IT organizations face multiple challenges when it comes to how best to deploy computing equipment. Virtualization is putting an emphasis on consolidation and high densities. At the same time, many organizations have locations with no IT staff on site and perhaps no dedicated space for their IT equipment. It’s imperative that they be able to optimize use of whatever space they do have.

In many cases, deploying an appropriate rack system, including those with integrated power distribution units (PDUs), can help companies address these challenges. Following are five common challenges that we come across and how racks can help address them.

1. Ease of installation and use

Look for racks that have standard features such as integrated baying brackets for easy alignment and compatibility with other components, including power and cooling products. Pre-installed leveling feet and casters eliminate the need for additional parts and make installation easier. Similarly, easily adjustable vertical mounting rails simplify the job of installing equipment.

2. Increased demand for availability and connectivity

With more devices than ever connecting to networks, companies find they need increased power densities in their racks. As a result, racks must be able to integrate high-density cabling, such as with a zero U accessory channel that enables rack PDUs to be installed in the back of the rack, preserving rack space.

3. Varied deployment scenarios

Look for a rack vendor that can offer you different models to match your varied requirements. In some instances that many mean open-frame racks, while in others you may want wall-mounted units, or racks with side airflow features to accommodate network switches. For areas with no dedicated space, you’ll want enclosed racks that provide a complete, secure, “server room in a box.” Such racks should be soundproof, with casters and adjustable rails for varying IT equipment, and a pre-installed rack PDU, so it can literally be rolled out wherever you need it.

4. Remote management

Choose a rack that can accommodate a switched rack PDU that has remote management capabilities. With such PDUs, if a network switch or server is hung, you can reboot it by remotely turning the appropriate outlet off and then on again.

5. Managing energy intelligently

Metered rack PDUs monitor power and energy at the rack level, providing timely data to IT managers for decision making and ensuring the most efficient use of power at every rack. As a base energy management tool, metered rack PDUs provide the granularity required to monitor energy use and reveal potential efficiency gains in IT solutions, thereby improving energy savings. Combined with switched rack PDUs, they provide even more energy savings, enabling some outlets to be turned off when they’re not needed, such as during weekends.

APC by Schneider Electric, of course, has racks that meet all of these challenges. They include our NetShelter family as well as open frame racks for data centers and specialty enclosures for wiring closets, server rooms, heavy-duty applications and more. Most likely you’ll find a rack that can meet the special challenges your environment presents.