Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Data Center Power Drain [Video]

Click here to watch a recent news report from on what's being done to make San Francisco's data centers more energy efficient.

In the "On the Greenbeat" segment, reporter Jeffrey Schaub talks to Mark Breamfitt at PG&E and Miles Kelley at 365 Main about how utilities companies and the IT industry are working to reduce overall energy consumption. According to the report, each of 365 Main’s three Bay Area data centers uses as much power as a 150 story skyscraper, with 40 percent of that power used to cool the computers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spending on Data Centers to Increase in Coming Year

An independent survey of the U.S. data center industry commissioned by Digital Realty Trust indicates that spending on data centers will increase throughout 2009 and 2010.

Based on Web-based surveys of 300 IT decision makers at large corporations in North America, the study reveals that more than 80% of the surveyed companies are planning data center expansions in the next one to two years, with more than half of those companies planning to expand in two or more locations.

In addition, the surveyed companies plan to increase data center spending by an average of nearly 7% in the coming year. “This is a reflection of how companies view their datacenters as critical assets for increasing productivity while reducing costs," noted Chris Crosby, Senior Vice President of Digital Realty Trust.

To view the rest of the study findings, visit the Investor Relations section of

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Top 3 Data Center Trends for 2009

Enterprise Systems just published the “Top Three Data Center Trends for 2009” by Duncan Campbell, vice president of worldwide marketing for adaptive infrastructure at HP. In the article, Campbell discusses how companies need to get the most out of their technology assets and, in the coming year, data centers will be pressured to "maintain high levels of efficiency while managing costs". In addition, companies will need to make an up-front investment in their data center assets in order to meet complex business demands.

Campbell predicts:
  • “There will be no shortage of cost-cutting initiatives for enterprise technology this year.”
  • “As virtualization continues to enable technology organizations to bring new levels of efficiency to the data center, the line between clients, servers, networks and storage devices will continue to blur.”
  • “Blade offerings will continue to mature in 2009. Server, storage, and networking blades will continue to improve their energy efficiency and reduce data center footprints. Vendors are also now developing specialty blades, finely tuned to run a specific application.”

Efficiency, agility, and scalability will remain priorities for companies. By taking advantage of innovative data center technologies, companies can further reduce costs while increasing productivity – a goal that is of particular importance during challenging economic times.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It’s Nap Time for Data Centers

Yesterday at the International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems in Washington, D.C., researchers from the University of Michigan presented a paper, titled “PowerNap: Eliminating Server Idle Power”.

“One of the largest sources of energy-inefficiency is the substantial energy used by idle equipment that is powered on, but not performing useful work,” says Thomas Wenisch, assistant professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In response to this problem, Wenisch's team has developed a technique to eliminate server idle-power waste.

Their paper addresses the energy efficiency of data center computer systems and outlines a plan for cutting data center energy consumption by as much as 75 percent. This would be accomplished through the concurrent use of PowerNap and the Redundant Array for Inexpensive Load Sharing (RAILS). PowerNap is an energy-conservation approach which would enable the entire system to transition rapidly between a high-performance active state and a near zero-power idle state in response to instantaneous load, essentially putting them to sleep as you would do with an ordinary laptop. RAILS is a power provisioning approach that provides high conversion efficiency across the entire range of PowerNap’s power demands.

The paper concludes:

PowerNap yields a striking reduction in average power relative to Blade of nearly 70% for Web 2.0 servers. Improving the power system with RAILS shaves another 26%. Our total power cost estimates demonstrate the true value of PowerNap with RAILS: our solution provides power cost reductions of nearly 80% for Web 2.0 servers and 70% for Enterprise IT.

To read the full text, please visit Wenisch’s site to download a PDF of the paper:

Monday, March 09, 2009

Finding the Silver Lining During an Economic Downturn

It seems, no matter which way you look these days, there’s more bad news. Job losses are up. The stock market is down. But not every business is focusing on the negative. In fact, there’s even a growing list of companies refusing to take part in the recession. As Jamie Turner at the 60 Second Marketer writes:

To be sure, times are tough. They’re downright B-A-D. But the world isn’t ending. The sky is not falling. In fact, you and your business will be here tomorrow and the next day — if you stop focusing on the negative and start focusing on the positive.

In light of this, I’d like to highlight one company who sees data center opportunity despite the poor economy: Juniper Networks. According to this article in Network World, Juniper has “launched an aggressive campaign to expand its enterprise business with a targeted assault on the data center.” They’ve announced a project, called Stratus, which their blog describes as an attempt to “create a single data center fabric with the flexibility and performance to scale to super data centers, while continuing to drive down the cost and complexity of managing the data center information infrastructure.”

And why announce Stratus now? Tom Nolle, president of consultancy CIMI Corp, explains: “Juniper cannot hope to match Cisco in breadth so it is making that an asset instead of a liability. Juniper is timing its success with Stratus to the economy's recovery and to developing symbioses with partners.”

That’s the kind of strategic, fighting spirit that helps a company come out on top, wouldn’t you say?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Improving Mobile Applications in the Enterprise

Look for Michael Petrino, vice president of PTS Data Center Solutions, in the latest issue of PROCESSOR (Vol.31, Issue 8).

In "Essential Mobile Tools: Maximize Your Mobile Toolset to Better Unlock Wireless’ Potential", Petrino shares his thoughts on the importance of establishing the right power infrastructure in order to improve the broadcast range of on-campus wireless connections.

The article discusses several easy-to-implement ways that enterprises can make better use of mobile applications so that they can support mobile employees without placing an unnecessary burden on the data center or IT support teams. It features insights from Robert Enderle, an analyst for the Enderle Group, and Joel Young, CTO and senior vice president of R&D at Digi International.

To read the full article, please visit

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Acquisition of NTA’s Technology Consulting Assets

I’m pleased to announce that PTS has officially acquired critical components of Nassoura Technology Associates, LLC (NTA) including all of its technology consulting assets. If you are not already familiar with NTA, they were a leading technology consulting and engineering firm based in Warren, New Jersey who in-house developed the widely acclaimed software product, dcTrack3.0. Recently, Raritan, Inc. purchased NTA’s dcTrack3.0 product in a separate transaction.

NTA’s assets will enable us to expand our existing technology consulting service offerings including network, structured cabling, security, and audio/visual design. Furthermore, this acquisition enables us to enhance our existing library of technical drawings, specifications, and request for proposal (RFP) documentation. Also included in the acquisition was the transfer of documents for all NTA’s completed client projects across a broad spectrum of industries.

If you are a previous client of NTA, we will continue to maintain your design documents and provide you with the expert level of service you had become accustomed to as an NTA client. We are extremely excited to expand our customer base and to have this opportunity to improve our client deliverables by acquiring the assets of one of the most influential design firms serving the data center industry.

In addition to the acquisition of NTA’s technology consulting assets, we are also pleased to announce the addition of six (6) new employees to our growing family of data center experts. We are sure they will contribute substantially to PTS’ continued growth in 2009. The new employees include data center solutions professionals, Andrew Graham, Peter Graham, and Michael Piazza as well as architect, Michael Relton, and senior electrical engineer, Alex Polsky, P.E.

The latest new employee is data center software development and pioneer, Dave Cole. Dave has a storied history of developing software and hardware products for System Enhancement Corporation, later purchased by APC, and Hewlett-Packard. Most notably however, Dave founded and then sold his company, The Advantage Group, along with his industry leading data center support infrastructure device monitoring product to Aperture, later purchased by Emerson. Stay on the lookout for further announcements as to what Dave and I are up to.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Data Centers Understaffed and Underutilized?

The following news snippet from caught my eye and I couldn’t resist sharing it here:

Symantec Corp.'s State of the Data Center 2008 report paints a picture of understaffed data centers and underutilized storage systems.

The report, based on a survey of 1,600 enterprise data center managers and executives, found storage utilization at 50%. The survey also discovered that staffing remains a crucial issue, with 36% of respondents saying their firms are understaffed. Only 4% say they are overstaffed. Furthermore, 43% state that finding qualified applicants is a problem.

Really interesting numbers, particularly when it comes to staffing issues. With so many layoffs and other cutbacks happening, it’s not so surprising that firms feel understaffed. However, with the national unemployment rate reaching 7.2 percent for December, I don’t think finding qualified applicants will be as much of a problem in 2009. As for the underutilization of storage systems, this is a major contributor to high data center costs. If corporate budgets continue to get slashed, I can guarantee that virtualization is going to stay right at the top of most data center managers to-do lists for the foreseeable future.

(By the way, if you’re an unemployed techie, you might want to check out this article from Socialtext is offering its social networking tools free to laid-off workers who want to form alumni networks and share job leads.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Data Center Energy Efficiency in 2009

In my last post, I talked about how it will be more important than ever for data centers to increase their operating efficiencies in the coming year. But, as I’m sure you know, this isn’t a new issue. Boosting energy efficiency in data centers has been a major concern for the past few years, in both the public and private sectors. Doing so will help to produce large energy savings, enhance data center reliability, and cut carbon emissions by reducing the load on the electric grid.

To reach these goals, equipment suppliers are introducing more energy efficient technologies, data center operators are stepping up efforts to reduce energy consumption in their buildings, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have moved to address the issue by initiating a joint national data center energy efficiency information program. PTS helps our clients reach their efficiency goals through our power and cooling systems analysis, as well as via our CFD modeling services.

Now, with the recession in full swing, the financial impact of high data center energy consumption is becoming an even more pressing issue for corporations. In light of this, I'd like to share an article I came across in the latest issue of Wall Street & Technology, titled “5 Tips to Cut Data Center Energy Use”. It talks about how Gartner, a leading IT research and consulting firm, has outlined 11 best practices for cooling that can help dramatically improve data center energy efficiency.

While you have to buy the full Gartner report to get all 11 practices, the WS&T article gives you the top 5 for free. Here’s a quick rundown:

1. Plug Holes in the Raised Floor.
2. Install Blanking Panels.
3. Coordinate CRAC Units.
4. Improve Underfloor Airflow.
5. Implement Hot Aisles and Cold Aisles.

For more info on data center energy efficiency, I invite you to download our newest white paper, titled “Power Moves: Understanding what you know - and don't know - about power usage in your data center”.

Until next time, happy holidays and best wishes for a prosperous new year!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Get the Most Out of Your Data Center in 2009

With the economy in turmoil and fears of recession keeping corporate budgets tight, it’s important that organizations get the most bang-for-the-buck with their IT resources. With that in mind, I’d like to recommend another article that looks to the coming year with a proactive mindset.

Utility Automation & Engineering T&D and Electric Light & Power online recently published the “Top 10 Ways to Get More from Your Data Center in 2009”, as outlined by Chuck Spears of Emerson Network Power. The suggestions include:

1. Cover your bases.
2. Look inside before outside.
3. Assess before action.
4. Go from room to rack.
5. Cap the cold aisle.
6. Check the weather forecast.
7. Watch often, if not always.
8. Improve energy utilization.
9. Avoid cutting corners.
10. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

While the article acknowledges that “[t]he coming year will undoubtedly require data center and IT managers to get maximum value from their facility without making significant enhancements”, it urges data center managers to bear in mind that “numerous opportunities exist throughout the data center to do more with less.”

I like to frame it in the following terms: “Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” Lean times can help trim the fat from your operations and can encourage your business to make the most of what it has. In doing so, your organization may emerge stronger than ever before.