How to Answer 5 Tough Customer Questions about NetShelter CX Enclosures

In my last post I offered up some tips for getting a conversation started that can lead to the sale of a NetShelter CX enclosure – or even many sales. This time, let’s look at how to respond to some of the questions we get a lot from customers who are considering the CX.

The NetShelter CX, to refresh your memory, is basically “a server room in a box.” It’s a portable, secure, soundproof enclosure that’s great for branch offices, small offices or anywhere that customers need IT equipment but don’t have dedicated space for it. You can learn all about it at the CX web site.

Now, on to the top questions you’re likely to hear – and one really oddball story that is always good for laughs.

netshelterCX1. Why is it so expensive?

This is probably the top question you’re likely to get because the CX does cost more than a typical bare bones rack that goes for $1000 or maybe $1,500. The CX, by comparison, retails for $2,000 to $5,000, depending on model. But it saves money in a number of ways that other enclosures simply don’t.

First, it’s fan cooled, so customers don’t have to provide any additional air conditioning or any special venting in the room where it sits. That means you save on operating expenses over its lifetime as compared to traditional enclosures that require extra AC.

And because it’s so quiet, muffling about 90% of the noise from the equipment it houses, you can place the CX in the same space where employees are working without fear of it causing disruption. Its noise reduction capabilities, coupled with the fact that it’s fan-cooled, means you can place the CX pretty much anywhere – in an office with employees, in a reception area, a classroom, whatever. So you save on space, which is always a big expense. In some instances, it may even eliminate the need for a customer to spend $15,000 or more constructing a server room.

2. What if the AC in my building is shut off in the evenings and on weekends? Won’t our equipment get too hot?

Servers typically run with significantly less load when the office is closed, so they don’t get as hot to begin with. If the temperature in the room is 80° F or less, you’ll have no problem.

Keep in mind, too, that server manufacturers as well as the industry group ASHRAE have been providing new guidance around the temperatures at which IT equipment can safely run – and those temperatures are rising. As mentioned in a previous post, for certain classes of data centers, ASHRAE says temperatures as high as 113° F and humidity as high as 90 percent are OK for at least short periods of time.

3. If the CX is portable, what’s to stop someone from rolling it right out of the room?

For customers who are concerned about someone making off with the enclosure and everything inside it, or who simply don’t want to take the chance that the enclosure gets moved – whether inadvertently or not – we offer a bolt-down kit. With the kit, customers can bolt the CX securely to the floor. This is good for companies that require tight security as well as for areas prone to earthquakes. In fact, we came up with the kit mainly to address building codes in California, which require that certain equipment be bolted down to prevent injury during an earthquake.

4. The CX looks like a piece of furniture. Is it really secure?

The CX locks completely on all sides, including the fan module, and some models can also lock from the inside. Additionally, we are soon going to launch an adapter so you can set a code lock (instead of using a key) or use a proximity card lock, where you swipe an ID card to unlock the handle. That will be a boon for companies that must comply with laws such as HIPAA that require such protections for privacy reasons.

5. What if there’s a fire in or near the enclosure?

The CX is made from materials that are fire-resistant inside and out.

Finally, here’s a little story that you may find opportunity to bring up from time to time. About a year ago I got a call from a reseller who had an issue with a customer in southern Florida who had an IT cabinet in a warehouse. Rodents and snakes apparently liked to make themselves at home in the cabinet.

At one point, I got a call from the customer himself, who was pretty much distraught. “I can’t open my rack one more time and pull out a snake thinking it’s a wire,” he says. “I just can’t do it!” He wanted to know how quickly I could get a CX to him. I told him a couple days and he quickly put in the order with his reseller.

The CX does have vents on the bottom on both sides, but we put a washable dust filter over it and apparently that did the trick – we haven’t heard any complaints from the customer since. So if you’ve got a customer who needs to keep rodents and snakes out of their IT equipment, tell them the CX has experience with that.

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