Rack Integration: An Introduction (Part One)

Aaron Cole

Rack Integration: An Introduction (Part One)

This blog contains the first half of an Interview with Jake MacWhirter, our Product Development Manager in Rack Integration.

The integration of complex computers into 19-inch rack cabinets requires precision, technical excellence and attention to the highest levels of safety. For businesses, integration is at best time consuming, but at worst it can present a plethora of business risks if not carried out by highly skilled professionals with the necessary levels of competence.

We sat down with our Rack Integration Product Development Manager, Jake MacWhirter, for a two part question and answer session. We found out just what makes rack integration such a challenging undertaking, and revealed the benefits that businesses can realise through partnering with Captec.

What does rack integration mean?

Rack integration is the bringing together of all the various computing and design elements of a rack project to create the customer’s solution, with the end aim of achieving their ultimate application and computer performance goals.

Captec’s role is to bring together the components at a level of specification that meets the customer’s requirements, and assess the design elements to ensure that over the period of its life, it maintains its reliability and gives customers the longevity they require.

What kind of equipment goes into a rack?

Most racks that Captec integrate tend to incorporate specialist industrial computing elements, but not necessarily the industry standard form factor. For example, there may be PLCs, compact PCI, VME and MicroTCA chassis – more complex components than you would generally find in a data centre. We then combine those together with elements of networking, power distribution and any other content that the customer requires.

What are the key benefits in outsourcing rack integration to a company like Captec?

The primary benefit from partnering with Captec as a company, lies in the fact that we are designers and engineers and have been working in the industry for over 30 years now. As a result, we understand the complexities required to deliver what customers need.

So, not only can we anticipate issues and risks likely to occur during the build, but we can make sure that when we do bring the products together and co-author the specifications, that we have the correct components and can deliver the longevity required.

The key is to work with a customer from the beginning of a project to iron out any design issues and concerns with regards to the implementation. Then we build it, validate the requirements in the performance and then finally organise logistics to make sure it gets to the customer in perfect, ready to go condition and installed where it needs to be.

Why should businesses not attempt rack integration themselves?

Some of the issues our customers have highlighted to us with rack integration is; missing some of the thermal issues, moving the unit too close to a wall and obstructing the airflow, failing to consider that some of their components have left-to-right airflow rather than front-to-rear, putting in some components that don’t have the longevity they needed or, for whatever reason in their configuration, not achieving the maximum availability for a good return on investment.

Because Captec works with these components day in and day out building racks as a business, we are able to offer insight in all these areas, and to pre-empt and mitigate risks for them when we bring it all together.

That concludes this half of the interview. You can read the next instalment here.

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