Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Cutting Back on Data Center Equipment Costs

In the November 19 issue of PROCESSOR, Carmi Levy examines how cost-conscious IT directors, CIOs, and CFOs are saving money by turning to the “gray market” to buy name-brand goods through nontraditional channels. The downside to cutting costs in this manner is that it “can impact warranty coverage, parts availability, and service turnaround and must be calculated into the ROI to ensure the cost savings justify these potential drawbacks.”

Key points of the article include:

• Choose usage scenarios carefully. Deploy gray market-sourced hardware in non-front-line applications such as testing and backup, where outages have less impact on business operations.
• Calculate energy costs. New hardware is typically more efficient than used equipment. Project lifetime power and cooling costs to arrive at realistic TCO figures.
• Know your vendor. Work only with trusted partners who own their quality control processes and stand behind their products.

Our team is sensitive to the budgetary needs of IT decision makers. Beyond shopping around for focused purchases of data center equipment, we encourage organizations to look for ways to get the greatest mileage out of existing equipment. To streamline this process, we’ve developed an integrated, best-in-class solution that enables more effective data center management and maintenance of all support infrastructure.

PTS’ Data Center Maintenance Management Software solution (DCMMS) is a turnkey, web-based application which helps organizations increase support infrastructure asset life, track maintenance details, predict and prevent equipment failures, improve labor productivity, reduce equipment downtime, minimize investment in inventory, and lower the total cost of data center maintenance.

This new class of data center management software is available for purchase or as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. The cost of the product is based upon the size of assets under management and is tiered to support large-scale data center management operations. For details, please visit

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Cyber Monday Highlights Efficiency Issues

While consumers may save energy by shopping from home instead of driving from store to store, data center operators seem to be burning the candle at both ends. In the article, “Is Cyber Monday Really Energy Efficient?,” Michael Kanellos at Greentech reports:

In an average year, the top 40 retailers spend an estimated $110 million more on energy during than they should in preparing for Cyber Monday, the first workday after Thanksgiving that's been enshrined as the start of the online holiday shopping season, according to data center efficiency experts at Sentilla.

This leads to a significant increase in carbon-dioxide emissions and billions of dollars wasted on operations and capital costs. In fact, Greentech reports that many companies “go on buying binges months before and eventually install 30 percent more equipment than they need” for the holiday shopping season.

Energy efficiency is, perhaps, second only to performance when deciding upon data center facility and network design. The high cost of power alone can take a dramatic chunk out of seasonal profits. Furthermore, devices that consume more power require more cooling which not only further increases energy costs but impacts the physical design of the data center. The market has been flooded with various facility and product design techniques promising energy efficiency savings. To find out which specific strategies yield the best results, download a free copy of our newest white paper, “Impact of IT Upgrades on Energy Usage and Operational Costs” [PDF].

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Impact of IT Upgrades on Energy Usage and Operational Costs

With energy costs skyrocketing, it is becoming increasingly important that data center operators incorporate energy efficiency savings without sacrificing performance. In answer, the market has been flooded with various facility and product design techniques promising energy efficiency savings. But how well do they actually work?

To find out, our team at PTS upgraded the IT systems within our own facility and operations in order to validate the energy efficiency savings estimates.

Our first step was to create a baseline to measure the IT performance, capacity, and energy consumption. Next, we redesigned our IT systems with the goal of reducing energy consumption. We also wanted to increase the capacity without sacrificing performance. Lastly, we measured results to assess confirmation of the expectations.

In the end, we consolidated our sever footprint by 60% and reduced IT energy consumption by 24%, yielding a 26% drop in facility power consumption.

Our conclusion is that these results are not anecdotal in that the energy savings realized as a result of this study are completely scalable with larger, more complex data center and computer room facilities. Additionally, these energy savings may be realized without sacrificing IT performance and systems availability, while improving overall systems capacity.

To find out the details of our systems redesign and what specific strategies yield the best results, read our complete white paper “Impact of IT Upgrades on Energy Usage and Operational Costs” [PDF].

Friday, October 01, 2010

Data Center Events for October 2010

Here’s a look at the data center industry events that our team will be attending in October.

Data Center World
October 3-6, 2010

Viva Las Vegas! PTS Data Center Solutions will be presenting and exhibiting at the Fall 2010 Data Center World Event at the Mirage Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our representatives will take part in the “Upgrade or Build: You Decide” roundtable discussion, as well as speak in three sessions during the event:

• Achieve Higher Availability with an Effective Plan for Data Center Maintenance
• Data Center Builds and Expansions: From Concept to Completion
• Data Center Maintenance Management Software - Case Study Examples of Improved Maintenance Management

Please visit us at booth #207 and learn more about the successful Data Center Maintenance Management Software (DCMMS) Solution.

Interop New York
October 20-21, 2010

Our team is also exhibiting at the Fall Interop conference and tradeshow at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. The event runs from October 18-22 with the tradeshow open October 20-21. This year’s conference features the Enterprise Cloud Summit: 2 days devoted to cloud computing: standards, infrastructure decisions and economics to transform your IT organization.

PTS partner Enterasys Networks is the lead Interop Network (show network) provider and is providing personal tours of the network. Make sure you visit us at booth #756 across from the interoperability and show network area for a tour.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Data Center Design News

Our data center design experts are often asked to share insights with leading industry publications. Here is a sampling of our recent appearances:

Upgrading Building Wiring To Support Gigabit & Higher
Use The Newest Technologies & Follow Latest Standards
PROCESSOR, Vol.32 Issue 18

Cabling projects are so disruptive and chaotic, most companies wait until they expand existing facilities or move to a new one before replacing cabling. Cabling expert Andrew Graham shares his thoughts on Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and the need for faster networks and consequent wiring upgrades.

Building a Data Center: Tips for a Smooth Process
Data Center Post, August 27, 2010

Michael Petrino, vice president at PTS Data Center Solutions, offers tips for selecting a professional services firm, coordinating internal and external data center design teams, and ensuring a smooth transition during the data center build process.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Data Center Events Schedule

Summer is quickly coming to an end and we’re gearing up for a busy fall. Before you head out for the Labor Day weekend, here’s a recap of our upcoming events schedule for the month of September.

September 14-15, 2010 – 7x24 Exchange Borgata Event
PTS is pleased to participate in the 7x24 Exchange Delaware Valley Chapter’s Annual Fall Conference. The event is in Atlantic City at the Borgata and will include a number of presentations and panel discussions related to sustainable data center design, including data center performance measurement, EPA updates, the “Buy vs. Build” debate, etc. Click here for more info.

September 15, 2010 – QuikEnvision 3rd Annual Technology Conference
PTS is pleased to sponsor QuikEnvision 2010, the 3rd Annual Technology Conference presented by Quality Technology Solutions. The event is in New York City and presents strategies for delivering business value with Information Technology. Attending this conference will help you to identify IT strategies and resources that will help your business save money, improve service and create competitive advantages. Click here for more info.

September 22, 2010 – “Beef Up Your Data Protection” Seminar
RSVP today to join PTS Data Center Solutions, Compellent and ExaGrid Systems, along with your fellow IT and data center operations peers for a complimentary lunch seminar on Wednesday, September 22nd at 11:30 a.m. at Ruth's Chris Steak House in New York City. Entitled “Beef Up Your Data Protection”, the seminar will focus upon PTS Data Center Consolidation Consulting, Compellent Storage Area Networking, and ExaGrid Disk Backup. All attendees will be entered in a raffle for a free Apple iPad. Click here for more info.

Coming up in October, PTS will be working with manufacturer partner, Enterasys, during the Interop NY event. Our team will also be presenting and exhibiting at the Fall 2010 Data Center World Event in Las Vegas. Please visit us at booth #207 and experience our new Data Center Maintenance Management Software (DCMMS) solution. We hope you’ll join us.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Storage & Data Deduplication

PTS continues to build upon our Storage & Data Protection Consulting Services aimed at providing the right storage solution for our client's needs. Therefore, the IT-side of this month's Solutions Showcase provides an overview of our newest storage and data deduplication solutions.

Compellent Fluid Data Storage solutions and ExaGrid Systems Disk-Based Backup with Dedeplication solutions add additional depth to the PTS storage portfolio.

Compellent Fluid Data Storage

With a powerful data movement engine, intelligent software applications, and an open, agile hardware platform, Fluid Data storage is an enterprise-class solution which actively and intelligently manages data at a more granular level to cut cost, time, and risk.

Fluid Data storage dynamically moves enterprise data to the optimal tier based on actual use. The most active blocks reside on high-performance SSD, Fibre Channel, or SAS drives, while infrequently accessed data migrates to lower-cost, high-capacity SAS or SATA drives. The result is network storage that's always in tune with application needs, plus overall storage costs cut by up to 80%

The Fluid Data storage intelligent software applications enables enterprises of all sizes to move beyond simply storing data to actively, intelligently managing data. Powerful network storage software with built-in intelligence and automation optimizes the provisioning, placement and protection of data throughout its lifecycle.

Unlike network storage systems that require organizations to rip and replace hardware as business needs change, Compellent storage uses standards-based hardware and supports new technologies on a single, modular platform. Users can mix and match drive technologies such as SSD, FC, SAS and SATA, and utilize a range of interconnects - from FC to FCOE and iSCSI to 10GbE. Plus, fully redundant hardware components and advanced failover features ensure no single point of failure for high enterprise data availability.

To learn more about Fluid Data Storage, Click Here.

ExaGrid Systems Disk-Based Backup with Deduplication

ExaGrid's EX Series disk-based backup with deduplication revolutionizes how organizations backup and protect their data. By leveraging your current backup application and replacing tape in your nightly backup process, ExaGrid's simple, turnkey appliance can:
  • Reduce the disk space required by at least 10:1, and up to 50:1
  • Shorten your backup window by 30-90%, ensuring all of your data is fully protected
  • Improve your disaster recovery plan through off-site disk-based retention of your data
  • Reduce the amount of time your IT staff spends on managing backups
  • Scale easily and cost-effectively with your data growth
  • Fully protect your virtualized environment
  • Reduce other costs associated with tape-based backup

The six core ExaGrid disk-based backup appliances include GRID computing software which allows them to virtualize into one another when plugged into a switch. As a result, any of the six appliance models can be mixed and matched into a single GRID system with full backup capacities up to 100TB (6 PB logical). Once virtualized, they appear as a single pool of long-term capacity. Capacity load balancing of all data across servers is automatic, and multiple GRID systems can be combined for additional capacity. Even though data is load-balanced, deduplication occurs across the systems so that data migration does not cause a loss of effectiveness in deduplication.

ExaGrid's unique approach to scalability provides the following benefits:
  • Performance is maintained as your data grows - each additional ExaGrid server added to a system provides disk, processor, memory and GigE
  • Plug and play expansion - adding an additional ExaGrid server is as simple as plugging it in and letting ExaGrid's automatic virtualized GRID software do the rest
  • Cost-Effective and Flexible Solution with No "Forklift" Upgrades - no need to over-buy storage capacity up front - modular systems are easily combined in a virtualized GRID to smoothly scale up for larger capacities as needed with no painful "forklift" upgrades.
  • Capacity utilization is load-balanced across servers - as a single server reaches full utilization, it can leverage space available on other servers in the GRID

To learn more about the ExaGrid EX Series, Click Here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

PTS Data Center Solutions Expands its IT Solutions Portfolio with Compellent Fluid Data Storage and ExaGrid Systems Disk-Based Backup Solutions

PTS Data Center Solutions has launched a strategic distribution relationship with Compellent Technologies and ExaGrid Systems. The relationship includes the full breadth of products from both manufacturers targeted for midsized enterprises.

As a data center consulting and turn-key solutions provider, PTS provides integrated data center facility and IT technical expertise for clients. With a proven process for understanding and addressing client needs, as well as integrated facilities and IT experience & expertise, PTS has a unique vantage point for executing data center, computer room, and network operations center projects. PTS understands the impact IT architecture and network design approaches have on the underlying facility layer in terms of power, cooling, and space considerations and seeks out best-of-breed IT solutions that reduce facility load requirements.

"PTS is often approached by clients requesting support to improve data center efficiencies through energy efficiency analysis, computational fluid dynamic modeling, and virtualization assessments. By expanding our portfolio of storage, backup, and data deduplication solutions with two leading providers in Compellent and ExaGrid Systems, we are providing leading edge solutions with proven track records. Compellent's block-level storage management offers a more granular approach to automatically and actively manage data resulting in reduced data center costs, footprint, and energy consumption. ExaGrid System's scalable disk-based backup solutions reduce the total amount of disk space needed through backup compression and deduplication. Together with PTS' consulting services, we are able to significantly reduce overall data center operational expenses," said PTS President, Peter Sacco.

Compellent's Fluid Data architecture enables superior utilization and efficiency while its unified storage with zNAS offers a single user interface to streamline management of heterogeneous Unix, Linux and Windows file and block data. The Fluid Data architecture increases storage efficiency and utilization by automatically tiering file storage at the block-level, intelligently thin provisioning storage for unstructured data, and delivering rapid data recovery and thin replication. Integrated SAN and NAS management simplifies planning, provisioning and recovery of virtual servers in VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, and Oracle environments.

The ExaGrid Disk-based Backup System is a turnkey, plug-and-play solution that works with existing backup applications and enables faster and more reliable backups and restores. Customers report that backup time is reduced by 30 to 90 percent over traditional tape backup. ExaGrid's patented byte-level data deduplication technology and most recent backup compression, coupled with high-quality SATA storage, reduces the amount of disk space needed by a range of 10:1 to as high as 50:1, or more, resulting in a price that's often less than traditional tape-based backup.

About PTS Data Center Solutions
Experts for Your Always Available Data Center

PTS Data Center Solutions specializes in the business strategy, planning, designing, engineering, constructing, commissioning, implementing, maintaining, and managing of data center and computer room environments from both the facility and IT perspectives.

Founded in 1998, PTS is a consulting, design/engineering, and construction firm providing turnkey solutions, and offering a broad range of data center, computer room, and technical space project experience. 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.

In every engagement, PTS applies a disciplined, consultative approach to systematically survey and assess the situation and then develop effective plans for seizing opportunities and overcoming obstacles. And, PTS offers a full complement of services—from business strategy and planning to facilities engineering to IT design and implementation—to help transform those plans into reality.

For more information and news, visit the PTS website at

About Compellent

Compellent Technologies (NYSE: CML) provides Fluid Data storage that automates the movement and management of data at a granular level, enabling organizations to constantly adapt to change, slash costs and secure information against downtime and disaster. This patented, built-in storage intelligence easily delivers significant efficiency, scalability and flexibility. With an all-channel sales network in 35 countries, Compellent is one of the fastest growing enterprise storage companies in the world.

For more information, visit the Compellent website at

About ExaGrid Systems

ExaGrid Systems offers the only disk-based backup appliance with data deduplication purpose-built for backup that leverages a unique architecture optimized for performance, scalability and price. The combination of post-process deduplication, most recent backup cache, and GRID scalability enables IT departments to achieve the shortest backup window and the fastest, most reliable restores, tape copy, and disaster recovery without performance degradation or forklift upgrades as data grows. With offices and distribution worldwide, ExaGrid has more than 2,400 systems installed at 600 customers, and more than 170 published customer success stories.

For more information, visit the ExaGrid website at

# # #

Contact Information:

Larry Davis
PTS Data Center Solutions
201-337-3833 ext. 123

Liem Nguyen
Compellent Technologies

Bill Hobbib
ExaGrid Systems
508-898-2872 ext. 286

Thursday, July 08, 2010

To Co-Lo or Not To Co-Lo?

I'm interested in hearing how organizations have come to the conclusion that this was their best alternative to expanding data center capacity?

We have seen some organizations dive into Co-Lo facilities because the industry is growing so they assume it is the right thing to do or they think it will be more cost effective before anyone has really analyzed the cost implications. I think it is critical for an organization to analyze all of the suitable approaches to their need of expanding data center capacity such as; upgrading existing facilities, Co-Location, building new or building a scalable Data Center Shelter that can be leased to provide tax benefits while the lease payments may be close to what you’d pay for suitable Co-Lo space.

First of all, what is driving your interest in Co-Location is it the costs of running your own facility? Or one of these issues:

• Have you outgrown your own facility?
• Is your facility unable to handle new higher density infrastructure?
• Are you looking to Co-Locate to have access to better carriers or lower your network latency to your business partners?
• Does your own organization lack the expertise to manage IT facilities?
• Is your organization just looking to get away from operating & managing IT facilities so you can focus on your core business?
• Is it for a new application such as DR or business continuity that is requiring a secondary site?

Next lets assume you have determined that Co-Location is right for your organization & application, there are now 1,000’s of Co-Location facilities, what one is right for your organization and your application? Sure you can spend a lot of time touring facilities & trying to find one that meets your availability, density, accessibility, service, budget, expansion & growth objectives, but what will you base your decision on and how long will your process take? Is there a need for an expert who has rated 100’s of Co-Lo facilities in all of the key areas and attributes within those areas? I think it is important for an organization to define their design criteria as well as assess their load, density and growth projections before the organization takes a step into any Co-Lo space for a tour. An ogranization can then quickly narrow its search from 100’s of suitable Co-Lo’s to the few that warrant further consideration thus saving time, effort & budget. Also, by having a detailed design criteria an organization is now in a better position to negotiate a contract and Service Level Agreement that is tipped in their favor and make comparisons on one Co-Lo vs another.

Curious to hear how others have made decisions to Co-Lo and what process they initiated to make their site selection? I'd like to hear both positive & negative experiences as well as where you thought your processes could have been improved?

Monday, June 21, 2010

AFCOM Data Center World Fall 2010

PTS Data Center Solutions will be presenting and exhibiting at the Fall 2010 Data Center World Event in Las Vegas, Nevada during October 3-6. Please visit us at booth #207 and experience our new Data Center Maintenance Management Software (DCMMS) Solution.

PTS Data Center Solutions' presentations will include:

Data Center Management Track

Achieve Higher Availability with an Effective Plan for Data Center Maintenance

: Is preventative maintenance the only proactive component of your maintenance program? Discover tools and methods that will allow your organization to take best practice actions based on monitored and reported conditions to achieve higher availability in your data center.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand best practices to achieve higher availability in the data center.
  • Understand tools available for proactive maintenance of data center assets.

Facilities/Management Track

Data Center Builds and Expansions: From Concept to Completion

Description: Before you begin expanding an existing data center or building a new one, it is necessary to understand the design, engineering and construction process for these types of projects. Data center managers should put a tremendous effort on the planning and pre-design phase, forming a clear vision of the outcome of the project, and use this vision against which to benchmark progress. This session will cover the entire process – from concept to completion, and include success tips and pitfalls to avoid during a data center expansion or build.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand the complete data center project process needed to successfully complete a data center expansion or new build.
  • Understand the need to perform detailed pre-design analysis and planning when considering a data center build-out.
  • Be able to successfully plan a data center expansion or new build.

Roundtable Discussion

Upgrade or Build: You Decide

Description: Data Center Managers have several choices when it comes time to expand their data center footprint. This roundtable discussion will focus upon issues and opportunities related to upgrading a data center versus building new. What planning tools are available? What do you need to consider beyond financial impacts? Why is it sometimes more beneficial to upgrade and expand than to build new? What benefits arise from building new and migrating to a new facility?

Product Information Session

Data Center Maintenance Management Software – Case Study Examples of Improved Maintenance Management

Description: This presentation will discuss computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and present DCMMS, an innovative software application from PTS Data Center Solutions that was specifically designed for managing data center maintenance. The software was released in spring 2010 and the presentation will review, in case study format, current client use of the solution including live examples of client use, management of assets and parts, tracking of maintenance schedules, costs, recurring product problems and issues related to effective and efficient preventative maintenance management in the data center.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand how a data center manager can more effectively manage support infrastructure.
  • Learn about best-in-class solutions aimed specifically at managing the maintenance of all support infrastructure within the data center.

We hope to see you in Vegas this fall.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Alleviate Your IT Headaches

The June 4 issue of PROCESSOR magazine (Volume 32, Issue 12) takes a look at how consumer devices and tools are causing problems for IT. From technological solutions to corporate policies, the series of articles offers advice on managing and securing social networks, personal wireless access points, USB devices and other employee-owned devices. Check it out:

Social Networking Nuisances – by Holly Dolezalek - Social networking sites pose both technical threats and behavioral threats, but blocking social networking isn’t always the answer because many employees use these resources for business reasons.

When Wireless Goes Rogue – by Christian Perry - Personal wireless access points not only put employees at risk during company time but also can compromise company data, particularly when there is a bridged connection to the company network.

Headaches From USB Devices – by Bruce Gain - USB devices can potentially serve as a conduit for malware to infect the enterprise’s network or as a source for data leaks beyond the firewall. While it may seem appropriate to prohibit their use completely, taking such an absolute approach is impractical.

Troubles With Employee-Owned Devices – by Elizabeth Millard - Smartphones, cell phones, notebooks, and other devices change so often that they can create major challenges for IT departments. Make security the top issue when dealing with devices and creating policies about usage.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Design & Construction Network Networking Event, June 29 @ 6pm

PTS is sponsoring the upcoming Design & Construction Network Networking Event near Philadelphia, PA. The event will bring together many members of the local design and construction community.

RSVP online at

Additional Details:

When -
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (ET)

Where -
Fox & Hound Pub & Grille
160 N. Gulph Road
King Of Prussia, PA 19406

Who can attend? - Anyone that is a member of the Design and Construction Network on LinkedIn. If you know someone else that might want to join us at the Happy Hour please just send them this link ( and have them click "Join Group." Once they are a member they need to RSVP using the link above.

How much does it cost? - FREE! (Cash bar)

More than 100 people attended the last two DCN Philadelphia events and this next one is shaping up to be an even bigger success. Again, you can RSVP online at We hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PTS Education & White Papers

Looking to continue its tradition of providing content-rich educational materials for data center managers through its website, PTS has significantly upgraded its white paper section. As we continue to add our own industry-specific content through white paper development, presentations at numerous industry events, discussion threads on the PTS blog and through the LinkedIn Computer Room Design group, we strive to stay up-to-date on the latest facility- and IT-related trends.

To that end we have revamped our media library (registration required). Now you can find relevant educational papers by facility, IT or specific topics including: Consolidation, Cooling, Financial, General, Management, Network, Power, Safety, Security, Servers, Storage, and Virtualization. Interesting white papers to add to your reading list include:

Proper Sizing of IT Power & Cooling (by Green Grid). Between 2000 and 2006, energy requirements for data centers doubled, and they are on track to double again by 2011. In the same time period, typical per-rack heat densities went from 1 kW to 7 kW, and they are estimated to exceed 20 kW per rack by 2010. This places tremendous importance on a data center facility planner's ability to properly budget for future power and cooling infrastructure requirements. Today's energy costs and efficiency demands necessitate a more accurate method of determining those requirements. This white paper has been developed to introduce the reader to the many new and highly accurate software tools available for estimating power and cooling capacity requirements. Click here for the full white paper.

Server Consolidation and Containment With Virtual Infrastructure (by VMware). To meet the constant demand to deploy, maintain and grow a broad array of services and applications, , IT organizations must continually add new servers. However, as a consequence of purchasing more and more servers, organizations face a growing server sprawl presenting challenges that include: rising costs, poor return on investment, decreasing manageability, and reduced efficiency. Click here for the full white paper.

Increasing Data Center Efficiency with Server Power Measurements (by Intel). Intel IT defined methods for analyzing computing energy efficiency within our design computing environment, using measurements of actual server power consumption and utilization. We used these methods to identify trends and opportunities for improving data center efficiency, and to implement a pilot project that increased data center computing capacity. Click here for the full white paper.

Optimizing Power Distribution for High-Density Computing (by Eaton). Fueled by the rapid rise of technologies such as virtualization and blade servers, computing densities in today's data centers are climbing dramatically. As a result, server enclosures are requiring more power than ever before. The result of this is a new and demanding set of power distribution challenges. To meet the power requirements of their increasingly dense server racks, organizations are looking for power circuits and power distribution units (PDUs) that have adequate power capacity and make optimal use of panelboards, but don't drive such high densities that they are prohibitively expensive to cool. Click here for the full white paper.

Is Your IT Infrastructure Ready for Tomorrow? Preparing for a 10GbE Future (by David Reine, The Clipper Group). An IT infrastructure will be the key to the success of the enterprise data center in the years to come. Because of the poor utilization of existing single-core microprocessor servers, the IT staff of the typical data center has embarked on a journey of consolidation and virtualization to reduce server sprawl, simplify data center complexity, and reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the IT infrastructure. Click here for the full white paper.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Achieving a Dim Data Center

In my post, “Dark Data Centers: Dream or Reality?”, I discussed how dim data centers remain a sought-after solution for IT professionals and users, and an attainable design goal for most companies.

One of our readers requested examples of solutions which can help to achieve a dim data center. As such, here are some key things to consider:

1. Move supporting infrastructure (power and cooling) out of the computer room space. Doing so reduces the likelihood that people will need to have access to the most critical space and can accomplish their tasks (replace batteries on UPS, perform thermographic scanning, replace AC filters, etc.) outside of the critical environment.

2. Utilize appropriate remote IP and serial access tools to control servers and network devices, including virtual disk interface technologies such that media can be installed remotely.

3. Install remote monitoring hardware and software to provide remote ‘snapshots’ as well as trending of the power and environmental performance of the space.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Data Center Videos

Looking for online video of data center tours, product demos, tradeshow highlights, and more? Tech analyst Rich Miller of Data Center Knowledge has done a great job gathering some of the best data center videos on the web into one place: the Data Center Videos YouTube Channel.

There are nearly 60 videos uploaded to date, plus more to come. To give you a quick intro to the type of content you’ll see, here’s an embed of the most viewed data center video:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Get the Most Out of Your IT Assets

In “Extend the Life of Your IT Assets: Strategies to Keep Assets Running Strong”, Elizabeth Millard takes a look at techniques for extending the life of your critical IT assets while ensuring the highest level of system availability.

Key points include:
  • Focus on power and cooling efforts, because improper cooling can decrease the life of IT assets.
  • Look at SLAs to determine whether they’re meeting the needs of the data center.
  • Build in extra time for monitoring and planning to make lifecycle management a greater part of data center operations.

The article includes my thoughts on the topic, as well as insights from Kris Domich, principal consultant at Dimension Data, and Michael Sigourney, senior product specialist at AVTECH. Check it out in the latest issue of PROCESSOR magazine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Presentation on: “Creating & Implementing a Proactive Data Center Management Plan”

PTS will be presenting at the next 7x24 Exchange DelVal meeting @ Citizens Bank Park on 5/11, the only stadium in Philly that breeds champions. There are only 90 seats for this event so if you’re interested you should sign up quickly. /index.php?option=com_7x24&task=listEvents&Itemid=51

PTS Presentation Synopsis:
“Creating & Implementing a Proactive Data Center Management Plan”
If you asked six data center managers to define “infrastructure management”, you are likely to get six different answers. It is similar to the ancient story of the six blind men and the elephant. When each of the men approached the elephant, they came to the conclusion that the elephant was like a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan and a rope. Who was right and who was wrong? Just as in the case of the six data center managers, each blind man was right from his own perspective, but in the end all were wrong. Just as an elephant is more than the sum of its parts, a true solution for data center managers is more than the sum of the various tool sets that fall under the area of infrastructure management. This presentation will discuss the various tool sets that make up infrastructure management and what organizations should think about in regards to Data Center Management to address the needs of all the stakeholders.

If you can't make the event but are interested in the presentation let us know?

Friday, March 26, 2010

REMINDER: ‘Devils in the Details’ Event on March 30th

This is a quick reminder that our educational event, “The Devils in the Details - Enhanced SAN & Switching Solutions for Next Generation Data Centers,” will be held on March 30, 2010. This event was previously postponed from 2/10 due to the snow storm.

For those who registered, we hope you’ll join us for an informative discussion and learn about:
  • PTS Data Center Solutions' strategic data center design approach combining both IT and support infrastructure expertise to design, manage and operate a superior data center.
  • Dell EqualLogicTM PS Series SANs designed to cost-effectively integrate advanced data and disaster protection features directly with VMware virtual infrastructure to help provide seamless data protection and disaster recovery management.
  • Enterasys S-Series® enterprise switching and routing solutions specifically designed for high speed core and SAN deployments.

Here is the full agenda:

4:45 - 5:00 PM: Arrivals and Introductions.

5:00 - 5:25 PM: Data Center Management, Synergies between Facility & IT Infrastructure Needed to Improve Data Center Availability and Management, Presented by Peter Sacco, President, PTS Data Center Solutions.

5:25 - 6:00 PM: Dell EqualLogic PS Series SANs, Improved SAN Design to Cost Effectively Integrate with VMwaresolutions, Presented by Keith Londres, Dell Enterprise Solution Executive and Jim Power, Solution Specialist - New Jersey, Dell, Inc.

6:00 - 6:30 PM: Enterasys S-Series, Enterprise Switching and Routing Solutions for High Speed Core and SAN Deployments, Presented by Jace Siciliano, Senior Account Executive, Enterasys Secure Networks.

6:30 - 6:45 PM: Questions/Answers Session.

6:45 - 7:00 PM: Head to the Rink, Private Box.

7:00 - 10:00 PM: Dinner, Drinks, Enjoy the Game!

For more info, please visit

Cut Your Data Center Cooling Costs

Modern data centers face a number of cooling system challenges due to the requirements of today's IT systems, combined with the way those IT systems are deployed. In the latest issue of PROCESSOR magazine, Elizabeth Millard examines strategies for keeping power and cooling operations streamlined during the summer months when outside temperatures rise.

The article includes my thoughts on the topic, as well as insights from John Busch, chairman and CTO at Schooner Information Technology; Michael Sigourney, senior product specialist at AVTECH; and Kris Domich, principal consultant at Dimension Data.

Key points include:

  • Look at upgrading processing and storage capability for greater efficiency.
  • Establish a strong preventive maintenance strategy before the summer months hit.
  • Keep accurate records to understand utilization and cost changes over different years.

PTS' expertise is a valuable asset in this area as companies are often unable to predict if their data center cooling system will supply a future load, even when the characteristics of the load are known in advance. If your company is looking to establish a cooling system for your data center that will withstand system failures and load increases, contact PTS as the next step in your process.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Considerations for Storage Consolidation

The growth of company files, e-mail, databases, and application data drives a constant need for more storage. But with many networks architected with storage directly attached to servers, growth means burdensome storage management and decreased asset utilization. Storage resources remain trapped behind individual servers, impeding data availability.

There are three storage consolidation architectures in common use today:
  • direct-attached storage (DAS),
  • network-attached storage (NAS), and
  • the storage area network (SAN).

DAS structures are traditional in which storage is tied directly to a server and only accessible at that server. In NAS, the hard drive that stores the data has its own network address. Files can be stored and retrieved rapidly because they do not compete with other computers for processor resources. The SAN is the most sophisticated architecture, and usually employs Fibre Channel technology, although iSCSI-based technology SANs are becoming more popular due to their cost effectiveness. SANs are noted for high throughput and their ability to provide centralized storage for numerous subscribers over a large geographic area. SANs support data sharing and data migration among servers.

So how do you choose between NAS, RAID and SAN architectures for Storage Consolidation? Once a particular approach has been decided, how do you decide which vendor solutions to consider? There are a number of factors involved in making a qualified decision including near and long term requirements, type of environment, data structures, budget, to name a few. PTS approaches Storage Consolidation by leveraging our proven consulting approach:
  • to gather information on client needs,
  • survey the current storage approach, and
  • assess future requirements against their needs and the current approach.

Critical areas for review and analysis include:
  • Ease of current data storage management
  • Time spent modifying disk space size at the server level
  • Storage capacity requirements to meet long term needs
  • Recoverability expectations in terms of Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives
  • Needed structuring of near- and off-line storage for survivability and ease of access to data
  • Security needed to maintain data storage integrity
  • Evolving storage complexity if current architecture is maintained
  • New applications considered for deployment
  • Requirement to provide Windows clustering
  • Interest in considering Thin Provisioning
  • Storage spending as a percentage of total IT budget
PTS reviews all of the items above, and more --- we then design the best storage architecture for both near and long term requirements and are able to source, install and manage leading edge storage solutions from companies such as Dell and Hitachi.

Ultimately, Storage Consolidation positively impacts costs associated with managing your IT network in terms of redundancy, disaster recovery, and network management. It also allows for a more secure network, free from wasted assets tied to particular servers or data center components. Finally, the tasks of provisioning, monitoring, reporting, and delivering the right storage services levels can be time consuming and complex and Storage Consolidation will enhance your ability to manage your organization's data storage.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

“Devils in the Details” Data Center Event - IMPORTANT UPDATE


The data center management event planned for tomorrow night, The Devils in the Details - Enhanced SAN & Switching Solutions for Next Generation Data Centers, has been rescheduled for March 30, 2010 due to the forecasted snow storm.

If you have questions regarding event tickets, please contact Amy Yencer at

For more details and the full agenda, visit our Data Center Management Event page. We hope to see you in March!

BLADE Network Technologies Wins Top Spot in 10G Data Center Switch Test

Congratulations to BLADE Network Technologies, PTS’ top-of-rack switch vendor and a trusted leader in data center networking, on winning the top spot in the 10G data center switch competition.

BLADE's RackSwitch G8124 received Network World's Clear Choice award in its lab test of top-of-rack 10G Ethernet data center switches for delivering a winning combination of features and performance as well as top energy efficiency. The BLADE product faced stiff competition from switches produced by Arista Networks, Cisco, Dell, Extreme and HP, all of which sported at least 24 10Gigabit interfaces. The products faced a 10 point comparison and were subjected to three months of demanding performance tests.

To read the complete test review, visit

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Why are so many still using guesswork to determine their needs for power?

It is 2010 & so many data center & IT managers are still relying on manual derated name plate calculations to manage the power required throughout their power chain even though many of these data centers are on the verge of running out of power & many have experienced outages due to tripped circuits. So many data center & IT managers come to us looking for real-time monitoring of power, many solutions are evaluated, but few ever get implemented. I'm trying to figure out why many are not investing in real-time power management.

If you read the Green Grid's white paper "Proper Sizing of IT Power and Cooling Load" it discusses the fluctuations in IT power draw due to inlet temperature changes, server component changes, virtualization, etc.

I don't think we can underestimate the potential danger in using derated nameplate information to calculate power requirements. Unvirtualized servers typically use 15% of the processing power, virtualized we see #'s in the 60-95% range of processing utilization, this directly correlates to #'s closer to nameplate values as the Green Grid pointed out in the white paper. Most IT organizations are rapidly adapting virtualization technology to consolidate and operate more efficiently at the same time, which is a good thing, but it is putting rapid pressure on previously underutilized power infrastructures in data centers.

With so many variables to account for how can one depend on derated calculation tools? With so many real-time tools available to measure & trend power accurately including; branch circuit monitoring, outlet level monitored power strips, in-line power meters, IPMI and extensive software options why are so many still trying to use derated calculations to guesstimate the power they'll need for higher density virtualized deployments? This guesswork leads to potential circuit breaker trips & designed inefficiencies throughout the entire power chain. I am amazed with rising power costs, less power capacity available and so many looking to operate a more efficient "greener" data center footprint that so few are investing in real-time power monitoring tools that will allow them to plan & manage capacity effectively.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What is your definition of a "Green" Data Center solution?

Is your organization looking for "Green" Data Center Solutions or are you looking to incorporate "Green" into your Data Center Design in 2010 or in this decade? Below are some thoughts on this important issue in regards to building "Green" Data Centers. We're interested in hearing your opinions & ideas as well.

For the most part “Green” Solutions for the Data Center, is in my opinion a bit of an oxymoron, because most supposed “Green” solutions still have a carbon footprint & typically use power generated by fossil fuels in the Data Center industry. We also find that rarely are Data Center owners & operators willing to reduce availability to improve the efficiency of their Data Center. That being said, our design philosophy is to design “Greener” Data Center Infrastructure technologies where possible into any proposed new builds, renovations and upgrades for Data Center facilities.

In our opinion the 1st step towards “Greener” Data Centers is collecting accurate measurements & trending the environmentals in your Data Center facilities so we can model proposed changes & fine tune the efficiency. PTS has been running several monitoring & management tools in our own Data Center facility as well as in our clients Data Centers for several years. We use this base knowledge as well as industry best practices & PTS’ proven trade secrets during an engagement for design to propose “Greener” solutions where applicable & in line with the rest of the key design criteria for a project. In our experience many “Green” solutions such as solar & hydro power rarely can make a impact to a Data Center Design, however using water or air side economizers to take advantage of the free cooling days available in an applicable climate can provide a reasonable ROI while “Greening” the Data Center.

In addition by eliminating air mixing in Data Centers, we reduce the power consumed by the HVAC systems supporting a Data Center, and we prove these savings in cooling through CFD modeling before making investments. ASHRAE has widened the temperature range in the new TC9.9 recommendations for Data Center operations, but before we embrace this “Greener” standard and go maximizing the set points for supply & return air; we first must make sure that air mixing has been eliminated as much as possible because as we raise set points, “hot spot” issues & inefficiencies will be amplified, second raising set points reduces the availability of the Data Center so we have to make sure that any proposed increases in set point to make a Data Center “Greener” are in line with the availability requirements established for the Key Design Criteria of a project, third many servers fans will spin faster as the intake temperature rise so there is an inflection point where raising set points further will not continue to lower power consumption.

Focusing on effective Data Center capacity management is key to any "Greening" initiative:
• Better predictability of space, power, and cooling capacity and redundancy limits means more time to plan on ways to mitigate their affect
• Increased real-time availability of IT operations as a result of an enhanced understanding of the present state of the power and cooling infrastructure and environment
• Reduced operating cost from energy usage effectiveness and efficiency as well as operator effectiveness from the use of automated tool sets

In our experience most facility oriented "Greener" solutions provide only a fraction of the efficiency gains found in IT focused solutions such as: server consolidation, virtualization & data deduplication. That's not saying we shouldn't consider the facility oriented "Greener" solutions, especially if they fall in line with our design criteria & ROI needs, but it is saying we should focus on the IT side 1st because of the greater savings & our capacity requirements will be appropriately defined if we become IT efficient first.