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.