December 30, 2008 2:33 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
It is an obvious truism that given enough time everything will fail. The only tool we have at our disposal to hopefully delay this eventuality is maintenance service. Unfortunately, it’s another truism that for most small computer room operations, this vital step is not performed. As is unfortunately typical, we often put off short-term inconvenience for future unplanned and unpredictable grief.
Whatever the circumstance, there are plenty of tools to simplify the organization, planning, scheduling, and performance of field preventative maintenance. Real-time monitoring systems can serve as the front line of defense against unplanned outages.
PTS emphasizes utilizing IP and Web technologies to oversee and control critical support systems from just about anywhere. For power monitoring, we prefer to take advantage of the growing trend in the power strip manufacturing industry by having clients deploy power strips that can measure at the receptacle, therefore at the device level. For example, simple alarming of support infrastructure as critical load values approach predetermined thresholds will prevent against failures due to overload conditions and therefore curtail availability stripping outages.
In any case, monitoring systems for IT attributes and physical attributes should provide proactive management and enable the quick assessment of your present situation and notify the appropriate personnel should situations that threaten availability.
Is preventative maintenance high enough on your data center to-do list? What technologies do you rely on to monitor your critical systems?
December 29, 2008 8:11 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
Do you have a Facebook account? If so, you can help spread the word about the Data Center Design blog by joining our newly created Facebook Page. Be among the first to hear about blog updates, speaking engagements and other upcoming events.
December 29, 2008 3:33 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
A while back Matt Stansberry, editor of SearchDataCenter.com, posted a blog entry on the National Data Center Energy Efficiency Information Program. I’m echoing his post here because energy efficiency is such a critical issue for the industry.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have teamed up on a project with aims to help reduce energy consumption in data centers. In addition to providing information and resources which promote energy efficiency, the National Data Center Energy Efficiency Information Program is reaching out to data center operators and owners to collect data on total energy use.
In the words of the EPA’s Andrew Fanara:
We’ve put out an information request to anyone who has a data center to ask if you would measure the energy consumption of your data center in a standardized way and provide that to us. That will help us get a better handle on what’s going on nationally in terms of data center energy consumption.
Hear the EPA’s Andrew Fanara talk about the program in this video from the Uptime Institute Symposium:
If you’d like to get your data center involved, more information can be found at the EPA’s ENERGY STAR data center website and the DOE’s Save Energy Now data center website.
December 17, 2008 2:35 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
Fire detection is a challenge in high-end, mission critical facilities with high-density cooling requirements. This is due primarily to the varying levels of effectiveness of competing detection systems in high-velocity airflow computer room environments.
In a new white paper, PTS Data Center Solutions’ engineers Suresh Soundararaj and David Admirand, P.E. identify and analyze the effectiveness of relative sensitivity-based fire detection systems in a computer room utilizing a high-density, high-velocity, and high-volume cooling system.
In addition to examining the differences between fixed sensitivity and relative sensitivity smoke detection methodologies, Soundararaj and Admirand detail the results of fire detection tests conducted in PTS’ operational computer room and demo center using AirSense Technology’s Stratos-Micra 25® aspirating smoke detector.
The illustrated 13-page white paper, entitled “Relative Sensitivity-based Fire Detection Systems used in High Density Computer Rooms with In-Row Air Conditioning Units,” is available for download on our website in PDF format.
December 15, 2008 3:43 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like bananas.
– Groucho Marx
All kidding aside, time really does fly! It’s hard for me to believe, but it was a decade ago that we founded PTS Data Center Solutions (known way-back-when as Power Technology Sales, Inc.). Our goal then, as it is now, was to provide our clients with unparalleled service and optimal solutions to meet their data center and computer room needs.As we celebrate the company’s tenth anniversary, I’d like to express my appreciation to our hardworking team of consultants, engineers, designers, field service technicians, IT personnel and business staff, as well as our families, friends, business colleagues and clients for being part of our success.
While founded and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, our firm has experienced significant growth over the years, starting with the opening of our West Coast office in Orange County, California in 2004. Just a few years later, PTS Data Center Solutions completed the expansion and reorganization of our NJ facilities – an accomplishment that doubled the amount of useable office and warehouse space available to our team. We also upgraded our computer room, which hosts PTS’ live environment and operates as a demonstration center for potential clients to see our work first-hand.
Over the course of the last decade, we’ve had the pleasure of working with small and medium-sized companies as well as large enterprise organizations across a broad spectrum of industry verticals. We’ve grown to become a multi-faceted turnkey solutions provider, offering services for consulting, engineering, design, maintenance, construction, monitoring and more. One of the more recent additions to our business offerings is our Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) Services, which use powerful 3-D CFD software for the design, operational analysis, and maintenance for data center and computer rooms of all types and sizes. Our online presence has also grown. We’ve expanded our corporate website several times to provide new resources for our visitors. To help provide our clients and other IT professionals with insights on common data center issues, we began blogging in 2006. (I’d like to thank all of our readers for your comments and ongoing support!) Just a few months ago, we launched our own Facebook Page to help you stay up-to-date with the latest blog posts, our speaking engagements and other upcoming events.This really is an exciting time for everyone at PTS Data Center Solutions. Reaching this milestone is a great achievement for our company and we’re looking forward to what the next ten years have to offer. Here’s to the decades ahead!
December 12, 2008 7:05 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
Behind the scenes at PTS Data Center Solutions, we’re always working to enhance our products, services and solutions in order to provide our clients with designs that offer optimum manageability and performance. Our newest consulting service utilizes powerful 3-D Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) software to facilitate the design, operational analysis and maintenance of our clients’ data centers and computer rooms. Here is an overview of the multiple applications of our CFD Services:
- CFD Modeling as a Design Tool
By building CFD models of a mission critical space, engineers can quickly and efficiently review multiple design options. This allows for early detection of potential problems with air flow and heat distribution, thus permitting designers to provide an optimum solution.
- CFD Operational Baseline Service
After the data center’s IT infrastructure has been populated, PTS uses CFD modeling to map the site and analyze the data center cooling characteristics down to the equipment level. By doing so, we can determine how variations in the position and design of equipment, as well as other factors, affect the room’s cooling profile.
- Maintaining a CFD Modeled Computer Room
To ensure the high performance and manageability of a mission critical site, it is important to understand the effect that equipment changes will have before implementation takes place. Through CFD visualization, simulation and analysis, PTS’s consulting team can predict the impact of operational changes on the temperatures in the room. From there PTS is able to make recommendations for avoiding potential problems while planning for future growth. As part of the CFD modeling process, PTS maintains a complete asset inventory log as well as a detailed change order log, ensuring that infrastructure changes are tracked correctly.
If you’re interested in learning more about this data center consulting service, please visit our Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) Services page.
Request a Quote
To request a quote for PTS’s CFD Baseline and/or Maintenance Services, please send an email to CFD@PTSdcs.com with the following information:
- The physical address of the location
- The square footage of the computer room to be modeled
- The number of server cabinets, racks, and stand-alone pieces of equipment in the computer room
- The number of IT infrastructure devices (servers, switches, routers, storage arrays, etc.) the computer room supports
December 10, 2008 4:26 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
Recycled goods, alternative power sources and energy-saving technology are becoming commonplace in many homes and businesses. It’s a sign of the times as energy costs continue to climb and public concern over environmental issues grows. Data centers are not immune to this eco-friendly trend and, in fact, are reaping great benefits from going green.
For companies looking to build a data center, the traditional strategy focused on achieving maximum up-time. Little regard was paid to conserving energy or creating an environmentally conscious design. Only in the past decade have data center builders begun to realize that the higher upfront costs of creating a green facility are offset by the lower long-term operations and maintenance costs.
If you build a data center with the environment in mind, you’re likely to find that the benefits go far beyond just helping our planet. Not only will you use less energy and save more money, many states offer tax incentives to companies that build a green data center. Green data centers also provide a healthier work environment for employees and help build positive relations with the surrounding community.
Going green is a great way to help your company financially while helping the world ecologically. Here are some strategies that you can use to build a data center that’s eco-friendly:
- Use scalable or modular systems so you use only the needed energy capacity,
- Put catalytic converters on your backup power generators,
- Install a synthetic white rubber roof to dissipate external heat,
- Coordinate your mechanical and electrical systems so they run at optimal efficiency,
- Build your data center using recycled or low-emission materials,
- Establish a waste recycling program in your data center and recycle your obsolete machines,
- Cut down on power expenses by incorporating more natural light into your building design, and
- Run your facility using solar or wind power.
By making it your goal to reduce heat, improve efficiency and minimize the use of toxic materials, you can redesign an existing facility or build a new data center with a reduced environmental impact. What could be better than helping the Earth stay green while putting some additional green in your wallet?
December 8, 2008 7:37 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
Creating an effective server room design is a bit like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Unless you’re a glutton for punishment (which, I admit, some of us probably are), you wouldn’t get started on a puzzle without making sure you had all the right pieces or without looking at the picture on the box to see how the finished puzzle is supposed to look. In order to get the project done as efficiently and effectively as possible, you need to assess the puzzle’s pieces, make a game plan, and then begin work in a systematic manner.
When creating a server room design, not only do you need to take stock of all the elements of the server room, you also need to consider the way those components work together. It’s rare that you get a server room design right on the first try – throughout the design process, you’ll need to adjust for different design elements to make sure the systems work harmoniously.
To make sure your team has all its pieces in place, begin by meeting with your IT and facility staff to review your server room objectives based on your existing systems and facility. With your company’s design goals in mind, your team can evaluate the availability expectations as well as the requirements for your server room’s power and cooling density. From this point, you can develop a conceptual server room design and draw up construction budgets and timelines.
The end-result of your design project should be a server room that not only provides enhanced scalability, flexibility and server availability, but also concurrent maintainability and fault-tolerance against failures in which a component must be replaced.
To evaluate the quality of your server room design, consider the following points:
1. The server room should accommodate your current needs, as well as your facility’s expansion for up to five years in the future. If it doesn’t, you may need to go back to the drawing board.
2. Your location should be centralized and in a secure location. Try to avoid placing the server room near in the basement, on the ground floor, near bathrooms, and near the roof or exterior walls because of flooding and climate control issues. Also, avoid high traffic areas in order to improve the security of your server room.
3. When evaluating your server room’s power and cooling requirements, don’t stop with just the servers or the air conditioning system. Consider the impact of air flow, floor space, lighting, UPS, fans, and other hardware. Each of these elements affects your design’s power and cooling loads. You may have to revisit your plans multiple times to create an efficient server room design..
4. Take security seriously. Control access to your server room via auditable methods and consider installing security cameras.
The true test of an effective server room is whether your design will allow for future expansion while remaining reliable and cost-effective in the present time. Through careful planning, you can design a sophisticated, successful server room that meet your company’s demands for years to come.
December 5, 2008 4:27 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
A number of major corporations in the past year, including News Corp and Citigroup, announced plans to launch significant environmental initiatives. These corporations are paying particular attention to sustainability and are taking steps to build green data centers, in addition to reducing their carbon footprint in other ways.
To meet this demand, industry leaders such as Sun Microsystems, HP and IBM added energy-efficient servers and other eco-friendly technology solutions to their offerings. However, according to Going Green: Vendors Deliver Solutions to Save Money – the World:
“[E]nd users won’t rush to replace their infrastructure with greener technology, says Blair Pleasant, president and principal analyst of research firm Commfusion LLC. For one thing, there are budgets to consider. Pleasant likens the principle to the car industry — many consumers might want to drive expensive hybrids but aren’t ready to replace their perfectly serviceable, gas-powered vehicles.
Plus, there’s some skepticism that environmentally friendly systems might not work as well as familiar, existing networks. Companies “are going to have to prove that the new technologies or systems are every bit as good as what [end users] already have,” Pleasant says.”
Despite the eco-friendly peer pressure, many companies have and will continue to forgo potential long-term savings over increased capital expenditures until the premium to do so diminishes. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the green movement continues to build steam and as the media continues to barrage us with global warming news. If hybrid vehicles really start to take off, will green data centers too?