Server Rack: Low Price or Low Cost?

Deborah PettyBy Deborah Petty, CEO, Rackmount Solutions, Inc.

All of us like a “good deal” and a low price.  But a low price doesn’t always mean low cost – especially when it comes to mounting expensive computing and communications equipment.

There’s much more to consider than the purchase price of your new rack(s). Consider the following:

  • Material Quality – Racks made in the USA from American finished steel are usually superior quality.  Manufacturing standards are normally more exacting and the machines that bend the metal are highly calibrated and monitored.  That means that you can safely mount the heaviest of servers and communications equipment.  (In other words, you don’t have to worry about your equipment crashing to the floor unless you are in an seismic area, in which case you need a seismic rated rack. Call us at 800-352-6631 if you are not familiar with the different standards.)
  • Fit and Finish – Consider purchasing your server racks from ISO 9001:2008 inspected facilities or other manufacturing exacting standards. It greatly reduces your risk of parts that don’t fit or aren’t flush after assembly.  And you won’t have to spend your valuable time repacking a faulty rack, or calling your supplier for a replacement part!
  • Pre-Assembled or Flat? – A rack can be delivered “knocked down” (flat) or fully assembled. Fully assembled is great, you spend no time putting it together and can quickly check for shipping damages.  Knocked down racks are usually less expensive and shipping costs could be less.  But add the cost of your valuable time to assemble and is it truly the lower cost? Look for vendors who provide assembly videos or instructions on line. Your paper instructions may get thrown out with the packing by accident.
  • One-Stop Shopping – It can be very time consuming to deal with multiple vendors for each component of your mounting solution – racks, power strips, shelves, doors, fans, etc.  Select a vendor who carries a good variety of rackmount accessories.  The shipping will be less, fewer phone calls to place orders and if there is any problem one customer service rep will handle it all.
  • Experience and Expertise – Look for suppliers who are experienced IT suppliers. They know what works together and what doesn’t. You won’t have to spend your time looking for compatible shelves, filler panels, doors, or accessories.  And if  a key component isn’t compatible, a good sales rep will clarify what you need before you order and it gets shipped.  It’s the little things that go wrong during an install that irritates and a great account manager will remember to ask if you need rack screws or cable ties.

Your time is money … before, during and after the order. Look for quality products and experienced sales reps. The lowest price is rarely the lowest cost.

Other blogs by Deborah Petty:

Striving to be Super

Low Price or Low Cost

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