Using General Rack Lifts to Deploy Expensive and Sensitive Servers
It’s very common for a data center to assign its technicians to lift and install heavy servers manually. On the other hand, there are many facilities that try to avoid this by purchasing general-use warehouse rack lifts to deploy their servers. A rack lift is typically an automated machine that can be used for lifting different types of equipment for virtually any type of purpose. Some types of lifts are used by mechanics to lift cars and other types are used during construction to lift materials. But can they be used in the data center to lift rack mount equipment? It’s common knowledge that most warehouses use automated lifts to move heavy materials, and this makes some people think that they can acquire a smaller version of these lifts to use inside a data center. It’s a step in the right direction to seek a machine to take over the burden of lifting heavy IT equipment, but buying a lift that was not intended for a data center can lead to problems. In some cases, these general-use lifts can be a waste of money, because they don’t provide the safety or stability necessary to protect the technicians and the equipment.
What Standards Must A Lift Meet For Use Inside A Data Center?
The common rack lift is not specifically designed for a data center. A general lift is usually used in wide open spaces to lift heavy duty materials, basically the opposite of what’s done inside a data center. Data centers are crowded with equipment that is heavy but sensitive. The aisles between the server racks are very narrow, and a smaller machine is needed that can navigate easily through these spaces. Through extensive research, we have found that lifts no more than 24 inches wide are perfect for most data centers.
However, just because a rack lifting unit is small doesn’t mean that it will perform well inside a data center. Obtaining a smaller version of a machine that was intended for general use in a warehouse will not help, because there are other vital features these types of lifts must possess. In addition to having a smaller footprint, the machine must possess the right features to help position the equipment right into the server rack. One such feature is a shelf that can slide out to help place the server onto the rails of the server rack. This type of feature is important because it eliminates the need for multiple technicians during the server installation process. If the lift does not have a sliding shelf, then more technicians will be required to help pick up the server from the machine and place it into the rack, which ultimately defeats the purpose of acquiring a lift in the first place.
Specialized Server Lifters Address Challenges that General-Use Rack Lifts Do Not
These are the types of obstacles that should be taken into consideration when buying a server lifting machine. The aim of a specialized rack lift should not be to simply move a server from point A to point B, but to completely revolutionize the strategy of installing servers and turn it into a seamless process. Moving servers manually is certainly an arduous task that can take hours, and it can result in an accident where the server is damaged, or worse, where the technician is injured. Even the lightest servers can cause an injury if it falls on someone who is attempting to install it from underneath.
Fortunately, there are server lifters that are designed for the data center and have the necessary features to help protect the technicians and the expensive equipment. Similar to choosing the right server for your data center, you must take the same approach when choosing a rack lift. Be sure to read our previous post that outlines the 14 specifications that a specialized server lift must meet in order to perform well in the data center.