By popular demand, PTS is proud to release our latest E-newsletter which will now be published every other month rather than once per quarter. With the volume of exciting news and new data center related solutions, the additional opportunities to provide mission critical news to our clients is welcomed. As mentioned in our May newsletter, PTS continues to expand upon our unique position as an integrated facility and IT consultancy by providing useful information for both disciplines.

This month we focus on two hot topics in our solutions showcase:

  • Facility – Facility Business Strategy Consulting: Our latest strategic new service can be succinctly stated as “To COLO Or Not To COLO”. PTS’ new Data Center Facility Business Strategy Consulting Solution supports a strategic philosophy under consideration by many business and operational managers — when the time comes does it make sense to expand your existing facility, build a new facility, or move to a colocation facility? Make sure to check this section out.
  • IT – Storage & Data Deduplication: In a continuing effort to provide best-in-class storage and ancillary solution, we are highlighting two exciting products in our IT Solutions Showcase. The Compellent Fluid Data Storage and the ExaGrid Systems Disk-based Backup solutions are excellent enterprise-level solutions which achieve enhanced storage utilization and scalability and ultimately reduce overall storage-related operational and management costs in the data center.

In addition to the Solutions Showcases, we continue to release interesting new white papers and are busy with quotes in various online and print media. Visit the PTS white paper download section to learn more about new white papers and click here to see what’s new for PTS in the news. The news section also highlights several exciting upcoming events including a Data Center Consolidation, Storage & Data Protection seminar in September co-sponsored with Compellent and ExaGrid.

As always, please think of us for your next data center project — whether it is infrastructure, facility, or IT related.

Pete Sacco
President & Founder
PTS Data Center Solutions, Inc
Experts For Your Always Available Data Center

The PTS Data Center Solutions Showcase – Data Center Facility  Business Strategy Consulting
Everyday we come across statements such as “Will We Still Be Building Data Centers in 10 Years?” or “If Your Data Center Space is Less Than 20K Square-Feet You Should be in a COLO Facility”. Some of what you read in the trade journals and blogs is true in terms of costs, reliability, etc. However, it is critical to fully understand the impact of a “make versus buy” or, in this case, build/expand versus colocate decision.

PTS has recently launched a Data Center Facility Business Strategy Consulting offering which leverages our experience in data center analysis, surveys, design, build, commissioning, and colocation to support clients searching for an answer to the question “To COLO Or Not To COLO”!

PTS consultants consider:

  • Levels of Required Redundancy
  • Span of Control
  • Planning Horizons
  • Budgetary Considerations
  • Appropriate Type of Facility Partner
  • Impact of Technology (i.e. Virtualization)

Although there are a number of variables involved in a decision, alas the ultimate decision whether to expand, build new, or migrate to a colocation facility comes down to two basic strategic questions: 1. What is the philosophy within the enterprise for ownership? Specifically, where does the control lie? Are business managers comfortable with potentially losing control of mission critical resources? 2. How does the organization want to finance its IT operations? In other words, would it be better to invest in facility capital to build or expand existing facilities or would the enterprise rather expense or “rent” space?

The following diagram shows the Network Design Alternatives and the impact of control versus expense. PTS provides detailed analysis, investigation, financial justification, and strategic thought to help business managers make the best decision for their organizations.

To learn more about PTS Data Center Facility Business Strategy Consulting Click Here.

The PTS Data Center Solutions Showcase –
Storage & Data Deduplication
PTS continues to build upon our Storage & Data Protection Consulting Services aimed at providing the right storage solution for our client’s needs. Therefore, the IT-side of this month’s Solutions Showcase provides an overview of our newest storage and data deduplication solutions.

Compellent Fluid Data Storage solutions and ExaGrid Systems Disk-Based Backup with Dedeplication solutions add additional depth to the PTS storage portfolio.

Compellent Fluid Data Storage

With a powerful data movement engine, intelligent software applications, and an open, agile hardware platform, Fluid Data storage is an enterprise-class solution which actively and intelligently manages data at a more granular level to cut cost, time, and risk.

Fluid Data storage dynamically moves enterprise data to the optimal tier based on actual use. The most active blocks reside on high-performance SSD, Fibre Channel, or SAS drives, while infrequently accessed data migrates to lower-cost, high-capacity SAS or SATA drives. The result is network storage that’s always in tune with application needs, plus overall storage costs cut by up to 80%

The Fluid Data storage intelligent software applications enables enterprises of all sizes to move beyond simply storing data to actively, intelligently managing data. Powerful network storage software with built-in intelligence and automation optimizes the provisioning, placement and protection of data throughout its lifecycle.

Unlike network storage systems that require organizations to rip and replace hardware as business needs change, Compellent storage uses standards-based hardware and supports new technologies on a single, modular platform. Users can mix and match drive technologies such as SSD, FC, SAS and SATA, and utilize a range of interconnects – from FC to FCOE and iSCSI to 10GbE. Plus, fully redundant hardware components and advanced failover features ensure no single point of failure for high enterprise data availability.

To learn more about Fluid Data Storage, Click Here.

ExaGrid Systems Disk-Based Backup with Deduplication

ExaGrid’s EX Series disk-based backup with deduplication revolutionizes how organizations backup and protect their data. By leveraging your current backup application and replacing tape in your nightly backup process, ExaGrid’s simple, turnkey appliance can:

  • Reduce the disk space required by at least 10:1, and up to 50:1
  • Shorten your backup window by 30-90%, ensuring all of your data is fully protected
  • Improve your disaster recovery plan through off-site disk-based retention of your data
  • Reduce the amount of time your IT staff spends on managing backups
  • Scale easily and cost-effectively with your data growth
  • Fully protect your virtualized environment
  • Reduce other costs associated with tape-based backup

The six core ExaGrid disk-based backup appliances include GRID computing software which allows them to virtualize into one another when plugged into a switch. As a result, any of the six appliance models can be mixed and matched into a single GRID system with full backup capacities up to 100TB (6 PB logical). Once virtualized, they appear as a single pool of long-term capacity. Capacity load balancing of all data across servers is automatic, and multiple GRID systems can be combined for additional capacity. Even though data is load-balanced, deduplication occurs across the systems so that data migration does not cause a loss of effectiveness in deduplication.
ExaGrid’s unique approach to scalability provides the following benefits:

  • Performance is maintained as your data grows – each additional ExaGrid server added to a system provides disk, processor, memory and GigE
  • Plug and play expansion – adding an additional ExaGrid server is as simple as plugging it in and letting ExaGrid’s automatic virtualized GRID software do the rest
  • Cost-Effective and Flexible Solution with No “Forklift” Upgrades – no need to over-buy storage capacity up front – modular systems are easily combined in a virtualized GRID to smoothly scale up for larger capacities as needed with no painful “forklift” upgrades.
  • Capacity utilization is load-balanced across servers – as a single server reaches full utilization, it can leverage space available on other servers in the GRID

To learn more about the ExaGrid EX Series, Click Here.

PTS Education & White Papers
Check out the latest white papers added to our website! We’re sure there will be some interesting content for your reading pleasure.

For up-to-the-minute educational information don’t forget to check out the PTS Blog – Data Center Design and consider joining the LinkedIn Computer Room Design Group. We do all we can to keep up-to-date on the latest industry trends and look to share this information with you!

New and interesting white papers available for download at the PTS site include:

Power Distribution Units (PDUs): Power monitoring and environmental monitoring to improve uptime and capacity planning (by Raritan). Corporate America is more dependent than ever on computing resources to handle everything from mission-critical financial transaction applications to storing vast amounts of patient information. Data center facilities are under increasing pressure to flawlessly add significant, reliable computing power whether the data center is experiencing rapid growth, consolidating from multiple locations or trying to extract more capacity out of an existing space.

This white paper explores the challenges of increasing computing power in both an inflexible and resource-constrained physical space, as well as centers that are experiencing high growth. Raritan also explores how companies can employ emerging support technology – like intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) – to help manage server uptime and capacity planning. Click here for the full white paper.

Economizer Fundamentals – Smart Approaches to Energy-Efficient Free-Cooling for Data Centers (by Emerson Network Power). The strategic business importance of today’s data center requires a more complex and thoughtful approach to environmental control planning than ever before. Intelligent control to maintain the data center environment within acceptable ranges for temperature and humidity is essential for efficient data center operation, integral to protecting the significant financial investment in computer and network technology, and key to preventing downtime that can cost millions and drive away customers.

Economizers – with their promise of “free-cooling” – are attracting much attention for their ability to reduce energy usage. Economizers also lessen wear and tear on precision cooling equipment and lower operating costs. However, when considering the use of an economizer system, care must be taken to avoid introducing new problems that result in achieving the goal of reducing energy consumption at the expense of data center availability. Click here for the full white paper.

Leveraging a Persistent Hardware Architecture (by Compellent). Many enterprises looking to increase the flexibility, improve the scalability, enhance the availability and reduce the costs of data storage have turned to storage area networks (SANs). Yet traditional hardware vendors have failed to deliver on the promise of SANs. By relying on proprietary hardware designs, imposing restrictions on the types of technology that can be used and prohibiting customers from mixing and matching different drive and interconnect technologies, these vendors doom their products to early obsolescence and force their customers into costly forklift upgrades.

This white paper reviews the new Compellent Fluid Data storage design which uses an open, non-proprietary hardware architecture. This architecture enables businesses to continuously integrate new disk drive, switch, and network interface technologies without having to replace existing hardware or software. This persistent hardware architecture allows administrators to configure storage systems using a combination of select industry-standard components for optimum flexibility, scalability and availability. Click here for the full white paper.

Optimizing Backup and Data Protection in Virtualized Environments (by ExaGrid Systems). The promise of maximizing IT investments while minimizing complexity has resulted in widespread adoption of server virtualization. In fact, VMware users are now deploying nearly half of their new servers as virtual servers, rather than as physical servers. That said, rapid adoption of server virtualization has brought with it a variety of challenges in backup and data protection.

While server virtualization does result in additional backup and data protection challenges, many of these challenges can be mitigated via a disk-based backup solution with data deduplication. There are a variety of these types of solutions in the market, however, each with their own approach. This white paper analyzes the disk-based backup and data deduplication segment and provides readers with specific items for consideration prior to purchase. Click here for the full white paper.

In the News
Managing the Infrastructure Management Elephant

Mission Critical Magazine

July 1, 2010

(This recently released white paper was published in its entirety by Mission Critical Magazine.) 

Failure to manage is often the elephant in the room when troubleshooting data center problems. Asking six data center managers to define infrastructure management is a sure way 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, he came to the conclusion that the elephant was like a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan, and a rope. In the end, they were all wrong. Just as an elephant is more than the sum of its parts, a true data center management solution is more than the sum of the various infrastructure management tool sets.

To Download the Full White Paper, Please Click Here 

Physical Access To The Data Center

Restricting Who Can Enter The Facility Is Key  

May 21, 2010 · Vol.32 Issue 11
“The only people who should have unrestricted data center access are those who are critical and have been trained in all aspects of the data center, both IT and facility,” says Pete Sacco, Founder and President of PTS Data Center Solutions. “Everybody else should be there with an escort and watched. All the time, I see people who have their electrical or air conditioning systems serviced and just leave the contractor alone to do his thing. Nobody checks on him. Nobody even makes sure the maintenance was done. Noncritical access should be like scuba diving. It’s a two-man effort.”

Budget For Power & Cooling
Efficient, Effective Financial Strategies That Won’t Break The Bank

May 11, 2010 · Vol.32 Issue 11

“For better cooling, take a look at how the room is insulated,” notes Peter Sacco, President of PTS Data Center Solutions. “Have sufficient insulation between the computer room and adjacent spaces, especially where windows or outside walls are considered. It might be advantageous to get rid of windows altogether, he adds, because they tend to have a solar heat gain potential.”

Create A Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle Setup
Tap Into More Effective Cooling By Developing An Aisle Setup That Works For Your SME

May 11, 2010 · Vol.32 Issue 11

“Also, keep in mind that one size doesn’t fit all,” says Peter Sacco, President of PTS Data Center Solutions. “What may work in one area may not be appropriate in another space. There are few fixes that work for all instances,” he says. “However, any that reduce air mixing and promote effective air management are always a good idea.”

Five Ways To Reduce Data Center Power Consumption SearchCIO

May 3, 2010

Balancing the data center power load correctly can be a key way to realize extra power capacity in the facility. Pete Sacco, President of PTS Data Center Solutions, said that “when many data centers install their three-phase uninterruptible power supplies (UPSes), they end up plugging it into a power panel in a way that doesn’t maximize potential. In particular, they might plug too much equipment into the “A” phase of the panel when there is plenty of capacity on the “B” and “C” phases. If I have loads of 186, 52 and 31 amps on my phases, I know that I can take loads off of A and spread them to B and C,” he said. “I’ve actually done nothing to deliver more power. I’ve just load-balanced it.”

About PTS Data Center Solutions

Founded in 1998, PTS Data Center Solutions is a premier data center design firm and turnkey solutions provider, offering a broad range of project experience, specializing in designing data centers, computer rooms and technical spaces that integrate “best-of-breed”, critical infrastructure technologies and result in continuously available, scalable, redundant, fault-tolerant, manageable, and maintainable mission critical environments.