If you’ve ever bought a custom-tailored suit versus one off the rack at the local department store, you know just how incredible customization can be. The same can apply to your data center and LAN.
Whether you need lightning fast data center deployments, are faced with a unique or challenging application, or even just have your own preferences, choosing components from a vendor with the engineering and manufacturing expertise to deliver customized solutions can save you time and money – or even get you out of a jam.
I’ve blogged a lot about one of my passions – holistic data center design – and the benefit of using a standardized, modular approach with preconfigured cabinets for repeatable, predictable data center deployments. While anyone can take this approach by pre-designing their cabinets and components and implementing them the same way each time, how much better would it be if you could customize your cabinets with pre-installed components under a single part number?
This would not only ensure that you maintain your standardized configuration, but the cabinet would arrive at your doorstep ready to roll into place, install the active equipment and make the connections. In other words, no more locating and unpacking individual components, screws and brackets – not to mention the incredible amount of packaging materials that you will no longer need to dispose of. No more mounting patch panels, cable management and PDUs in the cabinet – not to mention eliminating all that labor and potential rework when someone places the copper patch panel in the wrong rack unit space.
The great thing about using standardized pre-configured enclosures is that you know what you’re getting every time. That means you can preplan space, power and cooling to accommodate future cabinets or pods. And when you can order that pre-configured enclosure under a single customized part number with a single price, future ordering is a snap and budgeting is no longer a guessing game.
Belden Data Center Ready Solutions allow you to receive pre-configured cabinets customized to suit your exact needs, and with your own unique part number and set price.
Having access to customization can also be vital at the component level. When a manufacturer has the ability and expertise to customize or tweak products to meet your needs, it can prevent you from having to settle for something less. Sometimes it can even result in a whole new product.
When the new $322 million, 640,000 square-foot MaineGeneral Medical Center was deploying their network, they realized that they wanted rear access to rack-mount fiber panels to be able to dress the fiber in without removing the panel. They brought it to our attention and we redesigned our FiberExpress 3U rack-mount panel with an optional rear panel – an option that is now available to all our customers.
Sometimes customization can also get you out of jam. After already making the decision to go with Category 6 for copper connectivity in the data center, MaineGeneral realized after the fact that some servers needed Category 6A to support 10GBASE-T. Rather than replacing everything, we were able to tweak the existing patch panels to accommodate six Category 6A ports out of the 48, saving significant time and money.
While our Data Center Ready Solutions are based on the concept of customization, we want you to remember that if there is something you need customized for your application, just ask – we might just be able to meet your need. Take a page out E.S. Boulos’ book – as our installation partner at MaineGeneral, they took photos of the fiber panel and made an effort to sit down with our representatives and explain exactly what they were looking for. We listened.
The voice of our customer is very important to us, and because we engineer and manufacture more infrastructure components than anyone else – from fiber and copper connectivity, to enclosures, racks and accessories – we have the expertise and the means to customize components.
Industry vendors that work primarily with OEMs and don’t manufacture most of their own products may not necessarily be in a position to offer customization when you need it.
Mike Salvador is a 28-year industry veteran, living the challenge of operating efficient data centers, optimizing the performance of network devices and delivering highly available, highly agile, low-risk data centers. Mike served as Belden’s technical solutions manager from 2012 to 2015.