Cabinet Access Control: Deployment Considerations

Following is another blog by guest blogger and product line manager Denis Blouin.

Earlier this month, I blogged about the importance of cabinet-level security in the data center due to the potential for internal threats. If you’ve realized the importance of bringing security down to the cabinet level and are planning to deploy a cabinet access control system, there are many features to consider when evaluating solutions.

Accessing-Keypad

Flexible and Scalable

When evaluating an access control system for data center cabinets, make sure that the system is flexible to meet your specific environment. For example, in a pod-based data centers where rows or groups of cabinets are segregated by function, you might want to require access for a group of cabinets rather than at individual cabinets. You might also want to Read more »

Bi-Modal IT: The Ying and Yang of Tomorrow’s Data Center

YingYangIn last month’s blog on SDx, I introduced the buzzword “bi-modal IT” that has been getting a lot of attention in the industry—especially following the latest research by Gartner, which states that 45% of CIOs have already gone bi-modal and 75% are expected to go bi-modal by 2017.

To recap, a bi-modal IT approach is the coexistence of traditional and modern IT practices within the same entity where some applications remain in a traditional environment due to security or reliability issues while other less critical “fail fast” applications operate within a more digital, agile model that supports fast delivery and prototyping of new technologies.   Let’s take a closer look at bi-modal IT from an organizational perspective. Read more »

Let Me Show You to the Door

Enclosure-DoorThe need to optimize airflow in the data center is becoming increasingly important as heat load densities continue to rise above beyond the average 6 to 7 kW per rack. While best practices like reducing cable congestion, using a hot aisle/cold aisle configuration or deploying a containment strategy are ideal ways to help manage passive airflow, cabinet doors play a key role. And when it comes to choosing a cabinet, it’s important to look at all the features of the door.

The Hole Truth

There are two separate variables to consider that determine the air resistance characteristics of a cabinet door Read more »

Customization Should Not be Overlooked

Icustomizationf you’ve ever bought a custom-tailored suit versus one off the rack at the local department store, you know just how incredible customization can be. The same can apply to your data center and LAN.

Whether you need lightning fast data center deployments, are faced with a unique or challenging application, or even just have your own preferences, choosing components from a vendor with the engineering and manufacturing expertise to deliver customized solutions can save you time and money – or even get you out of a jam.

At the Cabinet Level

I’ve blogged a lot about one of my passions – holistic data center design – and the benefit of using a standardized, modular approach with preconfigured cabinets for repeatable, predictable data center deployments. While anyone can take this approach by pre-designing their cabinets and components and implementing them the same way each time, how much better would it be if you could customize your cabinets with pre-installed components under a single part number? Read more »

Here Comes 25 Gig Ethernet!

You may have heard plenty of buzz over the past few months regarding 25 gigabit Ethernet. It’s no surprise considering that several big data center and cloud computing providers like Google, Microsoft, Broadcom, Arista and Mellanox formed the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium earlier this year.

25Gig

Shorter thereafter, IEEE formed a 25G Ethernet study group. And just a couple of weeks ago, Broadcom announced the availability of a new high-density 25G Ethernet switch for cloud-scale data centers.

Why 25G? It simply makes sense from a technology, cost, scalability and flexibility perspective. Let’s take a closer look. Read more »

Redundancy, Availability, Reliability: Related but Not the Same

Understanding and determining data center redundancy, availability and reliability is a critical part of the holistic design process, and one that can significantly impact cost. However, there is often confusion surrounding these three factors.

Data_Center_Belden

Some believe that redundancy, availability and reliability are one in the same, but that is not the case at all. Let’s take a closer look. Read more »

GoDaddy’s IPO Reveals Forward-Looking Infrastructure Investments

In case you weren’t already aware, this week has been big for GoDaddy, the rapidly expanding web-hosting company. On Monday, Founder Bob Parsons resigned from his role as Executive Chairman, “to devote more time to his [other] ventures”, according to the company’s press release. Also this week, GoDaddy filed its Initial Public Offering with a $100 million placeholder, but no indication of share quantity or price range. However, thanks to the information from S-1 report for potential investors, we do have an indication of what the data center footprint of GoDaddy looks like.

Chalk-IPO

The Run Down

In 2013, GoDaddy dealt with an average of more than 11 billion domain name system (DNS) queries per day and hosted approximately 8.5 million websites. To handle these requirements, GoDaddy has made significant investments in infrastructure and technology.

Here is a glimpse:

  • GoDaddy leases data centers domestically in Los Angeles, CA, Mesa, AZ, Scottsdale, AZ (near company headquarters), Chicago, IL, and Ashburn, VA.
  • It also leases data centers abroad in Amsterdam and Singapore. The only data center currently owned and operated by GoDaddy is a 270,000 square-foot facility in Phoenix, AZ.
  • GoDaddy also uses infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service technologies to improve data center management and facilitate the rapid deployment of new products.
  • As of March 31, 2014, GoDaddy employed 840 engineers.

GoDaddy-S-1-Chart

These investments, roughly 18 percent of GoDaddy’s total revenue of $1.13 billion in 2013 and nearly $62 million so far this year, reflect the company’s commitment to not only staying current, but striving to move ahead of the curve, as far as infrastructure is concerned. GoDaddy spent $42 million on property and equipment last year. Many companies like GoDaddy are trying to emulate infrastructure-spending juggernauts like Microsoft and Google, if at much more modest levels, because they understand the importance of laying the infrastructure in place to pave the way for future success.

According to Google’s own VP and CFO Patrick Pichette, “If you think of the CapEx categories…data centers (come) first and data center construction, then production equipment, then all other facilities”. According to Pichette, having extra capacity on standby to accommodate growth and provide space for experimentation is critical. These benefits and avoiding the perils of being stranded with insufficient capacity to allow for growth far outweigh the comparatively low cost of having the infrastructure in place. Pichette credits Google’s assertive infrastructure investment for pushing the company ahead of the curve thus far, and based on the recent business dealings of GoDaddy based on its recent IPO, it would seem executives there agree.

So, as it turns out, investing in the future actually requires, well, an investment. It’s one that has already been made by the likes of Google and Microsoft. Many others, like GoDaddy (which is ramping up with the aim of growing from a customer base of around 12 million users to somewhere in the hundreds of millions) are determined not to get left behind.

Resources

Check out our white paper: 10 Steps to Holistic Data Center Design. Click below to download!

Holistic-Data-Center-Design-AdRoll-300x25-AD_ECOS_BDC_1013_A_AG

It’s a Colorful World: From the Data Center to the Outlet

Since the beginning of mankind, color has always been the easiest way to identify, recognize and classify just about anything, and it has always been an integral part of our industry—from the colors of individual fibers and copper conductors, to the outer jacket of a cable and modular jacks.

Let’s take a look at how color today is improving performance, manageability and visibility from the data center to the outlet.

Erika Violet and Her Twin Sister Heather

ErikaViolet

By now you may have heard about or seen the new standard color for OM4 fiber—Erika Violet. Also known as Heather Violet in the UK, this bright pinkish color being used for OM4 cable, adapters and connectors isn’t just an attempt to jazz up the data center.

When OM4 fiber was first approved in 2009, it remained the same color as its OM3 predecessor—aqua. When technicians see the same color cables and connectors, they often assume they are the same type. To truly differentiate, their only choice is to follow the cable back and carefully examine the tiny (sometimes illegible) cable legend or check their documentation.

With today’s optical loss budgets being more of a concern than ever as we prepare for 40G duplex, using an OM3 channel when you meant to use OM4 can push your loss over the limit and cause loss of bandwidth on fiber links.

With Belden OM4 Erika Violet cable, adapters and connectors now prominently displayed in pathways and at fiber panels, mistakenly plugging in the wrong fiber type is virtually impossible.

An Easier Way to Segregate and Manage

Color doesn’t just help ensure performance. For decades, municipalities and jurisdictions having authority (JHAs) have specified unique cable colors for fire alarm and other life safety systems. With so many different systems now converging onto a single IP-based infrastructure and the same type of cabling, color has become more important than ever.

StFrancis_jpeg

In telecommunication spaces, segregating systems using color eases management at patch panels for IT staff. At the outlet, color can help ensure that the right equipment is plugged into the right jack. This is especially important for critical systems that support life and safety. TIA-1179 healthcare standards even recommend colored cables to segregate and identify various healthcare systems.

St. Francis Hospital in Columbus , Georgia recently took advantage of the 16 different color varieties available for Belden cable and modular jacks installed copper patch panels and workstation outlets to segregate healthcare systems and medical office tenants in their new 400,000 square foot expansion.

Read the St. Francis Hospital Case Study

And Provide Better Visibility Too

Color also determines how light is reflected, which is why many data centers are going with lighter cabinets and enclosures such as Belden’s X Series enclosures available in central office white and titanium FiberExpress Ultra HD housing.

With gray-white reflecting up to 80% of light and black only reflecting 5%, black cabinets and enclosures can make it more difficult for technicians to see. Lighter cabinets and enclosures reduce the need for more lighting and they don’t absorb as much heat. This has the potential to reduce lighting energy consumption and help keep equipment cool.

So whether you want to ensure that OM3 and OM4 fiber type are not inadvertently mixed, segregate various systems for easier management or improve visibility, don’t discount color when designing your data center and network infrastructure.

 

More Tips for Successful DCIM Deployment

DCIMIn previous blogs on DCIM, we looked at strategies for getting buy-in from upper management and some key tips for configuring and implementing the system once you’ve gotten approval to purchase and deploy DCIM.

In this blog, I’ll delve a little deeper into the importance of open standards and integrated cabling infrastructure.

Open for Business

Early DCIM solutions promised a view of all systems and the ability to automate data center, facility and IT systems with one software package. Today, the industry recognizes that this is not a reality. For example, many facilities monitoring systems are mature and have specialized control and monitoring features.

To integrate with other systems, DCIM must be designed using open standards. This is the only way DCIM can accommodate implementation of existing inventory data, management of any data point, integration with other systems and ongoing, real-time monitoring of a wider variety of assets.

At the very least, the selected DCIM platform should have the capability to perform simple network management protocol (SNMP) queries. SNMP is available on a variety of systems and devices, including switches, routers, wireless access points, UPS, operating systems and a wide range of consumer electronics and office equipment (i.e. computers, printers).

For example, DCIM platforms with this capability can query SNMP-enabled switches to gather information about individual ports, determine changes to connections and identify potential problems for troubleshooting.

Some DCIM platforms also offer network polling via SNMP. Based on user-configured schedules, the DCIM platform sends messages across the network to discover and exchange information with any SNMP-compliant device that resides on the network. These devices store information about themselves and return that information to the DCIM system. This is an excellent method of tracking new equipment and devices placed on the network.

Connecting the Dots

While perhaps not as visible as power supplies, cooling systems, servers and switches, the cabling infrastructure in a data center has a significant impact on management, flexibility and scalability. Having real-time view and management of data connectivity is a must-have for DCIM.

A poorly managed cabling infrastructure can ultimately limit growth, and having a comprehensive historical view of the cabling can help determine support for new technologies such as server virtualization, higher speed optical fiber backbone cabling that uses parallel optics and switch fabrics that have fewer switch tiers.

For example, when implementing new equipment into the data center, it is not much use to identify a rack that is in the right location and offers the right amount of space and power only to find out when you get there that it does not have the appropriate interface and connectivity available to support the new equipment.

DCIM-Features

DCIM should feature integrated cable management that provides a real-time view of data connectivity, including rack-level detail. This capability will go a long way in facilitating moves, adds and changes, identifying potential limitations and verifying the ability of the cabling and connectivity to support current and future technologies.

For more tips on successful DCIM deployment, check out my latest article in ICT Today co-authored with Paul Goodison who co-founded Cormant and developed one of the first DCIM solutions available in the market. And stay tuned for more on DCIM and DCIM-ready solutions from Belden.

DCS Award Nomination for FX Brilliance Connectors

PrintThe Data Centre Solution Awards were established to honor the achievements of end users, manufacturers and suppliers in the Data Center sector. Now in their fourth year, they are seen as a recognition of excellence.

I am pleased to see that one of our products, the Belden FiberExpress Brilliance Universal Connector, has been selected as a finalist in the Data Center Cabling Product of the Year category.  And it is easy to see why: brilliant in design and universal in implementation, FiberExpress Brilliance Universal no-epoxy, no-polish, no-crimp field-installable connectors make fiber field termination faster, easier and better.  Thanks to its industry-leading design, it only takes three simple steps to terminate a connector.

Naturally, we are proud to be nominated – and would be delighted to receive your support – and your vote.  Simply go here to cast your vote. You can cast your vote until 1 May – so there is still plenty of time.

And click here if you want to learn more about Belden FiberExpress Brilliance Universal Connectors.

FX Universal Connectors

On Twitter