Every business needs to store and process data somewhere and every business will find a different data storage solution depending on their budget, environment and requirements. Often, a company will adopt a hybrid solution that may include any of the following: data centre, cloud, server room, colocation, micro data centre, etc.
Not all IT managers are aware of all the options out there and many will end up sticking to the same tried and tested solution just because “it’s what’s always been done …”. When we meet with IT managers who are not familiar with micro data centres, we are often asked: “Why do I need a micro data centre? Why can’t I just place my servers and equipment on a rack and add cooling?”.
The DIY server rack vs. the Zella Pro
The DIY server rack with cooling option may seem a viable solution for some businesses, but it will appear inadequate once you consider the following.
1. The initial investment
A DIY server rack can, at first, seem to offer a cheaper initial investment. While it’s true that the hardware will cost less than the purchase of an MDC, other factors must be taken into account. The Zella Pro is:
Plug n play – it will be with you in a matter of weeks and will be installed in a matter of hours, all you need is a trusted electrician and your local air conditioning technician.
Highly energy efficient, saving you money on power bills. Plus you’re cooling an enclosed area, roughly the size of a fridge, compared to a whole room or even a whole floor.
Also available as a Service – the perfect solution when CAPEX is limited.
2. Cooling capabilities
DIY server rooms require adequate cooling. Depending on where this is to be housed, it may or may not be easy to facilitate.
A building’s cooling system isn’t designed to maintain consistent temperatures in a given space. Servers generate a great deal of heat and need to be kept cool. This is likely to need a dedicated cooling system, costing a considerable amount to both install and run.
The Zella Pro comes with precision cooling. The cost of cooling and running an MDC is far below that of traditional server rooms. This also has a positive environmental impact – another important step toward a company addressing its green responsibilities.
3. Security features
A server rack has both physical and cyber security weaknesses. Depending on where it’s located, a server rack can be accessed by anyone with a key. It will also need professional expertise to guard against hackers and cyber security breaches.
The Zella Pro’s integrated design gives robust physical security that securely prevents unauthorised access. It also has the highest level of cyber security protocols that need no specialist operation to guard against attack. You also get complete visibility so you’ll be alerted whenever somebody accesses the unit.
4. Day-to-day operation
Any on-site storage solution must seamlessly fit with the working environment. A server rack is noisy and often looks untidy. Within a small office or home environment, this can be intrusive.
The Zella Pro is whisper-quiet, with no intake or outtake of air and has a sleek design and small footprint. Thanks to this, it’s wholly appropriate to have the MDC located right in the workspace and not even know that it’s there.
Server racks are also vulnerable to everyday contaminants, such as dust, water and more.The IP65-rated Zella Pro protects your IT infrastructure from the elements within its sealed environment.
5. Moving premises?
The goal of every SME is to grow. This means it’s natural to, at some point, move to a different location.
A server rack is difficult to relocate. Even if it’s done, this represents considerable cost, downtime, and expertise to build yet another server rack in the new location. The simplicity of unplugging the Zella Pro, moving it to the new premises and plugging it back in it’s just priceless.
6. Fire protection
How are you keeping your servers protected from fire? Are you relying on the building’s fire system? Will you have to reroute your water sprinklers?
With a Zella Pro all you have to do is add a rack mounted Pyrorack fire protection system and you’re set to go! Plus you’ll get real-time alerts in case of a sudden raise in temperature or in case smoke is detected inside your unit.
If your servers and IT equipment have taken over one of your rooms or offices and you suddenly realise you could be using that space in a better way, than a Zella Pro is the perfect solution for you. As we’ve seen, the Zella Pro can be placed next to a desk, in a reception, in a meeting room, and won’t take much space at all. And if space if very limited, you can look at our outdoor solution, the Zella Hut and house your IT equipment outdoors.
8. Management and Automation
Finally, Zella Pro has wonderful automation technology, with a UPS to protect uptime and DCIM software that monitors, measures and manages all the components and it doesn’t take long to realise the future of data storage is undergoing an incredible revolution.
MDC technology is now so advanced that it’s less of “why should I install one?”, and more a question of “can I afford not to?”
While many companies are embracing on-site MDC ownership and maintenance, an alternative way of embracing the technology is starting to prove hugely advantageous: Micro Data Centre as a Service (MDCaaS).