September 22, 2008 8:17 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
When comparing a Dim Data Center to a Dark Data Center the obvious and clear solution would be to opt for a dark data center design which can be described as a remotely monitored IT environment, in which computer systems analyze and correct problems with minimal human involvement. To achieve a completely dark data center, your IT infrastructure, support infrastructure, and software systems need to be independent. The majority of companies are nowhere near this point and most data centers will never be able to run without any human interaction, but technology is quickly taking us closer to this design goal. In contrast, a more realistic and attainable approach would be a Dim Data Center design, a highly sought-after solution for IT professionals and users. Although the dark data center is still a dream, the dim data center is a pleasant reality. Cutting the human element entirely out of the picture may be out of our current reach, but you can decrease foot traffic and the number of unmanaged changes within your data center. The dim data center approach focuses more on preventative maintenance than on imprudent problem solving. The most efficient dim data center designs are secure, can independently troubleshoot most problems, can be managed remotely, and employ processes and procedures to control the who, what, where, and when’s of the events taking place within the space .
Many of the daily problems that affect data centers have less to do with the design of a facility and more to do with variables induced by human contribution. For most data centers, not only does the IT staff have access to the facility. Facility staff, other employees, outside consultants, contractors, and mechanics may enter the data center for a plethora of reasons. As human traffic increases within the data center, so do the risks, amount of clutter, and the number of potential technical problems. Despite expert design and planning, people do not always follow preset procedures and may meddle with equipment that they are not qualified to use. This is a nightmare for IT professionals. The mistakes are difficult to trace and consume business’ money and the time of its IT staff. Cutting the human element entirely out of the picture may be out of our present reach, but you can reduce foot traffic and the number of unmanaged changes within your data center.
September 19, 2008 6:09 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
Tech Target journalist, Mark Fontecchio, asked me to speak on the topic of Hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment and how it stokes fire-code issues. In a summary, Hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment is a way for data centers to isolate hot and cold air streams so they don’t mix with one another and cause energy inefficiencies. In the process of mixing these air streams it is very easy to violate the numerous fire codes that require detection and prevention devices throughout the room. I told Mark that in short, there is no good fire suppression methodology for inside rack containment systems. For that purpose, coupled with temperature variance in a hot aisle, we choose to do it in different ways. One of the major things I stressed to Mark and to any facilities manager is to always be in compliance with your local fire inspector, because if they conduct an inspection, see something they weren’t notified about and don’t like it, they could shut you down. Many people deploy these systems in ignorance of the law. Many people do it and manufacturers are manufacturing the pieces, but the local inspector is the final authority. If the local inspector doesn’t realize what’s going on, the whole job might not be compliant, which will cost you major bucks to rectify.
To view the full article, click here
September 3, 2008 2:57 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
The differences between data center and computer room design don’t amount to a hill of beans for most people. The terms are often used interchangeably, but using them correctly makes a big difference though if you’re trying to communicate with a data center design firm or an IT expert. If you want to sound like a pro, it’s important to know what sets data centers and computer rooms apart.Data centers are designed to provide a secure, power protected, environmentally controlled space used for housing server, network and computer equipment. As the operating theatre for an enterprise’s network service delivery, a data center site may utilize the entire site and building shell.
The design of computer rooms is more limited in scope. A computer room is merely a functional space within a data center. It serves as a secure environment for the equipment and cabling directly related to the critical load. In other words, a computer room’s basic design is that of a collapsed data center where the entrance room is contained within the computer room space.
The easiest way to tell the design of a data center from that of a computer room is by looking at how the space’s functional pieces are put together. A data center is a larger space composed of smaller spaces, such as a computer room, network operations center, staging area and conference rooms.
In either case, data center design and computer room design are both accomplished by identifying the key design criteria for the two main areas of the project focus – the technology infrastructure and services (IT) and the support infrastructure and services (the facility). The key design criteria are:
- Business Objects (Scope)
- Availability Requirement
- Power and Cooling Density
While site selection is also a criterion for data center projects, a computer room design project can be as involved as a bigger base-building project or as simple as an upgrade of an existing computer room.
Understanding the differences between data centers and computer rooms is the first step on the road to delivering a successful data center or computer room project. The more you know about the elements of a data center, the easier it will be for you to get your design ideas across to others.
August 27, 2008 2:55 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
-Today’s Blog- Today we’re talking about the necessary steps that need to be taken when planning a sucesfull data center project. Project planning always seems easy on paper but successful implementation is key.
-PTS News- PTS has been named one of INC’s 5,000 fastest growing companies!
Network downtime means lost revenue – and lost jobs
Imagine a scenario where you are coming under fire because your data center project is over budget and months late. Even worse, your management team pushed you to accept the architect’s idea of your computer room that today won’t even deliver the most basic needs – enough space, adequate security & fire protection, ample power, and sufficient cooling.
Now picture a different scenario. But this time, you have earned the respect and appreciation of your company by having properly planned, designed, and delivered an always available data center project. Within scope. On time. And within budget.What makes the difference in these two scenarios? With PTS, when your management team came to you expecting you to provide the new computer room’s power and cooling requirements, you had a data center design expert you turned to – an expert who had your best interests in mind. An expert who understood the obstacles in providing constant network availability, translated how future IT services impacted the critical load, and conceptualized how the resulting supporting infrastructure impacted the budget.
A Good Plan Pays for Itself
We know it’s your job to deliver on management’s expectations of always available network services. Further, we know that you can’t be accomplished that without a room and supporting infrastructure equal to the task. PTS’s data center planning, and pre-design, consulting services ensure your company gets the always available data center it requires – from the start.
- Clear project cost guidance as it relates to the overall availability expectation
- Accurate existing equipment & conceptual IT services critical load profiling
- Expert understanding of data center design standard, and not-so-standard, practices.
A good plan is the key to delivering a successful project. And a good project manager prevents as many things from going wrong as possible by using that plan. At PTS, we’re in the planning business along with you.
Cost Versus Availability
Everyone wants a 7x24x365 environment. However, the impact of delivering that kind of performance is far-reaching. Availability is more than the reliability of components used and the redundancy by which they are configured. Systems must be concurrently maintainable as well. This means that as absolutely necessary periodic maintenance is performed, systems must be able to be completely brought ‘off-line’ without impacting the load.
Not surprisingly, the greater the availability expectation, the greater the cost. PTS helps you:
- Determine the availability that is appropriate.
- Estimate potential costs at that risk level.
Accurate Critical Load Profiling
Most architects and consulting engineers rely on their IT staff to provide space as well as equipment load requirements to determine the required facility infrastructure. PTS translates IT equipment details directly into power, cooling, and space requirements for the facility. We have found that equipment nameplate or manufacturer specifications are insufficient in many cases and we have compiled our own techniques for such purposes. Additionally, PTS has the project experience necessary to provide accurate load profiles and their facility infrastructure impact from conceptual IT initiatives and services without detailed equipment lists. This includes the impact due to technology refresh initiatives such as blade server deployment, equipment compaction, and more.
Standard and Not-so-Standard Practices
PTS has developed a detailed set of design standards by which your data center availability can be accurately predicted. We understand the obstacles facing uninterrupted data center operations. And we know how to design and implement the solutions to mitigate them. (Many architects and consulting engineers are not fully aware of the latest high density cooling trends and techniques, and the impact they have on facility infrastructure.)
Save Money, Save Time – Save Your Data Center
PTS is uniquely qualified to help businesses assess their data center and support infrastructure risks, provide recommendations for improvement and offer accurate project cost estimating and guidance throughout implementation.
Please contact us and tell us about your project. Give us the opportunity and we’ll provide you with the justification you need to convince your management to take the next step.
Have A Great Day,
August 22, 2008 3:47 PM
Posted by: PTSacco
This story was just shared with me today,
”Absolutely true story.
In a colocation in central Ohio, we rent a couple of racks. The primary rack there has two power sources. They’re not A/B, it’s all primary power, because the rack is /full/ of machines.
The colo staff was doing maintenance on something unrelated down in the floor and kicked one of our plugs out of the socket.
Now, if that isn’t bad enough, with half of our rack down, they went to plug it back in, and plugged it into the wrong circuit. 15amps + 15amps on a 20amp circuit is no one’s idea of a good time.
We’re moving out of that datacenter as soon as our contract is up. In the meantime, we’ve gone with a much higher class facility in upper NJ.”
My response to him is the one I share with all the victims. The sad truth is that the data center co-location and managed services industry is fraught with ‘buyer beware’ risks such as this story.
Since there are few standards and no regulation, it is up to the individual renting space in these facilities to perform their own investigations in comparing a data center operator’s claims to their actual capabilities.
PTS is hired by many clients to evaluate and compare data center spaces prior to relocating their equipment.
Today an IT manager doesn’t just need to be an IT expert, they need to be a facility expert too!
- Pete Sacco