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What Should I Use In The New DeepStorage Lab?

It's time to move the DeepStorage lab. While our data center is minuscule compared to Google's, or even the average Fortune 500 company, the fact it's a testing lab means we're performing MACs (Moves, Adds and Changes) much more than a well-run user organization should.  As we move into the new lab I'm looking to include all the gadgets and software tools I can afford to both simplify the process of reconfiguring the lab to test some amazing new storage thingamabob and enable as much remote work as possible.  

That means I'm taking a good hard look at the less glamorous technologies that keep a data center running smoothly. These range from core structural items like power distribution through server remote management and KVM switches, and the all too frequently ignored cable management, labeling and documentation.  

While many midsize companies will settle on a hardware/software bundle from their server vendor like HP's Intelligent Lights Out management cards and Insight Manager, or Dell's DRAC and OpenManage, the wide variety of hardware in the lab makes that approach a non-starter. I'm looking for tools to manage an ever-changing, heterogeneous assortment of gear at a price a poor journalist/analyst can afford.

I'll be moving our few racks of servers, storage hardware and assorted test equipment into an existing datacenter at a consulting client's site, so power protection and cooling are part of the rent. Power distribution, on the other hand, is one of the first items on my agenda. In addition to rent, I need to reimburse my client for the power we use in the lab. We actually turn gear off when it's not in use, so we need to measure and record the power used in real time. I'm looking for metered power strips and software to track my power usage. The alternative is hiring an electrician to install a sub-meter and breaker panel and I can't stand that idea.

One of the problems with my little shopping spree is a shortage of objective sources of information about many of the products I need. From personal experience, I know that several vendors sell IP-enabled KVM switches, but there's a world of difference between a good and a bad IP KVM. On a bad one, the mouse cursor flies around the screen like it has a mind of its own. The last time Network Computing looked at infrastructure bits like KVMs or metered power strips was 2005, when we rebuilt the Syracuse lab. So I'm asking for your help. Let me know what tools make your life easier in the data center by leaving comments here at Network Computing.