The best accessories for your IT cabinet

Once you’ve chosen your cabinet, whether it be customized Elite or an energy-saving ClimateCab, it’s time to add accessories for even more function.

Cabinets have two sets of rails, front and back, where you can mount shelves, trays, cable managers, and power strips.

Cabinet shelves are an easy solution for storing things that aren’t rackmountable. The shelves attach to the rails; servers or other equipment sits on the shelves. Make sure the shelf has the weight capacity you need—some can hold hundreds of pounds. For easy access to components in your cabinet, choose a sliding shelf. There are also vented shelves that improve air circulation within the cabinet.

Although most shelves fit 19” rails, there are shelves that go on the less-common 23” rails. There are also brackets that can adapt many devices intended for 19” mount to 23” rails.

Keyboard Trays
Keyboard trays are space-saving solutions that also keep your data center organized. They slide neatly into your cabinet or rack—and out of your way—when not in use. And they usually fit into only 1U of rack space.

KVM Trays
Further reduce clutter in your server room by using KVM trays that are 1-or 2U high mounted in your cabinet. Special features of many KVM trays include rock-solid construction, LEDs on the front panel for easy location in a darkened data center, and integrated KVM switching.

Front-panel controls enable you to use the buttons on a monitor bezel without pulling out the keyboard. Some trays have USB ports for access.

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Why you should invest in remote power control

With many companies doing more with less, IT administrators’ workloads are increasing. It’s often not practical to have someone at every branch or site within a company just to baby-sit a server or two. And with gas prices reaching new heights, it’s not very economical to drive to every site either. With remote power control, administrators can reboot servers from anywhere, even at home in their pajamas at 3:00 a.m.

Simply put, remote power control is the ability to reset or reboot PC, LAN/WAN, telecom, and other computer equipment without being at the equipment’s location.

For system administrators, the ability to perform a power cycle or remote reboot is a way to avoid major communications problems. When equipment locks up and no longer responds to normal communication commands, it’s usually up to the system manager to reset or reboot it. After the power cycles on and off, normal communications resume. How many times is there going to be a technically trained person at the site who can perform maintenance and reset the equipment? Not very often. Even if it is a manned station, there is a risk that the wrong equipment could be rebooted. To save traveling time and minimize downtime, remote power control enables the system manger to take care of things at the office without having to travel. Think of it as your own “easy button.”

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Considerations for fiber-based KVM extension

If you’re sending KVM signals between buildings for an extended distance, in areas supplied by different power sources, in an electrically noisy environment, or where data security is a big concern, you need to use a fiber optic-based KVM extender.

Optical fiber is an ideal transmission medium not only for backbone and horizontal connection, but also for workstation-to-backracked CPU or server links. It works very well in applications where you need to transfer large, bandwidth-consuming data files over long distances, and where you require immunity from electrical interference or data theft.

ServSwitch Brand Fiber KVM Extender, II-SM (Single-Mode)

ServSwitch Brand Fiber KVM Extender, II-SM (Single-Mode)

Before selecting a fiber-based KVM extender, it’s important to know the limitations of your system. You need to know where the couplers, links, interconnect equipment, and other devices are going to be placed. If it’s a longer run, you have to determine whether multimode or single-mode fiber cable is needed.

The most important consideration in planning cabling for fiber-based KVM extension is the power budget specification of device connection. The receiver at the remote end has to receive the light signal at a certain level. This value, called the loss budget, tells you the amount of loss in decibels (dB) that can be present in the link between the two devices before the units fail to perform properly.

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The ABCs of cabling standards

There are two primary organizations dedicated to developing and setting structured cabling standards. In North America, standards are issued by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The TIA was formed in April 1988 after a merger with the Electronics Industry Association (EIA). That’s why its standards are commonly known as ANSI/TIA/EIA, TIA/EIA, or TIA.

Globally, the organizations that issue standards are the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Standards are often listed as ISO/IEC. Other organizations include the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardizations), and the Japanese Standards Association (JSA/JSI).

The committees of all these organizations work together and the performance requirements of the standards are very similar. But there is some confusion in terminology.

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VoIP…when should you convert?

More and more companies are migrating from a traditional private branch exchange (PBX) telephony system to a voice-over-IP (VoIP) system. The question isn’t if you should move to a VoIP system, but when. Although VoIP systems have been commonplace in larger organizations, they are now becoming more affordable and practical from small- to VoIP…when should you convert?medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to implement. VoIP systems benefit everyone from telecommuters and mobile workers all the way up to the managers and users of large call centers.

What is VoIP?
VoIP is a cost-saving alternative to traditional telephony service. It delivers voice calls over a data network that uses packet switching instead of a circuit switching.

There are different types of VoIP networks. Calls can be “Internet telephony,” that is, sent over the public Internet, or they can be “enterprise IP,” which are calls originating on the corporate IP network and sent over the corporate intranet, or a combination of the intranet and a Public Switched Network (PTSN). The latter is called an IP PBX system.

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