[rescue] Server lift: rent, borrow, or buy?

Mr Ian Primus ian_primus at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 27 16:35:50 CDT 2011

--- On Mon, 6/27/11, William Enestvedt <William.Enestvedt at jwu.edu> wrote:

>    We just got in three new Sun servers (an
> M4000 and two M5000): yay!
> But they are very heavy (almost 300lbs.): boo! And they
> need to be lined
> up juuuust right so as to attach the rack arms and engage
> all these tiny
> pins: boo again! And we don't have a lift, only three
> strong guys:
> thrice boo! And the racking instructions only indicate how
> to do ti with
> a lift: a fourth boo!
>    We tried to think of alternative (pallet
> jack, engine hoist, floor
> jack, six-foot 2"x4"...) but nothing seems to do this job.
> Has anyone
> ever come up with a clever alternative?
>    So I am curious: can one rent a data
> center lift? If so, from whom?
> (I'm in Providence, RI.) We don't anticipate having much
> more equipment
> this big come in any time soon, so I don't see a $2000
> purchase as very
> practical. Do people with only infrequent need borrow one
> from, say,
> another nearby school or something?

Depending on the device, I've found that stacking something solid (say boxes
of photocopier paper, or SparcStation 5's...) in front of the rack to get the
thing just about to the right height, and having a helper to help lift the
thing onto the stack helps a lot. This way you get it almost there, and can
make fine adjustments while racking it, without worry of it falling and
crushing your feet. Of course, this is still really hard, but doable. I've
done this when racking up medium sized devices on my own. Of course, finding
stuff to make the support stack might be difficult - but I found that my
massive pile of SparcStations come in handy here...

I actually now have a server lift - I got it from a previous job. It's a Genie
Load Lifter. It's rated for 200 pounds, but I've used it for slightly more. It
definitely makes the job go a lot easier, but you really still should have
another person to help, as it gets a bit unstable when it's a couple feet in
the air with a server on it.

And, of course, if you have a server with removable parts that slide in the
front/back, pulling those out first make it lighter and therefore easier to
manage. That was the only way I could get my E4500 into the rack. Even with
all the boards and power supplies out, it's still pretty heavy.


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