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RACKS AND RACK ACCESSORIES
In previous installments of the State of Technology: Peripherals survey, VARBusiness has included racks and rack accessories within broader power- or data center-related categories. But it's become impossible to ignore the opportunities racks and rack accessories themselves present for ahead-of-the-curve solution providers; as with power management and protection, there's definitely what McKernan calls "a play" around racks.
"IT resellers still have a very small percentage of business for racks inside the data center," McKernan said. "But it becomes a natural extension as they sell more servers and networking equipment--the ability of solution providers to stack product into a rack, for example. There are a lot of types of solution service opportunities for resellers to start to play in."
"Trying to avoid a $10 million investment in a data center is the challenge [customers] are facing," said John Gromala, director of product marketing for industry standard servers at HP. "Anything they can do to improve efficiency of the data center helps them meet their needs. Plus, every watt that's put into the data center for power is a watt that needs to get cooled as well."
According to survey results, solution providers see rack enclosures and rack power distribution units (PDUs) as, by far, the greatest profit opportunities in the next 12 months in the category, while keyboard drawers represent the least profit opportunity. Rack enclosures, cable management and rack PDUs represent the best opportunity for solution providers to attach services, and the most highly recommended brands for rack and rack accessories include APC, HP and Belkin International Inc.
"The whole monitoring thing is going to be a lot more important," Smith said. "The macroeconomy isn't going to help anybody. But APC excels there -- their racks are clearly the standard."
Energy and manageability are the two ballasts of the data center. Improving efficiency in those areas frees up budget dollars.
"This is a new area for resellers -- facilities and IT have always been somewhat separate," said Chris Samper, worldwide manager, rack and power products at HP's ISS Global Business Unit. "But when they start looking at facilities expertise, they've created one-stop shopping. There's clearly a demand out there now that IT guys can get involved."
"Knowledge is power," Gromala added, "and knowledge of power makes the difference."