British Server Cabinet Maker Kell Joins APC


A British provider of innovative soundproof server cabinets for offices has become part of APC

Kell Systems Ltd, the Marlow, Buckinghamshire-based company that specialises in cabinets to house servers or network equipment, has been snapped up by the global energy giant Schneider Electric, owner of the APC brand.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Kell Systems rapidly made a name for itself in the five years since its founding by specialising in the provision of a ‘server room in a box’. This is essentially a soundproofed cabinet that looks like a conventional office storage cupboard. However instead of office stationary, it houses noisy servers or other IT equipment.

Boxed Server Room

Kell’s cabinets are now being used by many organisations, including blue chip companies such as Google, NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, British Telecom, Rolls Royce, Motorola, Shell, and even the White House.

The cabinet itself is fully ventilated and cooled, and due to the fact that it also soundproofed, it can be placed in open plan office without any disruption to staff from noisy servers.

The other major benefit is that it allows companies to install IT equipment without the need for a typical “server room”, with its associated cooling and power issues.

The cabinets can therefore be operated independently of, or in conjunction with, traditional server rooms, greatly reducing capital and running costs. This is increasingly important as business become increasingly focused on their IT energy costs.

Energy Saving

But how does the cabinets work?

Well a typical Kell Server Cabinet operates a powerful, low-energy forced-air cooling system. This sucks in office air at its coolest point – from ground level – pulls it through the equipment, from front-to-back which assists the onboard cooling of these devices. The air is then extracted from the rear of the equipment and pushed out the rear of the Kell Server Cabinet.

This air is dispersed into the office, which does not have a big impact on the overall office temperature, but can be utilised to help lower the office heating bill, especially in Northern Europe and elsewhere.

Kell argues that its method has several advantages over the data centre cooling method, which can at times be akin to chilling an entire kitchen to keep a pint of milk cold.

Good Fit

The acquisition does make sense as some of the Kell Server Cabinets are already available through APC as part of their unique Netshelter CX range. APC is of course a leading supplier of technology for protecting and optimising data centre management.

“We are very excited to welcome the Kell Systems team to APC by Schneider Electric,” said Laurent Vernerey, President and CEO of APC by Schneider Electric. “The addition of Kell Systems to our existing portfolio is an opportunity to give our combined business market leadership in the server and network room/closet environment, and to bring innovation in the rack market, that uniquely differentiates us in the small systems space.”

“Kell Systems is delighted to be part of the APC by Schneider Electric brand,” said David O’Coimin, Joint MD of Kell.

“The Kell solutions sit at the forefront of an IT infrastructure revolution, driving new business capture while addressing every-day cost & eco-concerns,” he added. “Together with the Schneider team, we now we have the mandate, the reach and the power to engage, create and provide solutions on a sophisticated global scale. We’re relishing the prospect.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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