Your guide to Buying an Industrial-grade Computer or a Server

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Published: 10th January 2011
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in buying power of a consumer so they tend to go for cheaper and less expensive still

serviceable chassis. They opt for such chassis as most 'consumer server' is utilized either for

browsing the web or for non mission critical documentation process where breakdowns are not

a major issue of concern.

The situation however, totally alters in computation work of industry where the stable

functioning of the system is the most prior concern. From top to bottom, everything needs to

be correctly functioning and fully operational. To meet such stringent needs therefore the

chassis concerning Industrial Grade Computer requires an exceptional class design that can

accommodate mission critical norms and applications. Besides protecting computer system

from dust, it also aims to protect it from overheating, shock and vibration. Electromagnetic

shielding, ability of case modifying and scalability are other advanced features included. Less

performance as well as operational demands and requirements of fixed specifications, it is

more than sufficient to be used for basic needs. With all these reasons, therefore there can be

five primary differences concluded between Industrial Grade Chassis and

Commercial/consumer chassis. These are:

Scalability

Maintenance

Longevity of Product

Applications

Customization

Scalability

As per the scalability aspect is concerned, the industrial and commercial grade servers view it

differently. The commercial computers are equipped with a fixed range of operational

requirements and once they leave the factory, very less proportion of adjustments are required

by them. In addition to this, there are invariable specification designs due to which there is very

few chance left for chassis to look for further expansion options. The situation is however

totally different for industrial grade systems. They require a constant operational mechanism

and adjustments concerned to system specifications so that they can adapt according to

different purposes. For this reason, the main boards of industrial units come in myriad of types

of factors such as MicroATX, ATX and Mini ITX motherboard.

Besides this, there are half size and full size single board computers (SBCs) as well, that are

accompanied with expansion slots. These slots are present either on the motherboards or back

planes are manifold. It is required to reserve the expansion slots in advance as otherwise there

are chances of chassis requiring replacements during carrying out operations. It may also be a

possibility of redesigning the system configuration according to changes so that new demands

can be accommodated conveniently. Money primarily saved on expansion slots is far surpassed

by the cost incurred.

Maintenance

Maintenance might seem as not a much important factor in comparison to other needs;

however it is also equally important. These days, most of the commercial servers open via plain

side cover, which is not a good model to cater the diversified needs of industrial applications.

This inbuilt designing mechanism is different in industrial chassis. The industrial chassis have a

totally different inbuilt mechanism. Even the placement installations vary as per different

facilities. For all this, side or top designs that are fully flexible are required to be formulated. To

meet these changes, therefore L-shaped and U-shaped models have been developed along with

traditional designs of plain side versions.

Besides this, there are other elements of service ability also been developed that can be

included in novel designs details. Inclusion of such elements in designing aspect can lead to

convenient maintenance and operation by operators or other users. They can also make them

have a lower maintenance cost over other similar objects, thereby making it a totally lucrative

deal for them. Some of such elements are 'easing carry' handles and 'tool free thumb screws.'

Product Longevity

Total lifespan of a product and guarantee time of extended supply are two more elements that

can be considered as point of differentiation. Commercial computers perform pretty well on an

average basis, for few years. This however does not make them equally efficient as industrial

Computers Systems. Changing and replacing of components is not always possible with industry

lines where industrial servers are exploited in vertical industries as controllers of operations

and in lines of production. So, for an industrial computer a highly efficient life expectancy of

five to six years is expected which is not the case with servers used for commercial needs.

Organizations while looking out in market for an industrial server purchase must check out only

well known brands with component suppliers based internationally. This will help them to buy a

product of good quality and one with longest possible lifespan of working even in rigid

conditions. In addition to this, it is also required to make sure what other guarantees and

supply benefits have been offered by the company. Extended offers, continuous supply of

products and free replacement services are some offers that can be looked upon in order to

avoid any kind of problems during renewals of periodic systems.

Applications

What kinds of applications are served by a product is a major concern to be looked upon.

Industrial chassis are fit to be used in all kinds of tough and rigid applications. They are

employed in harsh environments such as sub zero cold stores, hot boiler rooms as well as

vibrating and dusty environments. Due to its effective system designing, it is able to carry on

reliable operations even in rugged places which reduce down the cost of replacements that

arise due to continuous failures. In short, they are fit to be used in every operational condition.

Among computing applications of industrial servers, wide support to temperature is quite

common that ranges from -10°C to 50°C. Moreover, protection from dust and shock is provided

by them and are able to withstand environment induced turbulent vibration and resonances

that are generated by fans and hard discs which are equipped in the system. For this reason,

systems without fans are becoming popular as they provide silent and stable working along

with low maintenance solutions. They are also incorporated with heat sinks, heat pipes and a

single aluminum chassis due to which it is able to dissipate heat comfortably.

Customization

Customization is the last point of differentiation between the commercial and industrial grade

systems. Industrial servers tend to have a more customized approach in comparison to

commercial ones. They have an inbuilt ability to upgrade their systems according to diversified

preferences of the customer needs. They have additional PCI-X, PCI-E adds on cards and

additional storage and memory capacity that make them highly comfortable to be used by

users. With additional inbuilt mechanisms and meeting specific application needs, All this

allows the Tyan system integrator partners and OEM to build and customize the scalable,

affordable and secure storage systems according to needs and preferences of customer.

Industrial chassis therefore offer more customization in comparison to any other similar units.

Knowing about these truly imperative difference between commercial and industrial grade

servers, will surely make one buy only industrial chassis. In order to buy such products of high

quality and better performance, there are certain rules that can be followed which are in form

of six simple steps.

Step 1: Operating Conditions

In order to meet the diverse needs of applications that are vertically integrated such as

communications, medical and financial, industrial grade systems have evolved. Keeping such

things in mind, the working scenario of industrial computers has totally altered. Despite of

location, performance is given more important consideration. For instance, chassis operating in

concerned to metallurgic boilers require clean thoughts about temperature issues. Whilst

chassis for shock ridden, heavy industries and dust filled scenario need to have thick housing

and proper protection from dust. For this, our chassis are crafted always at 1.25mm minimum

thickness and fans of hot swap dual cooling is considered best.

Industrial computers also require SBC or motherboard, and chassis that sufficiently meet the

stringent requirements. In case, customers go for totally performance based units and ignore

the industrial grade mechanism completely, then this could lead to a greater loss than system

itself. Users therefore need to go for a perfect chassis suit that takes into account all specific

location applications as well. Best is to go for a combination of location and performance based

system that can meet all kinds of diverse needs with full ease.

Step 2: Space Limitations

Applications with different locales are in need of chassis that are different in concern to factors

and sizes. Varied models have been developed such as Rack mount, Wall mount or desktop that

could cater different needs easily. Depending on the availability of space and system

functionalities to be served, they have been created in sizes ranging between 1U to 7U. So,

customers can buy a grade system according to their own space availability. They could also

make a choice depending upon the functionality to be served in order to own the best product

to cater their needs.

Step 3: Main Board Selections

Main board or CPU is the master behind any of the system types. They are obtainable in great

variety of form factors such as half size and full size SBCs and Micro-ATX, ATX and Mini-ITX

motherboards. They are designed differently so that they can support distinct expansion slots.

Every single motherboard or CPU card combined with backplane provides more than one

choice for industrial chassis. In order to have adequate assistance in this aspect, users are

required to take help from professional integrator of system or supplier of industrial computer.

They will help in finding a suitable industrial chassis for long term usage.

Scalability is an important factor of consideration while buying a main board. Operational

workflow modifications in system upgrade are commonplace in IPC sector so it is needed to

build in the slots for future expansion into chassis. Cost is another major concern of this issue.

Cost of industrial chassis is almost double in comparison to commercial servers. Users, have to

make it sure not to go for non industrial models or for a fabricator made up of steel plate. This

may save good amount of money initially, but in actual can lead to great hazard once their

operation is started. This especially occurs in operations carried in non functional locales.

Using non professional chassis can lead to frequent breakdowns that may occur due to cutting

corners that may further lead to paying of much higher process afterwards. It is therefore

worth to buy a server with higher price tag value at first place so as to improve the stability of

the overall system.

Step 4: Comprehensive System Integration

As per concern to system integration, there are two additional concerns to see. Foremost is the

overall set up of cables and wiring and other is selections made for supplying power. The

cabling system for both commercial and industrial units varies as industrial graders involve a

little more tricky and complex arrangement of cables. This arrangement is needed to be

streamlined on two aspects:

Cutting down of intricacies of systems

Facilitating maintenance work

Important among them is streamlining the interior cable arrangement so that it comfortably

assists the ventilation process and also promotes dispersion of heat. Besides this, it is also

required to pay attention towards the connections made for supplying power. Consumers often

forget this aspect while making a purchase, but in actual it is highly required. It is better not to

go for server models that are inclusive of wattage gauge and are comfortable to buy, but in

actuality, they can create certain problems. Firstly, the power usage in chassis has increased in

terms of monetary value in market. This could lead to occurrence of huge electricity bills to

pockets. In addition to this, there can be an insufficient supply of electricity that could lead to

system failures, thereby resulting in high maintenance bills.

In order to provide occurrence of such discrepancies, it is better if one works on the total

wattage required to run a single system before actually making a purchase. Besides, this trusted

IPC supplier can also be contacted that can help in keeping buying as well as power costs lower.

Step 5: Maintenance

Considering the follow up support for maintenance is also imperative task. Functions related to

periodic system monitoring, service ability and alert mechanisms must be included in the

supported system. Presence of alert mechanism helps in understanding the innards working of

the system. LED indicators for hard drive, general source of power, sensor for fan speed and

temperature sensor are other required features. The status for all this is made visible on the

front panel on the chassis with the help of LED indicators. Complete assessment of the system

and conditioning through the LED Indicators helps an operator to work efficiently. We are using

chassis that can be noted for maintenance support from expedient. In order to prevent

occurrence of misplacements, a thumb screw is also affixed outside the hole. Besides filters and

fans, look for other components that can be replaced as quickly as possible.

Step 6: System Verification

Certification criteria for industrial grade systems are more stringent in comparison to

commercial units. This is because the latter one are extensively integrated in huge assortment

of industrial applications. Vibration, temperature, dust, shock and electromagnetic radiations

range is checked with helps of tough testing and certification mechanisms. A process of three

different levels is required to be passed under the confirmation system of IPC. Firstly, there is a

preliminary specification test carried on at room temperature which is almost similar to test of

commercial graders. Main aim of this test is to see working of the system under normal working

environment. Next test is undertaken to judge the performance of systems against shock,

vibration and temperature fluctuations. Such harsh conditions are laid in a lab where the entire

testing process takes place. Finally, a test is done under the real industrial environment to make

local micro adjustments and to confirm specifications.

Once all these tests have been successfully cleared the manufacturer applies for system

security verification exam for a product. These days' countries have implemented rigorous

safety regulations for facilities of industries. Before supplying a clean chit of health, it is

required by system integrator to take all above aspects into consideration while integrating a

chassis fixture with an internal system.

Chassis forms the most conspicuous yet ignored component of the entire working system.

Without doubt however, it is the chassis only that can maintain or break the working quality of

entire system. It professionally carries on the task of designing highly defined chassis models.

Besides this, runs a plant for industrial chassis which is inclusive of more than 20 different

models. Its entire chassis are painted with trustable antioxidants and meet all the certification

PANGAEA.CO.IL


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