Thursday, October 29, 2009

Turning Up the Heat on Data Centers

Keeping data centers at the right temperature is a continual challenge. The Data Center Journal’s article “Chill Pill for Hot Data” talks about a system which claims to have gotten the balance just right. How did they do it? According to the article:

“The research team merely wrote software to connect the gap between management systems that otherwise run separately for IT and facilities management. Traditionally speaking, companies have otherwise kept both these realms separate. And now the team has connected up these systems resulting in huge savings.”

Definitely intriguing, especially the bit about big savings, with the projection that most data centers will see ROI within a year.

Does the article’s claim that at least 90% of data centers maintain a temperature that is five degrees cooler than necessary ring true, in your experience?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Luxury of Organization

It is inspiration, well written, and logical: How to Keep Networked Applications Humming During Organizational Change outlines exactly what you need to do to get a complete picture of your network application’s status.


In the ideal world, IT managers would have the time and resources to implement every one of these steps during organizational change.

In real life – not so realistic. The systematic steps presented here would be a luxury to implement during calm periods. The chances of being able to follow this checklist during turbulent times are slim to none, unless you work for a company with time, money, and resources to burn.


Can you use this as a “cheat sheet” and extrapolate the bare bones for your needs? Do these ambitious plans cause you to become overwhelmed to the point where they have no value at all?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cool Pictures of Sophisticated Data Center Technology

This slideshow about secrets of successful data centers is worth seeing for the pictures alone.

Who wouldn’t want to check out pictures of a data center on fire (slide 5) or the beauty of stacked blade servers (slide 15)?

Monday, October 26, 2009

PTS Data Center Solutions, Peter Sacco Interview

Recently I had a chance to Interview Peter Sacco, President of PTS Data Center Solutions, Inc. Founded in 1998, PTS is a data center consulting, engineering, & construction firm as well as turnkey solutions provider. They offer a broad range of project experience in designing data centers, computer rooms, and technical spaces. PTS employs industry best practices in integrating proven, ‘best-of-breed’, critical infrastructure technologies that result in always available, scalable, redundant, fault-tolerant, manageable, and maintainable mission critical environments.


Please share a little about PTS for our readers that are not familiar with you yet:

[Peter Sacco] From our corporate headquarters in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, and our office in Orange County, California,
PTS works to fulfill our mission of creating satisfied customers by emphasizing pre-design & planning services to provide the optimal solution to meet our clients’ needs and result in an early & accurate alignment between scope, schedule, and budget.

How does PTS differentiate itself from other data center solution providers?

[Peter Sacco] We have an expert staff of industry leading consulting and engineering professionals, a high ROI from fast turnaround, decreased number of vendors, and superior quality of workmanship. We make use of best practices & proven technologies to deliver our solutions in a predictable manner. We’ve also made strategic alliances with best-in-class technology firms.

What services does PTS offer?

[Peter Sacco] PTS is uniquely qualified to provide a turnkey solution for projects from conception through implementation. Our services include:
1. Planning & Feasibility Consulting(Surveying, Planning, Site Assessments, Financial Analysis, Conceptual Design, and Project Cost Estimating)
2. Facility & Support Infrastructure Design & Engineering(Architectural, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Structural, Controls, Security, Structured Cabling, Design Documents, Written Specifications, Forensic Analysis)
3. Construction & Project Management(Design/Build or Bid & Specification)
4. IT Infrastructure Design & Implementation(LAN/WAN, Network Security, Servers & Storage Systems, Wireless, A/V, Surveillance)
5. Monitoring(IT & Support Infrastructure Solutions)
6. Maintenance (Support Infrastructure Start-up, Preventative Maintenance, and Unscheduled Services)

What is your target market?

[Peter Sacco] IT personnel of medium business (>500 people), although we do a fair amount of large enterprise work as well, and on occasion work for small companies.

What is the most challenging project you worked on?

[Peter Sacco] Every project has its own unique set of challenges, but that is what allows PTS to shine. While it is important to have the right staff with the right skill sets, just as important was finding staff that shares the same culture of problem solving, acting with a sense of urgency, and client satisfaction is what clients come to appreciate about PTS most of all.

How is your company planning for the future?

[Peter Sacco] PTS has just in the last year expanded its horizons on three (3) fronts; (1) data center education and training, (2) new product development, and (3) IT services and solutions
1. We recently launched PTS’ Data Center Education Series (DCES) and are offering module-based, instructor lead, training in data center specific topics, such as Fundamentals of Power, Fundamentals of Cooling, Fundamentals of Data Cabling, and more in partnership with Global Knowledge Training (
www.globalknowledge.com)
2. At the start of 2009, PTS embarked on the development of its first product, software to track the maintaining of data center and computer room environments. We expect to go into beta testing in a few days with our Data Center Maintenance Management Software (DCMMS). We feel DCMMS will fill the empty gap in Data Center Management not presently being filled by other software service the space.
3. In October 2009, we expanded our IT services and solutions offerings by formally launching PTS Information Technology Solutions Group (ITSG).

On a more personal note, you are obviously a very busy person, what do you like to do most when you aren’t at work?

[Peter Sacco] My passion is football. I am very active in the community I live, Franklin Lakes, NJ (also where PTS HQ is!). I have been coaching junior football for over 15 years and don’t see stopping anytime soon.

Thank you Peter for taking the time out of your busy schedule!

If you want to find out more information about PTS, they are very active online:

Website: http://www.ptsdcs.com/
Blog: DataCenterDesign.blogspot.com
LinkedIn: www.LinkedIn.com/PTS
Facebook: facebook.ptsdcs.com
Twitter: twitter.com/PTSDataCenter

Net Neutrality: What is it All About?

Great article on NetworkWorld.com which explains:

• What net neutrality is
• What the FCC has agreed to do
• Who is for net neutrality
• Who is against net neutrality
• How net neutrality affects businesses
• How net neutrality affects carriers
• How net neutrality affects residential Internet users
• Which services would probably be affected the most

What do you think: Do we need net neutrality in order to stop Internet providers from charging high fees, or will net neutrality result in higher flat rates for services or paying by the byte for Internet traffic, as the Internet providers claim?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Synexx National Conference - Saul Mishaan Meets Resellers

video

Saul Mishaan, President of Minicom North America went to the Synnex 2009 National Conference earlier this month.

The Synnex National Conference is an expo promoting Synnex partners to their attending resellers. About 260 resellers were at the event this year. Saul represented Minicom with a presence in the Digital Signage Booth. He mostly met with resellers during the 3 hour event. The experience with Digital Signage ranged from extreme novice to well versed. Saul found it interesting that quite a few of the resellers he spoke to in the booth were more experienced and successful in KVM than Digital Signage.

It just goes to show you that Digital Signage’s roots are very much still attached to KVM – which is how Minicom got started. Are you surprised?

Thanks for the update Saul!

KVM Switches Enjoy Surge in Popularity in India

The number of KVM switches being used in India has grown significantly in recent times, due in large part to the government’s establishment of 27 new data centers, and the mandate that financial institutes have to have business continuity and disaster recovery solutions, as discussed in an article on CIOL.com.


Points mentioned in the article that are encouraging for companies like Minicom that sell KVM switches (among other things):

· Globally the market for KVM switches will exceed $1 billion by 2011, increasing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of approximately 9.1 percent (2006-2011).

· Research indicates that the trend toward IP KVM solutions will continue, accounting for over half of all KVM revenues by 2011

· With the changing trends and advancements in the technology, the customer base of KVM switches is likely to increase.


I would like to draw your attention to the conclusion of the article:


“Opportunities for SPs


Solution providers who are providing solutions in the data center domain have the opportunity to avail the benefits of KVM switches as they can offer the complete solution to the customers.
‘When a solution provider is selling racks, equipments for remote management and data center solutions, it makes sense for him to drive the KVM switches as well. This way, he can offer the complete solutions to the customers at one go and this would increase his profitability also,’ said Motwani from Raritan.
This kind of unified selling is something that other vendors have also been propounding for quite some time. Most of the data center specialists have already embraced this concept and offer KVM switches as part of the total solution they give to their clients.
But with the potential in the KVM industry, especially keeping in mind that this is one market that is expected to grow in the years to come, there is still space for the entry of more solution providers in this segment.”


There is a glaring omission here, which is the mention of Minicom’s Remote Access Management solutions.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Extra Server, anyone?

Unused Servers Cost Businesses $25B Annually: Study

The numbers here sounds pretty serious. One in six servers - about 4.7 million worldwide - is sitting idle, according to a global survey of IT managers.

Take a peek at your server room – does this sound right to you? Is this consistent with your experience?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

65,000 Time Warner Cable Customers Exposed to Remote Access Hack

Scary!

65,000 Time Warner Cable customers have been exposed to a remote access hack, as reported by wired.com. Blogger David Chen was helping a friend with the setting on his cable modem when he inadvertently realized there was a problem.

What does this kind of vulnerability mean? According to Chen:

“ ‘From within your own network, an intruder can eavesdrop on sensitive data being sent over the internet and even worse, they can manipulate the DNS address to point trusted sites to malicious servers to perform man-in-the-middle attacks,’ Chen wrote on his blog. ‘Someone skilled enough can possibly even modify and install a new firmware onto the router, which can then automatically scan and infect other routers automatically.’ "

The article does not mention any cases where users who were exposed had anyone tamper with their settings, which means that the threat was only that. While a serious potential problem, it is reassuring that either a)no hacker discovered the vulnerability b)no hacker cared enough to do anything about it if they did.

Ideally, any paid service should mandate the use off the highest level of encrypted remote access possible. If you want remote access solutions for your data center that you can trust, for example, there is no reason to worry with Minicom’s AccessIT. With SSL and high grade 256-bit AES encryption, you can sleep easily at night after watching cable TV.

Virtual Servers, Real Problems?

This article identifies the five biggest challenges of server virtualization as:

1. Network connections

2. Network storage

3. Sizing storage capacity

4. Back-up challenges

5. Application support

As companies dip their toes into the untested waters of virtualization, new issues arise as a result of the change to IT Infrastructures. Do articles like the one above, which outline challenges and provide solutions, make you eager to embrace new technologies like virtualization, or do they scare you off?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Virtual Web Event: Dealing With Data Centers In Tough Times

There are so many free online resources for small and medium businesses to learn from. I came across the next virtual event by InformationWeek and bMighty that looks like it will be very informative:

bMighty and InformationWeek SMB present the latest in our ongoing series of
Virtual Events: Data Centers For Growing Companies -- dedicated to helping small and midsize companies deal with data centers in tough times.

This virtual event is here to help with InformationWeek and bMighty editors, industry experts, and real IT folks sharing a unique mix of battle-tested best practices, experience-earned tips from the trenches, and new ideas and innovations to help you do more with less.
Taking place on Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Register here

Service Providers Using Skype

Two recent articles by Jon Arnold, Principal, J Arnold & Associates on TMCnet.com cover some good points on how Skype can be used by Service Providers.

Take a look at both articles:

Why Skype Is Good News for Service Providers (Part 1)

Why Skype is Good News for Service Providers, Part 2

We use Skype to communicate to our offices around the world as well as customers. Our technical support have also used Skype to conduct an online IP product demo – so we know how useful this free service can be.

How does your company use Skype?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Emarson on The Cutting Edge

Our official representative in India, Emarson IT Solutions recently spoke at "The Cutting Edge", an IT Seminar organized by the Indian Army.

Here is the
press release from Silicon India regarding the event:



New Delhi: Emarson IT Solutions, a digital signage provider is exploring opportunities of providing digital signage for the Indian Army. Prateek Jaswant, CEO and Co-founder of Emarson said, "This is a time where every industry is adapting new technologies, so should the Indian Army and I feel proud that we could service our army officials."

Jaswant was speaking at an IT seminar called 'The Cutting Edge' organized by the Indian Army at Mamun, near Pathankot. The seminar which is taking place on 12th and 13th October will see the participation of a large number of senior officers from Corps of Signals as well as officers from all the arms and services.

The seminar is aimed at providing a platform for deliberate and structured user-industry interaction to explore viable technologies for designing robust communications and IT solutions for the Indian Army.During his session with the army officials Jaswant introduced them to digital signage and digital keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) switches technology. He explained them on how to choose, fix or maintain servers with KVM switches from a single station at any given time.

Also, in regard to digital signage he explained that it is a dynamic media as opposed to static billboards and posters and how it has emerged as a powerful tool for instructing, informing and disseminating information to the masses. Apart from Emarson, other companies such as Barco, Ericsson, Softel Solutions, HCL Infosystems and Cisco also addressed various aspects in the IT segment.


*****
About Emarson:
Emarson IT Solutions is a 12 year old company with expertise in enterprise network integration, security, storage, KVM and digital signage solutions. They have project centers in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida with a history of prestigious networks installed throughout India.

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Related Material:
Press Release:
Emarson named official representatives in India
Case Study:
Finance Ministry of Tibet – DX System Installation
Webinar:
ABC’s of Remote Management (27 minutes)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Webinar Invitation: Technology Tips for High-Performance Environments

Wright Line and Minicom Advanced Systems will be co-hosting a free webinar on quick and easy-to-implement technology ideas that drive team collaboration, increase overall department productivity and maximize space within 911/Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs).

The webinar will take place online on Wednesday, October 14 at 2:00 PM EDT.

Learn about:
* Local versus remote management of technology platforms - identifying the opportunities to centralize IT operations with the use of KVM technology and scalable network and server rack configurations

* Proper space planning that can help to mitigate risks when installing IT/network equipment at the workstation level instead of storing all equipment in a centralized data center

* How to provide call-takers, dispatchers and supervisors with simultaneous access to all CAD, radio and phone servers in the call center and how supervisors can effectively "take-over" an operator's computer - without software

* How to increase IT staff efficiency while enabling call-takers and dispatchers to be less distracted by tech concerns

* How to provide effective monitor mounting capabilities and techniques, supply keyboard, video and mouse consolidation opportunities and address technology airflow management requirements

Speakers will be Minicom's David Zucker, Director of Business Development, and Wright Line's Brad Lynch, Business Unit Leader, Technical Environments.

About Wright Line
Wright Line, a global leader in the design and manufacture of consoles, enclosures, office and other specialty workspace solutions for technology-intensive environments, has been serving the data center, government office, call center, analytical and electronic laboratory and high-tech manufacturing environments for 75 years. The company is headquartered in Worcester, MA and can be contacted by email at info(at)wrightline(dot)com or by phone, 800.225.7348.

The webinar will take place online on Wednesday, October 14 at 2:00 PM EDT.

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Related Material: