Creating IT Environments : Totally fit for purpose IT Environments from Black Box

Your computer, network or telecoms rooms contain some of your company's most valuable and yet most sensistive assets. Major IT equipment has to be housed in a stable environment suitable for its correct operation. In fact, if it isn't housed correctly, most vendors won't even support your equipment!

A Room fit for its purpose
Black Box builds IT environments starting from scratch, or as an enhancement to your existing infrastructure, finishing with a fully operational centre that's ready for your critical IT Servers and Networks. We handle everything from requirements definition to design and construction; we'll project manage the entire operation ensuring you get the result you want, complete in every detail. After it's handed over we then take responsibility for its ongoing wellbeing.

Understanding your needs
Black Box know that unless we understand the applications that run your business and the demands that your users place upon you to deliver them, there is no way that we can design and build a Computer Room "fit for purpose". Only with this knowledge can we build in the levels of availability and redundancy that allow your own operational goals to succeed.

Even if you only require an upgrade of an existing facility, we'll work with you to ensure that the impact of any changes on normal operations is kept at a minimum.
Services designed, commissioned and supported by Black Box
  • Room or 19" Rack based IT Rooms
  • Site Selection
  • Power Supplies
  • Power Distribution
  • False Floors and Ceilings
  • Access Control and CCTV
  • Fire Detection and Suppression
  • Leak Detection
  • Walls, partitions and doors
  • Air Conditioning

Black Box applies this skills on a local, national or global basis.

Environmentally Controlled 19" Rackmounted IT Rooms
Black Box have evolved a unique set of products specifically designed for today's server, network and RAID products. Most, if not all IT hardware is now 19" rack-mountable. Therefore the IT environment can shrink in terms of cost, size and maintainability to meet 19" goals.

EnviroRac offers rapid deployment of IT environements at a fraction of the cost whilst offering massive environmental protection.

Your servers, your storage arrays, your routers, switches and gateways, plus of course all the associated UPS and cabling can all be safely housed in EnviroRac.

EnviroRac offers:
  • 1, 2, 3 or 4 bay builds
  • 38U height as standard, but from 27U to 47U optionally
  • 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 or 60,000 BTU air conditioning
  • Fire and Smoke detection with automated fire suppression
  • Access Control through keypad, biometric or I/P released entry systems
  • Glass or steel doors, depending on site requirements
  • Environmental protection and monitoring
  • Alarm reporting via web, IP, SMS and/or email
  • UPS configurations to suit

It takes 3 days to deploy a 3 or 4-bay fully protected computer room in a fraction of the space required. One other massive benefit which comes with EnviroRac deployments are savings in energy costs. Cooling a small space as opposed to whole computer areas can save over £7,000 p.a. in electricity charges.

  • Savings in space
  • Savings in money, space, energy and hardware
  • Rapid deployment if recovering from a disaster
  • Able to deploy in plant rooms, public areas and offices
  • Increase in data security
  • Minimised system downtime due to instant reporting in environmental alarms
  • Less Operations involvement, Lights out computing space, all server, network and patching management and monitoring can be performed remotely using IP

Computers, Networks and Telecoms: We've designed rooms from 30m2 to 100m2
Our service includes installation of all utilities - including stand-by power, air conditioning, fire protection, CCTV, access control and monitoring systems.

Room or Rack: Equipment housed in the appropriate environment
Servers, Network Equipment and UPS are either standalone or 19" rack-mountable nowadays. Black Box also provides IT or Comms rooms in a 19" rack-mounted environment. Our EnviroRac provides air conditioning, fire protection, access control and cable management facilities in this high availability, low cost environment.

Site Selection: Choosing the wrong site can be costly, Black Box know what to look out for...
If required we'll advise you on everything from access to security to structural loadings - as well as the ease of accessing power and other utilities. We can also help you plan for future expansion. Choosing the right site can literally save millions of pounds.

Space Planning and Construction: Whatever size space you have...
...whether you're working within an existing building or a newly chosen site - we'll make best use of it for you. Careful planning of equipment layout will optimise the space and ensure good access, allowing scope for expansion.

Maintenance: Black Box can keep your IT installations running efficiently 365 days a year with a choice of maintenance contracts
We offer a range of integrated packages - from six monthly inspections to resident, on-site engineers monitoring your system around the clock. All our maintenance customers also have the support of our 24 hour emergency service. We currently oversee the smooth running of sites in most major cities across Europe.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS): A loss of power, even momentarily, can cause a system to crash
A UPS will maintain power by switching instantaneously to batteries in the event of a main failure or even just a dip in power ("brown-out"). It also conditions the power supply to reduce unwanted spikes and harmonics. It can be designed just to allow a controlled shut-down of the system or can be used with a standby generator to allow the facility to continue operating.

Batteries: Interim power to the UPS will usually be provided by racks of sealed lead acid-batteries...
...located either within the computer facility or in a separate room. Battery capacity will be sized to provide power for sufficient time to allow a controlled shut-down of the system or for the standby generator to come on line.

Generator/Rotary UPS: Diesel powered generators can provide power for long periods to allow the systems to continue to function during extended power-cuts
Whereas batteries will normally only power computers and comms equipment, the generator must be sized to cope with all ancilliaries. A Rotary UPS is a combined generator and UPS, utilising a flywheel, electro-magnetic clutch and stato-alternator.

The power to the computers is then totally isolated from the mains, thus eliminating spikes, harmonics and "brown-outs" and ensuring a "no-switch" change-over in the event of a mains failure.

Power Distribution Units: Power to computer and telco equipment (increasingly "twin-corded" to give dual power supplies) is divided into sub-circuits...
...each protected by a suitably rated breaker to protect against over-load.

Static switches allow "no-break" switching. Isolation transformers eliminate harmonic interference. "Wrap-around" by-pass switches for maintenance should be incorporated. A master PDU (MPDU) will control all distribution of power within the facility, lighting and general power. For very sensitive installations DRANETZ monitoring equipment will be fitted.

Entry Systems: Terrorism, industrial espionage or vandalism disgruntled ex-employees are all real threats which must be considered
Sophisticated access control systems using one or more I.D. methods restrict entry to authorised persons. Adding and removing personnel can be done quickly and arranged to operate with duplicate authorisation for an extra degree of protection. Useful for operations with multiple sites, are remote reporting and manual override facilities which are also available.

Closed Circuit Televeision (CCTV): In larger buildings or multiple sites, or indeed anywhere security is high, CCTV is a useful add-on to the door access system
As well as providing a useful record in the case of any incident it can enable an individual's identity to be established from another location and, for example, the door release to be operated remotely. It adds a further measure of security and assists with remote monitoring of the room environment.

VESDA fire detection system: Early warning of a potential fire may mean preventative action can be taken before any damage is done
The VESDA system uses an aspirator to sample air from various strategic points within the room and this is continuously monitored for products of combustion. The system is highly sensitive and can detect very early stages of burning, before a fire has time to develop. It is fitted with filters to eliminate false alarms.

Conventional fire detectors: A computer room fire must be an IT manager's worst nightmare...
...and so, in addition to the VESDA system, conventional smoke detectors and/or heat sensors will be installed to room, floor void and celing void. This will usually form a stand-alone "addressable" system linked to the "house" alarm system and controlling shut-downs and fire extinguishing systems.

Leak Detection System: An often overlooked risk area is that of flooding
Therefore wherever pipework is present, e.g. chilled water or condensate drains, we would always recommend the installation of a leak detection system. Sensor cables within the floor void and in other risk areas continuously monitor for leeks and will sound an alarm if one occurs.

Gas Suppression System: In an unlikely event of a fire occuring, the swift deployment of an effective extinguishing system will minimise any damage
Sprinkler systems are not recommended as the water can cause as much damage as a fire so an inert non-toxic gas is used. The gas volume discharged is calculated on the volume of the space so as to smother any fire quickly but without harm to occupants or equipment.

Raised Modular Floor (RMF): Using underfloor voids for cables and pipework is the best way of keeping the room clear...
...while allowing easy access for servicing and modifications/additions to equipment. Heavy duty floor tiles sit on pedestals from which they can be lifted to expose services. Tiles are usually covered with anti-static vinyl, although carpet can be fitted if desired. Equipment such as UPS's will be mounted on independent plinths to prevent the transmission of vibration.

Partition walls: Partition walls must provide a fire barrier and noise reduction as well as physical security
They will usually be constructed from double sheets of plaster board each side of a mineral slab. The perimeter walls will be built 'slab-to-soffit' to provide a completely enclosed space for fire compartmentation and to contain the fire extinguishing gas.

Air Conditioning: Computer equipment today is more tolerant of variations in temperature and humidity than in the past
But extremes are still to be avoided. Conditions must also be suitable for staff, so an efficient and reliable air conditioning system is essential.

Air handling units to external condensers use direct refrigerant (Dx) or chilled water. Air is supplied into the floor void and distributed through perforated tiles. Systems are micro-processor controlled and may be connected to BMS. Standby capacity will be built-in using "N+1" philosophy.

Lighting: The layout of the lighting will be designed to give appropriate lux levels where needed...
...e.g. to cabs and engineers' working areas, particular care being taken to give adequate light for working at floor level. Emergency and exit illumination will also be provided to meet fire regulations and local authority requirements plus supplementary illumination if desired.