integrate all the components.

One way to simplify and speed deployment is to pre-configure cabinets by pre-installing major components, excluding active equipment, offering bundled and labeled cable kits, supported by simple racking and cabling instructions. In addition to the elimination of the time required to assemble many individual components, the cabinets can be ordered as a single part number from a single supplier saving 3 to 4 hours required to process orders. Design and specification time is reduced because the supplier is responsible for the myriad of details such as color, quantity, labeling, as well as the quality and completeness of the assembly.

This approach also allows the option of having pre-configured cabinets delivered to your site where the active equipment can be installed, or having the cabinets sent to an integrator to install the active equipment. In either approach, the amount of packaging that needs to be discarded is reduced, and individual components do not need to be staged and inventoried prior to the build.

All these details, when looked at individually can seem insignificant, however when considered over the entire data center they add up to significant use of time and resources that could be used to address higher value activities.

Let us know what you think about this approach, whether or not you have used it, and whether or not it simplified your project.



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