Chris Williams, Business Development Manager at Emcor Enclosures, discusses the positive impact managers and operators will see by selecting a well-designed high quality cage as an additional layer of physical security for their data center, regardless of size or scale.
When building out your data center or colocation facility, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that the choice of cage enclosures isn’t what keeps you up at night. That’s understandable; cages are neither the most technically complex nor the most expensive investment you’ll make.
But the choice of cages has implications for your business that go beyond their function of protecting IT equipment. Depending on the characteristics of your facility, cage construction can introduce significant time and complexity considerations, particularly if self-assembly is required. Limitations on cage configuration can even affect your ability to gain the greatest efficiencies from the space in your data center or limit your options for where to locate your facility in the first place.
Perhaps most importantly, while security cages may be one of the lowest-cost components within the data center, their visual impact can make a big impact on customers. Sleek steel cages provide them with a greater sense of comfort, security and peace of mind about their decision to place their precious systems and data in your co-location. Customers like to check in with the service providers that care for their equipment and data center operators take pride in showing them facilities that are clean, modern and efficient. A steel enclosure shows that you take the security and integrity of their equipment seriously while paying attention to the details of aesthetics and visual appeal.
Off-the-shelf solutions may not be able to change as your needs do. For example, some customers with high security needs may require that cages be constructed of opaque materials that limit visibility into their equipment being used or may need cages extend fully from floor to ceiling to meet physical security regulations.
TCO is More Than List Price
When choosing an enclosure solution, be careful about defaulting to the lowest-cost option, which is typically a wireframe cage. Not all makers of wire cages can customize their products to your needs economically. Some providers also limit the range of sizes and shapes that they offer. If you need a customized configuration, you may be looking at weeks of waiting or worse, doing the cutting, welding and painting work yourself. Those additional expenses can quickly make a wireframe solution the least cost-effective option, particularly when labor costs are taken into account.
A cage needs to exactly match the contours of your environment to provide the highest level of security and thermal efficiency. This is especially important for data centers that are in older buildings, where odd room configurations, exposed pipes and irregular walls present special challenges. Customization will likely assume even greater importance as the growth of edge computing demands that many new “mini-data centers” be sited in offices, warehouses, apartment buildings and other facilities that were never intended to accommodate them. These non-traditional data centers will be needed to support the coming wave of 5G access points and low-latency applications. Operators that want to take full advantage of edge opportunities will need enclosure partners that can build to their specifications in even the most non-traditional environments.
A cage should maximize physical security and minimize wasted space, factors that are particularly important in settings with high real estate costs. They also need to accommodate changes mandated by customer needs, expansion, the introduction of new equipment and other factors that vary over time.
Off-the-shelf solutions may not be able to change as your needs do. For example, some customers with high security needs may require that cages be constructed of opaque materials that limit visibility into their equipment being used or may need cages extend fully from floor to ceiling to meet physical security regulations. Wireframe cages may be difficult or impossible to modify or may not have the structural integrity to accommodate those demands.
For all these reasons, custom-built containment solutions can deliver the lowest total cost of ownership. A rugged steel solution that is constructed to the same durable standards as cabinets and enclosures ensures structural integrity and harmonizes visually with the equipment inside. Custom-built solutions exactly meet your space and configuration needs and professional installation saves you time and money.
Paneled cages come with a wide range of security options, including multiple keylock configurations. They exactly fit your space and are more aesthetically pleasing than wireframe cages. That says a lot to your customers about the care you put into protecting their equipment. That’s good for your bottom line.
The choice is a statement about your attention to customer experience that creates a powerful validation of the value of your brand. And it enables your people to worry less about cutting and configuring wire and focus on what they do best: operate a data center.
Chris Williams, Business Development Manager at Emcor Enclosures, a Crenlo company.