In Hong Kong, like many Asian cities, space is often at a premium. It is not uncommon for landlords to try to squeeze as many occupants as they can into a building. It becomes difficult for companies that require space to obtain it cheaply and easily.
When iLink, a Web-hosting company looked for space to house all their servers and cables, it faced a number of problems. In Hong Kong there are laws limiting floor loading which restricts the amount of equipment you can install. Additionally, although they were working with 20,000 square-feet of space on three floors, the floors were some six feet lower than those found in the US where companies like iLink are traditionally found.
This caused problems for Seattle University-educated Billy Tam, the president of the new firm.
“Horizontally, we were in good shape,” recalls Tam, “it was the vertical dimension that posed the problems—that, and the building floor weight codes. We needed to provide a raised floor, isolated cable channels for each customer, and enclosed rack mounted systems that were modularly configurable to fit our restricted vertical spaces—our customers demand that. And each cabinet had to be lockable and yet easily accessible for inspection and maintenance. Plus the centre had to look impressive.
"In Asia you cannot have spaghetti wire running under the floor, everything has to be neat and organized or you won’t have credibility with your customer. That meant that we had to have an extraordinary cable management system where each customer could access their own cable. In Asian data centers, customers typically supply much of their own cable and they want to be able to see it. In fact, they want ready access to the facilities at a moment’s notice. The installation simply has to be impeccable because it’s always on view.”
With only two short months and nine feet of vertical space on each floor to house the servers and cabling, iLink approached Chatsworth Products Inc. (CPI) to come up with a solution. CPI was able to develop a high-security environment to protect each ISP client housed in this environment. Both open and enclosed rack mounting systems and cable management systems that looked as though they would work in iLink’s limited space. CAD programs for designing centres around CPI’s infrastructure products were also provided.
All this made for easy installation when the products arrived. According to Tam, “Everything fit and it was just a matter of putting it all together. I was amazed at how neat and clean the cable runs were, though there wasn’t an inch to spare under the raised floor.” Working 3 shifts, iLink was able to complete the center in two months.
Ian Seaton from Chatsworth Products contributed to this story.