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Don’t Hack Your Rack Infrastructure!


In the IT world, there seems to be no end to an IT tech’s ingenuity for figuring out how to make do with what’s on hand and come up with innovative hacks to quickly deploy physical IT infrastructure.

Blog_Infrastruture_Hack.pngIt’s become a common sight to see various “life hacks” portrayed on your social media feeds. Everything from “How to Make Bacon Pancakes” to “How to Use Teabags to Treat a Sunburn” are all testimony to people’s exceptional ability to solve problems and create innovative solutions.

In the IT world, coming up with innovative hacks to quickly solve a problem can be a badge of honor, and when it comes to figuring out unique methods for deploying physical IT infrastructure, there seems to be no end to an IT tech’s ingenuity for figuring out how to make do with what’s on hand.

It’s also somewhat of a rite of passage for an up-and-coming IT tech, sometimes working with bubblegum, band-aids and scraped knuckles.  If nothing else, it’s an eye-opening learning process on the value of a well thought out and well-designed physical infrastructure.

Celebrating innovation with Spiceworks

To celebrate that innovative process (and to toot our horn a bit on our new, next-generation rack and power infrastructure products), we teamed up with our friends at Spiceworks to sponsor a contest with submissions of stories and pictures of “hacked racks.”

For those not familiar with Spiceworks, they are (among other things) a professional network for the information technology industry that boasts a community of literally millions of IT experts and thousands of tech vendors.  In other words, the perfect pool of folks to engage with for the topic at hand.

Early this past spring, Spiceworks kicked off our contest with the following call to action:

We’ve all seen it. That server rack that looks straight out of an episode of MacGyver. From duct tape to bungee cords, a hacked rack is a testament to the ingenuity of IT Pros. So, what’s YOUR MacGyver-esque rack story? Whether it’s a funky setup you configured in the past, your current rack, or a story you’ve heard, share below in the comments for a FREE T-shirt and a chance to WIN!

As is typical with Spiceheads (the moniker for those in the extensive Spiceworks tech community), we saw an amazing number of ingenious, innovative, and sometimes downright crazy implementations of physical IT infrastructure. MacGyver-esque is truly the best way to describe it, with hacks that utilized zip ties, duct tape, chicken wire, bungee cords, plywood, dry ice, rubber bands, reams of paper, Velcro, an umbrella, a box fan, AC filters, and, last but not least, a few deployments of Ikea lack tables (you’ll have to see the pictures to believe it).

Ultimately, while the stories and pictures that rolled in were entertaining, the common thread that surfaced over and over again was “I learned a lot from that experience, and I’ll never do it that way again!” The messages echoed how critical proper physical infrastructure is, and how improvisation or “hacks” should be avoided to ensure you’ve got a proper foundation to house, manage, protect and power your critical IT equipment.

We were honored that hundreds of Spiceheads were willing to share their stories, and we always value their input and experience. Last year, we leaned on the Spiceworks community to help shape the future of our rack and power infrastructure portfolio and many of our development decisions were guided by their feedback on things such as “make it stronger for today’s dense computing environments,” or “make it easier to deploy and manage IT equipment,” and “make it more secure.” 

It’s always heartening when members of a highly technical community who have “been there and done that” in the IT trenches are willing to not only evaluate your products and give you raw, unvarnished opinions of how your products should evolve, but also are willing to stand up and tell their stories on how your products are the foundation of the IT strategy.

We’re saying: Un-Hack Your Rack!

We always enjoy interacting with the vast Spiceworks community, and we’re looking forward to sharing some of the many innovative journeys we saw in the stories that were shared. Without a doubt, they showed the growing need for IT managers to ensure that strong, manageable and secure physical infrastructure is in place, and the rallying cry has become: “Un-Hack Your Rack!” as businesses around the world look to modernize their aging rack and power infrastructure.

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About the Author


Michael Pratt’s passion is helping customers go further. His job is making products that make servers go further. He spends his days connecting the two.

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