By Brian Boyko
Call it the “iRack.”
Actually, no, wait, that’s a horrible name. Call it Armarac, a 6u server rack in four square feet of space, launched recently at Interop Las Vegas. Who says enterprise hardware doesn’t look cool?
Designed by Auckland, New Zealand company Thureon, the Armarac is an enclosable clamshell server housing.
Thureon, system integrators in NZ, were deploying a remote project office in a client’s factory. Much like Nevada – it was hot, dry and dusty. When they went and surveyed the site there was nothing – no cupboard or stairwell – nowhere could they install their server rack in the factory. They looked around for a portable, small-form-factor rack enclosure, and there was just nothing available. New Zealand has a “Number 8 Wire” tradition of “Do It Yourself.” – and they did, according to Ross Vincent, CEO of the company.
They rolled the prototype into the back of the truck, into the building, plugged it in, and it was available.
The clamshell design was chosen because it was the most efficient form they found to achieve the dust control and waterproofing – it’s designed to keep working even if your sprinkler system go up. The bright colors are designed for construction and warehouse environments – you don’t want to back a forklift into it – with more subdued colors for the retail environments, and for crowded big city environments where real estate is quite literally at a premium. You can even put in some neon lighting for construction crews that work at night. “We did it as a bit of fun, but we had a 12v neon lighting kit that we mounted above the fans where the filters go…” Vincent said. “It washes green neon light down the unit.”
It’s also secure – the Armarac locks to prevent accidental intrusion, and this is a feature for service providers who can roll the Armarac out to a client, say “That’s our server system, don’t touch it” and sequester it physically from the environment. At the same time, you can rig up the Armarac so that a person can do a tape backup every day without granting them access to the servers themselves.
Concerns with heat and noise are minimal – the Armarac, loaded with 6 processor cores, running at full capacity for 24 hours, showed a 7 degree (F) increase over ambient temperature, and noise is 50db at 1m out – room for improvement, but I’ve reviewed consumer computers that performed similarly.
You can mount two or three Armaracs together if your needs grow beyond 6u.
The Armarac’s basic model, which has fans and a power supply, starts at $7,999, and a deluxe model with environmental control unit, KVM and LCD goes for $9,995.