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Ross Vincent and the Thureon Armarac
Ancient Roman soldiers used 4-foot tall thureon shields to protect themselves in battle. Building on that concept of protection, Thureon, an engineering and IT operations company based in Auckland, New Zealand, created the Armarac. This wall-mounted, “server-room-in-a-box” made its American debut at Interop Las Vegas 2007.
Ross Vincent, Director and co-founder, gave me a demonstration of this unique rackmount enclosure and its patent-pending Vertiblade system.
The Armarac has enough visual appeal to hang on an office wall and is rugged enough to survive harsh industrial environments. It is available in a variety of colors and configurations. You can mount it directly to a load bearing wall or use an optional floor stand.
The Armarac is THE most innovative server enclosure I’ve seen in a long while. If you’re looking for a way to safely and securely house 1 to 6 19-inch servers, you should definitely give Thureon’s Armarac careful consideration. Base units (with wall mount) cost $7,995 USD and a fully equipped model with built-in KVM system, and temperature monitor is $9,995 USD. The Armarac Floor Stand is an additional $1,500 USD.
Optional keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) and tape storage compartments
As Ross walked me around the Armarac, I was pleased to see how much thought and careful planning Thureon put into the unit’s design.
You can configure the Armarac with optional KVM and tape backup systems. These systems are accessed from two front panels–KVM on top and tape backup on the bottom.
KVM monitor door lock
The KVM LCD and keyboard, tape backup compartment, and clamshell case can all be locked with separate keys. This allows you to give someone access to change your backup tapes without giving them direct access to the servers.
Armarac open - Side
The Armarac requires 4.75 square feet of wall space (28 inches wide and 68 inches high). The Armarac’s clamshell case opens in two haves to reveal Thureon’s patent-pending Vertiblade rack mount system. Translucent panels are located on each side of the case. Through these panels, you can watch the server status lights.
Armarac open - Front
Thureon’s patent-pending Vertiblade system allows you to mount one to five full-length 1U servers and one half-length 1U server vertically within the Aramac. You can combine two 1U slots to hold one 2U server. The system’s hinging mechanism allows you to fan the Vertiblade racks out like the pages of a book.
Inside the shell's top cover
The Armarac case’s top half contains the KVM system’s LCD and keyboard and three intake fans. I was initially concerned about the noise level the fans would generate, but the unit running on the Interop show floor was very quiet. According to Thureon, the Aramac’s internal fans produce 53dBa at 6.5 feet.” Of course, servers with loud fans may increase the noise.
Behind the external KVM monitor
Top cover cooling fans
According to Thureon, the Armarac’s “internal fans can cool most loads if the ambient temperature in the room is kept under 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius).” Thureon recommends installing the optional Armarac Active Cooling Unit for “high loads or environments with a high ambient temperature.”
Inside the shell's bottom cover - Exhaust fans
The Armarac’s exhaust fans are located on the case’s bottom half. The fan configuration keeps air moving through the unit from top to bottom.
Network, telecom, and power ports
The Aramac’s network, telecom, and power ports are located on the back panel near the bottom.
Rear networking, telecom, and power wiring panel
Top cover shock and Vertiblade racks
Two pneumatic shocks connect to each halve of the Armarac case and hold the case open.
Bottom cover shock, Vertiblade racks, and wiring
Wiring can be neatly configured using plastic ties and small holes in the Vertiblade racks.
The Armarac can be locked to prevent physical access to the equipment stored inside. During our conversation, Ross told me that Thureon is working on a locking mechanism that can be controlled remotely. This would allow network administrators to grant physical access to the Armarac without having to be on site. Very cool.
Vertiblade racks with servers
Thureon had several Armaracs on display at Interop. This unit was mounted to a wall and was configured with several running servers.
The cables are wired neatly under the servers.
When installing the Armarac, the Wall Mount is first attached to the wall, and then the Armarac is securely locked to the wall mount. No one will be walking away with your servers.
Realistic, wall-mount configuration
This displays shows a potential combination of servers. According to Thureon, a typical Armarac configuration (not this one) might include:
- “1U or 2U UPS (APC SmartUPS RM)
- 2U 2-way dual- or quad-core server running multiple virtual machines (Dell PE2950; HP DL380 G5; IBM x3650)
- 1U IP PBX server (Cisco MCS)
- 1U Router/Firewall (Cisco 2811; Juniper NetScreen
- 5.25-inch LTO3 tape drive”