Working in the Colocation Facility

Rack Access, Changes, and Waste Disposal


What are the type and size of racks that are available for lease in the facility?
All computer racks in the ITS colocation facility are provided by ITS. There are currently three types of racks you can lease from ITS based upon availability:

  • NetShelter SX 42U model AR3100 “full-size rack”, which has 42 rack units to accommodate devices that will fit the industry standard 19-inch width and have a depth or length of 30 inches or less to include the rails, if so equipped
  • NetShelter SX 42U model AR3300 “deep rack”, which has 42 rack units and is similar to AR3100 except it has an increased depth allowing for equipment having a depth or length of 36 inches to include the length of rails, if so equipped
  • NetShelter SX 42U model AR3350 “deep plus wide rack”, which has 42 rack units and is similar to AR3300 except it has an external cabinet width of 29.5 inches to accommodate equipment and cabling requiring the extra side clearance.

The inside vertical mounting rails of these rack types are adjustable so as to fit devices from approximately 7.5 inches to 36 inches in depth. Mounting cage nuts, bolts, and a cage-nut tool are provided. In addition, each rack is seismically braced and securely bolted in place.

For additional information on these four NetShelter racks, including a complete list of manufacturer specifications, please visit the Schneider-Electric website at:

How is electrical power provided to the racks?
Each ITS rack is initially provided with a single conditioned power electrical circuit. By default, this circuit provides 208 volts, 30 amps. ITS also provides a metered rack power distribution unit (PDU) to supply power to customer equipment. These vertically mounted rack PDUs provide power with C13 and C19 outlets. Horizontal rack PDUs with similar specifications can be available depending on the implementation. While one power circuit and rack PDU comes with the rack, a second one will be highly recommended for redundancy. In doing so, the customer should ensure that all equipment needs to come with two power supplies for true redundancy. ITS discourages the use of single and three power supplies on equipment. Doing so puts the customer at risk of equipment losing power during UPS maintenance periods. And finally, two 30-amp circuits are the maximum allowed per rack.

NOTE: You must provide your own appropriate power cords for your equipment. For information on what types of power cords will work for your power configuration, see Power Cord Types.

What happens if I overload an electrical circuit to my rack?
Each metered rack PDU is equipped with a digital display that indicates how many amps are being used by the equipment that is plugged into that PDU. You are responsible for ensuring that your rack’s power consumption does not overload an electrical circuit.

The customer should maintain your equipment load to 20% below the maximum rating on the circuit. This factor follows electrical industry best practice. For example, the load on a 30-amp source should not exceed 24 amps collectively. Contact the data center operations to discuss further details on two rack PDU implementation at its-dca-l@usc.edu

If a customer causes a circuit breaker to fail due to an overloaded circuit, the customer will need to address the overload issue before ITS resets the breaker. Breakers can only be reset during normal business hours.

Can I have dual-power supplies to my rack?
If you are installing equipment containing more than one power supply (two or four), you should consider having a second electrical circuit and rack PDU installed to full take advantage of the equipment’s redundant power capability and uptime.

For such configurations, ITS will make sure that the two electrical circuits in each rack receive power from different power distribution units. This will add another layer of power reliability to the IT equipment in the event of a maintenance or power loss in one of the two circuits.

How do I run cables between my racks if I have more than one rack?
If you are leasing multiple racks, you may need to run cables from one rack to another. You may run cables across the top of one rack to the adjacent rack, but you may not run them between non-adjacent racks without written authorization from ITS.

If you need to run cables between non-adjacent racks, please send an email to Data Center Operations at its-dca-l@usc.edu to arrange for (sub-floor) inter-rack cabling services. This service includes both copper and fiber cabling.

NOTE: Only authorized personnel are allowed to access sub-floor spaces.

How do the combination locks on the racks work?
Each rack comes equipped with a combination lock on both its front and rear doors. The combination is a 3-digit numeric sequence. If you lease more than one rack, you can opt to have the same combination for all of your racks or choose a different combination for each lock.

You may accept the randomly generated combination assigned to each rack by ITS or you may submit a request for a specific three-number combination through your department’s authorized signer, whose name appears in your ITS-maintained service level agreement (SLA).

The authorized signer is responsible for maintaining and distributing combinations. If customers forget their combination, they should contact their authorized signer. The authorized signer must authorize ITS to release a combination in writing (email requests are acceptable).

Authorized signers who misplace a combination may request that combination in writing (email requests are acceptable).

Note: All combination-related requests should be sent to its-dca-l@usc.edu. ITS responds to combination requests during business hours only.

Working in the ITS Colocation Facility

Where should I park my car?
Free street-level public parking is often available on Grand Avenue. Use your discretion when parking after hours. Parking is also available on the second level of the USC Parking Center across the street from the ITS data center and colocation facility.

If you intend to park in the USC Parking Center, please note that the pay station located on the second level near the elevators accepts debit/credit cards along with 1- and 5-dollar bills. If you need to drop off bulky items, contact Data Center Operations at its-dca-l@usc.edu to arrange for assistance with our Hill Street dock.

NOTE: Holders of USC Cardinal and Gold parking permits may park in the USC Parking Center (3rd floor or higher) at any time.

May I lift the floor tiles to get under my rack?
No. Due to safety concerns, only authorized personnel are allowed to remove the room floor tiles. If you need access to the sub-floor space next to your rack, please contact a staff member from the Data Center Operations team at its-dca-l@usc.edu for assistance.

Rack Access, Changes, and Waste Disposal

Can I connect my servers directly to an ITS managed switch?
No. ITS no longer supports direct connections from ITS switches to customer servers. Customers must purchase a top-of-rack (ToR) switch for network connectivity. Contact Data Center Operations at its-dca-l@usc.edu and ask to be provided with a list of approved ToR switch brands and models.

How do I add or remove equipment from my rack?
Anytime you add or remove equipment from your rack, an Equipment Add/Remove Form must be completed and submitted to a Data Center Operations member. This form is critical for security reasons.

Can I have new equipment shipped directly to the facility?
Yes. ITS recognizes the occasional need for you to ship equipment directly to the facility. For specific instructions, please contact its-dca-l@usc.edu.

How do I request additional electrical circuits for my rack?
To request additional electrical circuits, please contact ITS Data Center Operations support staff at its-dca-l@usc.edu. We will work with you to identify and install the electrical circuits you need.

Can ITS personnel provide remote hands support to my rack?
Yes. ITS provides limited remote hands support for unmanaged colocation racks, such as, reporting on the status of diagnostic indicators, capturing/exchanging digital images for diagnostic reference, reseating cables, and power cycling* devices and equipment that have been properly labeled and do not require keyboard input. *ITS cannot be held accountable in cases where data loss or service interruption occurs due to remote hands activity.

Can you provide a list of ITS recommended network switch manufacturers?
Yes. To request a list of recommended network switches, please send an email to its-dca-l@usc.edu.

Can ITS purchase network switches on my behalf?
No. ITS currently does not purchase switches on behalf of our unmanaged colocation customers.

How should I dispose of waste materials I generate while working in the facility?
When you unpack your new equipment, please place all unwanted Styrofoam, plastic bags, straps, shipping tape, cardboard inserts, and papers back into the same boxes they were shipped in.

If these boxes become full, close them up and stack them on the provided carts. These carts can typically be found along the perimeter of the colocation facility wall.

Please keep the pathway and double-door emergency exits clear at all times. When you are ready to have waste materials removed, please contact the Data Center Operation team for assistance.

How should I dispose of electronic waste that I remove from my rack?
ITS has arranged for an ongoing electronic waste collection process within the facility. If you have electronic waste that needs to be removed, notify the Data Center Operation team for assistance in person or at its-dca-l@usc.edu.

Please note that you are responsible for providing proper notification to USC Equipment Management regarding the disposal of any inventory-tagged equipment.

May I take photographs or videos within the facility?
Taking photographs and filming inside the data center and colocation facility requires prior written approval. To request permission, send an email to the Data Center Operation team for assistance at its-dca-l@usc.edu.