What is a smart rack?

Zella DC | Micro Data Center vs Smart Rack

When we talk about a Smart Rack for data processing, we’re referring to a 21st-century solution to an age-old concept. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, computer rooms within companies were commonplace. These were filled with racks upon racks of data storage – a location that took up a huge amount of room, had a myriad of mystifying cables and generated a massive amount of heat.

This morphed into the slightly smaller and cost-effective on-site server room. This is something that still exists today, taking up valuable real estate and costing a fortune to run – both in cooling needs and IT expertise.

Over the last couple of decades, data storage has moved to the cloud. Yet, with the enormous (and ever-increasing) amounts of data being spewed out today, the cloud is fast becoming unfit for purpose and it's either being replaced or coupled with Edge computing. Edge deployments are highly distributed and they typically required a smaller, self-contained, and flexible set-up. This is where so called 'Smart Racks' come in.

As this technology is relatively new, there is still a lot of confusion when it comes to terminology. Smart racks, smart cabinets, micro data centres, edge data centres, modular data centres ... all these terms are used interchangeably by some people but can also mean something different, depending on who you ask. 

Smart Rack seems to be a common way to describe a pre-configured, self-contained processing and storage solution that takes up minimal room, offers exceptional security and can be scaled infinitely, depending on requirements.

Smart rack technology for business of all sizes

Before we move on to why a Smart Rack is ideal for your business, let’s drill down to exactly what it is.

In short, a smart rack provides the same storage and processing capability of an on-site server room, but in a far smaller and self-contained space. The correct term for this technology is micro data centre (or MDC for short) and it comes as an individual self-contained unit. Multiple units can be networked together to provide a turnkey solution to serve any size of infrastructure.

Each MDC is around the size of a small refrigerator and offers the following:

•    Predesigned and assembled
•    Is an enclosed, sealed unit
•    Has internal rack mounts, cooling and emergency fans
•    Built-in PDU and switchboard
•    Has pre-wired connections for all components
•    Whisper-quiet for internal spaces
•    Can be self-maintained – requires no special skills
•    Fully protected from physical and cyber dangers

In addition, it can run on both AC and DC power, can be used in the harshest of environments (or is equally at homed within a city office) and can be scaled to provide a network of infinite proportions. The rack is managed centrally – remotely if you choose – with administrative access being controlled by you. 

5 reasons your company needs a smart rack / micro data centreSmart-Rack-5-reasons

1.    Smart Racks offer the ultimate solution to physical data security. 
2.    Provide the necessary advanced technology to serve Edge capability. 
3.    Whether the need is for a large-scale hybrid cloud-MDC operation or you want a single unit to store all your office data, the technology offers the next-level storage solution that’s primed and ready to become the next huge technology shift of the 21st century.
4.    Use far less energy than traditional-style storage needs, helping your business to comply with ever-tightening environmental regulations (plus it sends a clear message to your clients about the ethics of your company)
5.    Far more cost-effective than traditional storage methods. A Smart Rack can dramatically reduce cloud storage and/or on-site data server room costs. It’s also wholly transportable, should you need to move premises.

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