Seismic cabinets were developed to protect servers from earthquake damage and have now expanded to include many other applications. Many businesses will find themselves considering whether or not they need seismic cabinets—but how often are they truly necessary?
Before we dive into the answer, let's start by clarifying exactly what a seismic cabinet is. In order for a server rack to provide seismic protection, it should meet several criterion:
- Heavy, reinforced steel construction
- A rating based on seismic zone and weight resistance and tested at a certified lab
- A fully-welded design
- Doors with strong hinges and three or more latches
So, who needs these heavy duty racks? You may need seismic racks if the following conditions are met:
1. If your equipment is operation-essential – Once, seismic cabinets were used mostly by hospitals and government agencies, where lives depended on the data and systems being housed. Times have changed, however, and communities and businesses also depend on data—meaning that losses of servers can have disastrous and costly consequences in any field. If your IT equipment or network is essential to your operation, and a disruption would be a major crisis, then you should consider the added protection of seismic racks regardless of other factors.
2. If your business is located near a fault line – The main reason that businesses traditionally consider seismic cabinets is for protection against earthquakes. Given how many tech companies had their start in California, this is no minor consideration. Today, there are many other reasons that a business might choose seismic racks, but protecting equipment from actual earthquakes remains high on the list.
3. If your area is prone to other natural disasters – One of the reasons that the use of seismic cabinets has expanded is that businesses in non-earthquake prone regions have realized that the same added protection is useful against other disasters. Specifically, seismic cabinets protect equipment from being crushed, twisted or cracked when buildings collapse or debris falls. That's a real threat in most natural disasters—especially tornadoes and hurricanes.
4. If you DON'T want to test your disaster recovery plan – These days, more businesses than ever have contracted data backup and recovery plans. The goal of these precautions is to allow crucial data and systems to be recovered if servers or other equipment are destroyed or breached. While data backup is crucial, it's also something you don't want to have to turn to—it's better to avoid losing your equipment in the first place.
Does your business use seismic racks?