ZetaFrame: Enabling Fast and Efficient Infrastructure Deployment
March 01, 2021
How have customer requirements changed over the last year and how has the company responded?
The last year has been challenging. Many workforces are now operating remotely, so that’s put a tremendous demand on networks, systems and, ultimately, data centres. For us, it’s resulted in an even higher recognition of the need for uptime and the ability to keep the network on and moving so everybody can do their jobs.
We’ve recognised that and recently released our latest data centre cabinet product that will hopefully keep data centres up and running as efficiently as possible.
How has cabinet density changed and what is the impact of this on weight loads?
We’ve noticed in the past five or six years an ongoing increase in density. If you think of cabinets or data centre racks as real estate – which, in a lot of ways, they are – real estate is expensive.
The more area that you consume, the more expensive it is to maintain and it’s also generally cheaper to go up than out. We’ve seen an increase in average cabinet height. Even eight to 10 years ago, 42U was commonplace and it still is but, fast forward a few years, and we’re seeing 45U as the most common with customers even utilising 48U and up to 52U just to increase the density within that footprint.
As a result of all that additional compute in that same area, you have much higher, heavier cabinet loads that you have to address. And there’s a lot of safety elements that go into that.
These cabinets are not cheap. All the compute that goes into them are very expensive. So, ensuring that they can be safely accommodated and transported and do what they are there to do is something that kind of lands on the cabinet to support.
Can you tell us about your new ZetaFrame product and the challenges this is aiming to address?
One challenge it looks to address is the increased load rating in the market. We have designed the framework and structure around ZetaFrame to accommodate those higher weight loads so it has a 5000-pound static load rating and a 4000-pound dynamic load rating on casters. It also has a 4000-pound shipping load rating on a shock pallet.
Another feature is the integral bonding of the cabinet itself. You’re used to seeing green jumper wires or ground wires that connect the doors, sides and tops to the framework. With ZetaFrame all of that is integrated. It’s an always on approach to bonding.
Another feature of ZetaFrame is enhanced airflow management. That’s a key component of a cabinet and the entire efficiency of a data centre is based on how efficiently it can manage the airflow.
Another area we’ve simplified is the cable management approach. We essentially have three methods to manage cables and any combination of these can accommodate just about any type of cable management scenario you could possibly want.
The other one is the ability for us to completely configure a turnkey solution, under a single part number.
How important is proper cable management is when it comes to the performance and effectiveness of organisations’ networks?
There’s a lot of elements that go into that but one obvious one is keeping things neat and tidy. I look at like insurance. Proper cable management with everything organised, labeled and run correctly is insurance for when something does go down and uptime is very important for any data centre.
The ability to quickly react to those situations and identify where the problem is and be able to trace it down and correct it as quickly as possible is really of prime importance.
What safety considerations should data centre managers take into account when it comes to cabinet infrastructure?
These cabinets can be very heavy and there is certainly a safety element to that. To go to market with the load ratings that we’re advertising with ZetaFrame, it had to go through a number of industry standard and internal tests.
The ability for that cabinet to be able to support those loads, not only in the data centre anchored to the floor but also in a dynamic environment, whether it’s being wheeled up a ramp or on the back of a delivery truck going across the country.
The integral bonding also has a safety aspect to it. The ability to present a frame to be always on or always bonded is a really important and often overlooked safety element as well.
How important is speed of deployment for data centre operations?
If not the most important, it’s right up there. It’s all about uptime and being online, having that capacity available and the ability for a data centre to quickly take a cabinet out of service and replace it for refresh is critical. The time for that switchover is very important to the overall operation of the data centre in the network.
Why is the cabinet’s ability to manage airflow so critical to efficient data centre operations?
If you look at a data centre’s operational expenses, the electric bill is probably the number one and the biggest contributor to that is the conditioned air to support all the compute.
You can have the most efficient set up in your data centre but if you’re ignoring the cabinet level and its efficiency then you’re really wasting money.
With respect to the cabinet and airflow management it’s really about taking best practices such as using blanking panels to fill up any unused rack space.
You need to properly seal the perimeter of your equipment mounting rails at the front to keep the conditioned air separated from your exhaust air. There are several ways to manage that exhaust air, whether by using different containment strategies or a vertical exhaust duct, for example.
What would be your best practice advice for data centre managers for implementing an effective operations strategy?
There are several things that that we can address with that with ZetaFrame.
One is simplifying your supply chain. We have the ability for customers to configure a cabinet exactly the way they want it under a single part number.
Everything is positioned exactly where they want it and has all the cable management accessories installed. It has all the PDU power installed as electronic access if customers want that monitoring.
It’s all assembled by our experts at our factory so that when the product arrives at either a data centre site or at an integrator that might be off site, it’s ready to populate with your compute. Not only does that save an enormous amount of time, labour and costs with all of that installation and assembly, there’s also an environmental aspect.
It’s also the ability to remotely monitor, which is particularly important today. At the cabinet level and the outlet level of your PDU, being able to monitor that remotely without having somebody on site, unless it’s absolutely critically necessary.
That’s another powerful tool and an efficient way of running your data centre operations.
How can data centre managers ensure that their infrastructure is future-proof?
For one, consider the cabinet ecosystem – there’s a lot on a data centre manager’s plate and one thing that ZetaFrame and Chatsworth Products can do is simplify that process, at least when it relates to cabinet and monitoring and power.
The ability to wrap all that under a single partner simplifies the supply chain.
And then we have some capabilities with our power solutions and cabinet ecosystem that allow data centre managers to monitor what’s going on at the rack level.
Ensuring that 1) everything is operating properly and 2) if an event does occur, that they can be notified quickly and can react to that incident as quickly as possible to keep things running efficiently.
By Jess Phillips, Intelligent CIO Europe
This article was originally published in the March 2021 issue of Intelligent CIO Europe magazine.