An improperly planned or executed “Rack and Stack” operation—the assembly and deployment of computer equipment into organised “racks”—can cost an Australian business far more than wasted time. Costs mount quickly in initial downtime, and add up further when the network inadvertently goes down days, weeks, or months later. Fixing an improperly executed rack and stack is far more costly than just doing it right in the first place.

For large data centres and businesses, the ideal solution to rack and stack is to hire an experienced company to come and do it for you. But smaller companies that only have a few servers might want to try it themselves.

24/7 Tech Solutions has carried out over 1,000 successful rack and stack operations across Australia. From our experience, here are our 7 top tips on how to run a successful Rack and Stack.

Let’s “rack and roll!”

Tip #1: Use a checklist for your rack and stack

There are an enormous amount of factors involved in carrying out a successful rack and stack. Manpower, materiel, timing—all of these need to be coordinated and planned out.

Nothing could be worse than pulling a team of six people together at 4:00 AM on a Saturday morning, coffees warm and eyelids propped open, ready to rack and roll, only to discover that:

For professional IT companies, such planning is imperative, even if no self-respecting network specialist ever leaves his house without earplugs and an extra pair of crimpers.

We have put together a comprehensive checklist which you can download.

Tip #2: bring protective gear!

A broken toe in a two-person installation could bring the entire Rack and Stack operation to a grinding halt, not to mention unnecessary injury compensation claims that employers would much rather do without.

The bare minimum rack and stack protective gear include:

Tip #3: Bring ready patch leads

Some people recommend cutting and preparing patch leads on-site. Nothing could be a bigger waste of time. When ready-made patch leads of virtually any size are so cheap to buy, cutting and putting connectors on them on site is a task for people who have nothing important to do.

Before doing the rack and stack, measure out the lengths you will need, then purchase those lengths of patch leads with the connectors already on them for a fast and highly efficient installation.

 Map your ports!

Place a number with a marker on each connection of each cable so that you know easily which cable connects to which piece of equipment!

So, if you have 10 cables, you would label them as follows:

Tip #5: Understand the site’s power requirements

One aspect that can bring an entire rack and stack to a grinding halt is to arrive on site only to discover that you have misunderstood the power requirements. It can often be that a site does not have the necessary power setup for a proper rack and stack installation. Ensuring the power requirements are taken care of long before the day of installation is vital to avoid costly delays.

Tip #6: Invest in a cable comb

The cable comb is an ingenious invention that can be used to smooth out a set of cables and ensure that they don’t get tangled up as you stretch them from the top of the rack to the bottom. Failure to properly organise your cables without entanglement during a rack and stack installation can cause nightmarish problems later on.

Tip #7: Document your layout

Finally, it’s important to thoroughly document your layout! In addition to numbering the cables, also note these numbers down in a document, along with serial numbers and any other important technical information necessary for the operation of the network. Documentation is a pain, but it is essential to save time and headaches later.

Much more to know

Anything requiring more than a few servers would merit calling in a professional rack and stack company to do the installation for you. Whereas mistakes on just a few servers can theoretically be handled on-site, trying to do last-minute fixups in an enterprise-level data centre could mean the entire process is cancelled.

There are many technicalities involved in racking and stacking at an enterprise level. These technicalities include:

To find out about how 24/7 Tech Solutions can help you with your Rack and Stack operation in Australia, visit our Rack and Stack page and let’s