In praise of the bezel (but make sure it’s a good one)

Bezels are a neglected aspect of data storage hardware, and I think that’s a shame.

Bezels are everywhere in data centres but their design gets little attention, no credit and no acknowledgement.

To remind you, a bezel is “the plastic front cover of a computer that can be removed and is designed to make the computer look more attractive.” But what do you see? Boring grilles, dispiriting designs dashed off in seconds, basic background panels with holes in them and a logo. So dull.

Bezels, like car radiator grilles, perform a function. They allow cooling air to enter a rack enclosure whilst protecting the delicate internal components from damage. That allows the bezel designer a lot of latitude in creating a bezel that’s pleasing to the eye while fulfilling its air ingest and protection roles.

These front panels should be icons of distinction, as finely crafted as car radiators, elegant badges bringing light, inspiration and imagination to dull rack walls in data centres. So let’s fight bezel boredom.

In the interests of good bezel design and improving the mental wellbeing of data centre admin staff, we’ll explore some examples of the good, the bad and the ugly in the bezel universe.

Embezeling, here we go

Let’s start at the bottom, with the ugly ones, grilles with logos:

What a utilitarian bunch. Why not add some colour?

Better, but we could do more, so much more:

That’s more like it. Top marks, Caringo! And well done, Backblaze with those red pods.

We could have lit-up logos:

A bit more adventurous with the shapes and colours?

Yes, well, okay DDN, perhaps not.

What about pretend-it’s-not-a-grille bezels;

What about collecting bezels, a nice addition to any wall?

You can always buy bezels on Ebay:

 People even collect first edition signed bezels;

You can see CEO Scott Dietzen’s signature, John Cosgrove’s, Max Kixmoeller’s and others. That is a bezel to treasure. You look at it and you think; “What a flash array!”