Kell Systems has launched a new version of its Portable Server Environment (PSE), specifically designed for small offices that need a low cost alternative to housing servers in a conventional computer room.

The ComputerVault Mini is the latest PSE from UK-based Kell Systems. Its PSE are essentially a server cabinet, which looks almost identical to a conventional cupboard. Kell describes them as "air-cooled acoustic server rack enclosures", but in reality these PSEs are designed to provide companies with an alternative to a dedicated computer room.

The advantage of this approach is that servers can be sited in an open-plan office, which is especially useful for small offices with limited space and a lack of a dedicated computer room. The PSE is designed to cope with the thermal and cooling issues associated with servers, and also removes the majority of its noise.

"Technically we achieve 98.5 percent reduction of server noise," said CEO Tim Walsh. "Many people have compared the noise of the PSE to the gentle hum of office aircon."

According to Walsh, the ComputerVault Mini was launched because customers in small offices were demanding a cheaper alternative to its existing product line.

"The ComputerVault Mini is designed to address a segment of customers we have not addressed previously," said Walsh. "Our cheapest offering used to be the 12U Server Cabinet (Model PSE12), which cost around £1,600 ($2,289), which was great for some customers and still sells very well. However, sometimes it is too expensive and too over engineered for some customers."

Walsh says that despite the much greater interoperability, deeper rack depth etc associated with the PSE12, there are thousands of people that just have a one or two servers running under a desk in an office. The ComputerVault Mini costs just £895, is therefore intended to be an affordable and secure solution for those with no space for computer rooms.

Walsh feels that besides it being ideal for people with just one or two servers, it is also suitable for large businesses, who are rolling out a small branch office, or for those revamping their IT in small offices.

"The ComputerVault Mini is not about being suited for a particular size of company, it is about being suited for a particular size of office," Walsh said. "For example, we have one customer rolling out hundreds of small retail outlets across the country. These retail environments have no server rooms, no computer engineer on site, so they centralise the management of the network, and all of the local servers go into one of our PSEs."

ComputerVault Mini is compatible with modern tower servers such as HP ProLiant ML100/ML300 series, Dell PowerEdge 1900/2900 and IBM System x3105 and x3200 towers, subject to a maximum total thermal load of 800 watts.

Walsh is also clear over the cost benefits the PSE approach can offer businesses, when compared to a conventional server room.

"It is pretty well known and accepted that for every watt of power needed in a server room, you need a watt of air con to offset it," he told Techworld. "For every watt in a computer room, you have to add another watt in air con. For example, 800 watts of computer equipment means that 800 watts of power will be drawn to cool it. The ComputerVault Mini on the other hand consumes just 60 watts."

Last year, Kell launched a remote management system specifically designed to monitor and control the environmental conditions of its server enclosures.