Monday, July 27, 2009

Minicom Interview: Calvin Nicholson Server Technology

Following the announcement that our AccessIT is integrated with the SentryTM Cabinet Power Distribution Unit from Server Technology, I wanted to take a closer look at the power industry and had a chance to ask Calvin Nicholson from Server Technology a few questions. Server Technology designs and manufactures intelligent power distribution products for enterprise data centers, service providers and branch office locations. Founded in 1984, Server Technology is recognized as a leader in innovative Remote Power Management solutions.

What is your position at Server Technology?

I am the Director of Product Marketing

Can you give me an overview of Server Tech’s method of selling?

We have both direct sales people as well as working through the channel. So the option is up to the customer as to whether they want to work direct or through a partner that they are comfortable with. We have an opportunity registration program through our web site that allows our partners to register opportunities. This lets us reward the partners that are pushing our products and who bring in the opportunities.

Do you have international customers? If so, what is the percentage of international sales compared to North America?

We do have international customers and we have offices in Canada, UK, Germany and Singapore along with a strong channel of partners throughout the world. I can’t give percentages but this is a strong a growing portion of our business.

How does Server Tech differentiate itself from your competitors?

Server Technology just focuses on power distribution, monitoring, management and control within the data center cabinet. We have been in business over 26 years and have the largest number of engineers in the industry focused in this area. We provide high quality products that are very feature rich along with a superior level of support. Being the leader in our industry we are requested to produce cutting edge products for new data center projects well ahead of the industry norm. These products then become part of our standard product line.

What are your unique selling points?

You can manage two power in-feeds (power distribution units PDU’s) and two temperature and two humidity measurements all under a single IP address through our unique linking technology. We offer the largest product line and have a number of 3-Phase products and 60A products focused on high density applications. Our temperature and humidity probes are on 10 foot cards so they can be placed in any locations within the cabinet. We offer a tool to monitor and manage all of the PDU’s in you DC called SPM.

What’s popular with your customers today?

Right now the new trend is 415 V 3-Phase power delivered to the cabinet for North American data centers. Efficiency gains with this technology are in the 4-6% range and offer significant efficiency gains and cost savings. Most products supplied a Zero U technology with some kind of intelligence. Customers don’t always and to turn things on and off or reboot them but monitoring power is becoming a significant trend.

What specific features are your customers looking for in your PDU’s?

Solutions that deliver the amount of power that is required with the proper outlet types and features/functions that they desire.

With regards to monitoring power usage, why is it so important to your customers?

Monitoring power is critical on so many different levels:
1) If you don’t know the amount of power that you are using then it is easy to overload the circuit and possibly bring down some of the equipment in the cabinet.

2) For three phase loads it is critical for load balancing and efficiency.
3) In today’s market where power costs are going up, power availability is going down and in some cases our customers cannot get enough power you need to understand how much power you are using and how changes within your facility affect this. This information is also used for efficiency calculations like the PUE and DCiE metrics from The Green Grid. To identify comatose or zombie servers that can be shut down or possibly virtualized. For power capacity planning (where do I have the power to install a new device.)

What percentage of your customers requires remote power capability as a feature?

Switched products where you can turn devices on or off is our biggest selling products.

Do you see any increase with customers dealing with support issues when there are problems with a server?

Facilities today have much smaller staffs and must use their resources wisely to be competitive in today’s market. I am not sure if the issues are going up but the ability to resolve these issues as fast as possible and move onto the next task is required.

Are you finding an increase in requests for consolidated remote access for power, kvm, console and serial?

Since we don’t actively sell these products we don’t see a lot of these requests. We do see a desire in customers to want to go to one central location and manage a number of devices. For servers it is our combined solution. If it is just the PDU’s then they use our Sentry Power Manager product.

What can we expect to see from Server Tech in the future?

Continued innovation, a number of 415 V products for North America and expansion of the device level power monitoring solutions

Thanks Calvin!

To contact or learn more about
Server Tech – visit their website>>

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ideas that work - a remote KVM strategy for any size organization

When we first promoted the concept of upgrading an installed analog KVM switch to an IP switch by simply adding an IP gateway, I thought this strategy was perfect for small and medium size companies that don’t have IT budgets of enterprise organizations. But in this economy I am finding this approach is valid for Fortune 500 companies as well.

We are working with a globally recognized company on their US datacenter consolidation plans. They have to implement an IP KVM solution to fit their support strategy of following the sun. We originally proposed our Smart multi-user IP KVM switches. The solution fit their needs until they said, sounds great but we can’t afford anything close to that. We quickly changed gears and told them for about 1/10th the cost they can get remote KVM functionality by adding a Minicom IP gateway to their installed base of dozens of working analog switches. This was the perfect compromise of the real functionality they need and cost.

Sure the sale is a fraction of the original proposal but it is a sale not a proposal that will be delayed quarter after quarter due to a shrinking budget. The customer had to sacrifice on some features they wanted but they have the remote KVM access to the servers in their new datacenters that was not within reach with a new digital KVM installation. This might be the answer for your remote access needs or your customers.

If you would like to discuss a solution for adding remote KVM access to your servers contact Rami Sasson or a Minicom technical expert at

Rami Sasson, VP Sales at Minicom authored this blog post:

Related Material:
White Paper: Real Needs - Add-on Technology that maximizes your IT installed base
Case Study: Government Agency ( & PX)
Webcast: Achieving Remote Server KVM Access to your data center (22 min)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

42U’s Interactive Data Center Efficiency Calculator

Last week, our partner 42U released a free Data Center Efficiency Calculator for IT Professionals and C-level management that shows short term and long term savings that can be achieved with improving the energy efficiency in their data center.
This tool is excellent!

From 42U’s press release:

“While “greening” the data center is good for the environment and good for the bottom line, few resources provide the business case to begin an efficiency program. In response, 42U, a leader in data center efficiency solutions and services, has premiered a free, interactive Data Center Energy Savings Calculator to help data center managers quantify the energy, cost, and CO2 savings possible through efficiency efforts.

The tool uses the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric as the basis for its calculation. After users insert their current PUE, goal PUE, electricity cost, and IT load, the calculator projects savings over a one, five, and ten year period—figures which help data center professionals determine the return on investment of their efficiency improvements.”

Go to the 42U Data Center Efficiency Calculator to get started>>

On the same page, they also give a great overview on data center energy consumption.

Related Material:
Webcast: Minicom’s Real Needs™ Value Proposition (22 minutes)
White Paper: How to Achieve Cost-Efficient Data Center Growth
Case Study: uses global centralized management system

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

AccessIT Provides Single Sign-on Remote Access to VMware Virtual Machines

Official Press Release:

Minicom Advanced Systems, a leading developer of IT & KVM remote access solutions for the server room and datacenter announces that AccessIT - its open platform access management solution for corporate IT - supports “one-click” remote access to VMware virtual servers.

“One of the challenges of IT in growing SMBs today is integrating new technologies like VMware virtualization into an installed base of physical servers” says Eran Kessel, VP marketing for Minicom. “This new heterogeneous and sometimes geographically distributed IT environment calls for a solution that simplifies daily routines and keeps the IT staff just-a-click-away from all IT assets in the organization, regardless of their device type or access protocol used. AccessIT is a secure, one-stop web based solution that organizes the remote access “mess” and unifies the workload of IT staff, wherever they are at any given moment”.

AccessIT is targeted at organizations with a minimum number of IT staff that maintains and operate up to 250 IT assets (servers, virtual servers and network devices). AccessIT consolidates all in/out-of-band services thus providing highly secure, web based, on-demand remote access at all times. Its open architecture prevents the dreaded vendor lock-in by supporting seamless integration of 3rd party serial, power and KVM switches and devices. Other supported Access Services are RDP, VNC, SSH, Telnet, HP iLO, web access and custom applications.

Minicom is a member of the VMware TAP program and has its management systems listed in the TAP Partner Products Catalog. Visit the VMware partner website at

Learn more about AccessIT and Minicom:
Download the free version of AccessIT to test in your own server room (Limited to 3 users,10 targets & 3 KVM IP devices) or watch the online tutorial of our enterprise version ( II). Request a guided tour with an expert or interact with the online live product test drive

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Webinar: Building upon your Legacy Data Center Infrastructure

Webinar Invitation:
Building upon your Legacy Data Center Infrastructure – Do More With Less
Date: Thursday, July 23 at 2:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM PST
Length: 60 minutes

Speakers: Mike Tresh (Wright Line) & David Zucker (Minicom)

The subject of this informative webinar is 'doing more with less'. Both Wright Line and Minicom offer solutions that enable data center professionals to add-on important functionality to their existing KVM switches and IT enclosures.

Mike Tresh
Director, Data Center Marketing
Wright Line

From Wright Line learn how to:

  • Do more with less in a smaller data center footprint with increasing high-density IT loads
  • More effectively and efficiently utilize existing physical infrastructure and cooling capacity
  • Eliminate "stranded" physical, electrical or mechanical capacity
  • Convert existing enclosures to more effectively capture and direct hot exhaust air back to precision cooling units
  • Eliminate the incremental capital expense associated with having to add more CRAC units or other supplemental cooling
David Zucker
Director of Business Development

  • Integrate new technology that is essential to the growth of the business in times of recession
  • Create a management strategy that will increase your IT staff's efficiency using many of the resources you already have in place
  • Upgrade or transition any analog KVM switch into an IP KVM, quicker, with less training and do it for less cost than you would ever think
  • Add Remote KVM access capability on a tight budget

Related Material
White Paper: Real Needs - Protect your IT investment with KVM IP Management
Press Release: Minicom Updates IP based KVM product lines
Case Study: Government Data Center - Simultaneous non-blocking multi-user server access

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sneak Peak: Power On Cable Gets a Good Start

Last month Asher Bazak, Assistant Project Manager at Minicom went to the Industrial Market Technology 2000 event in Tel Aviv, Israel. He met up with some ex-colleagues that sell environmental equipment to the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Israel.
At the show he brought a few prototypes including the soon to be released Minicom POC. (The Minicom POC is “Power on Cable” - a remote power control device) Asher hooked it up to a laptop via HyperTerminal and played around with shutting down and powering on the PC that was connected for the exhibit.

Asher says “they really liked the idea that you could work with open RS232 protocol. They felt that the perfect markets for this product are the industrial companies controlling power of ac and servers. It’s also a perfect fit for environmental units and fits into their green initiative plans as well as saving money and conserving energy, time & workers.”

In addition he said that “one thing that they really liked was that the POC is compatible with most IP serial devices – avoiding vendor lock-in.”

The POC will soon join Minicom's other remote access products and will be capable of being managed using both AccessIT and II centralized access management solutions.

Watch this space for the POC release or find out more right now - contact a Minicom Rep in your area

Related Material:
White Paper: Remote KVM access - Planning your Remote KVM strategy
Webcast: The ABC's of Remote Management
Product Demos: IP Products Online Test Drive

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Managed Service Providers Surveyed

Of all our products that are requested from Managed Service Providers, our KVM IP Gateway PX tops the list. This said the results from a survey of MSP’s done by SMB Nation were something I was waiting for.

Take a look at Harry Brelsford’s Blog SMB Dude for the survey results. Some of the questions asked were:
  • What type of managed services are you offering most today?
  • Where do you see the most opportunity to build your managed services portfolio?
  • How much revenue have you generated from your managed services business?

The results from the survey give some interesting insights to the MSP market.

Related Material:
Podcast: PX for the managed service provider (3 min)
PX Interactive Online Product Demo
White Paper: Remote Support Using KVM IP Technology

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New Poll: What Hardware Based Remote Access Do You Use?

Please take our latest poll on LinkedIn.

Click on image and you will go directly there, or leave your answer in the comments here.

Thanks for taking a minute to participate.

Not a member of the Minicom LinkedIn Group yet? Sign up today!