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Eco-Sustainability through Unified Physical Infrastructures

October 26, 2009

As businesses grow, they are faced with the inherent technological challenges that accompany the addition of both headcount and physical footprint - namely, the task of effectively integrating disparate systems and technologies to create a single, unified environment to enable collaboration, business process efficiency, and cost effectiveness.   This holds equally for large enterprises looking to consolidate several large data centers and for smaller, mid-market businesses looking to consolidate their facilities into a single corporate headquarters - like Thornhill, Ontario, Canada-based MMM Group did.   MMM Group had, over five years, grown organically and by acquisition, and had managed to make do by bandaging together its disparate networks and management platforms, but realized this was highly inefficient from a cost and a business process perspective. So, it made the strategic decision to build out a new facility to house the majority of its staff and technology under one roof and a single network architecture.   Of course, MMM Group needed a reliable solution that would provide it the performance and reliability it required, but it also needed to ensure operational efficiency and environmental awareness - but keys to long-term sustainability. Along with operational sustainability, scalability was a key consideration, so that its new data center would be able to accommodate expected continued growth, including system upgrade and expansion.   MMM Group chose Panduit as a partner for its data center build-out, primarily because its unified physical infrastructure approach closely aligned with MMM Group's own ideal of a single, converged network to manage and control all of its network-based systems, including communications, computing, power, control, and security. The goal was to provide a smarter physical infrastructure that would provide the foundation for reliable real-time access to the resources delivered by the logical infrastructure layer, including the integration of all of MMM Group's IP network, including VoIP, video and data, wireless connectivity, security systems, and building access control.   MMM Group, after struggling to achieve cost and operational efficiencies with its disparate staff and networks, realized that its continued success would be dependent upon its ability to build a flexible infrastructure that would ensure real-time availability of applications and services, maintain compliance with industry standards and regulations, reduce power and cooling costs, increase environmental awareness and long-term sustainability, and increase operational efficiency.   Read more about how Panduit helps mid-market enterprises evolve their infrastructures to accomplish all of these goals.

Panduit's Living Lab for UPI-based Data Centers

October 25, 2009

Green technology is quickly becoming a focus across enterprises - the question is, are businesses veiling their cost cutting measures as green initiatives or are they truly looking to become environmentally conscious. Panduit's vice president of global marketing Vineeth Ram, believes it's a combination of the two: nearly every business is focusing on the short term (i.e., cost reduction), but there is also increasing pressure to "do the right thing" from an environmental aspect, which actually delivers long-term savings in the way of sustainability.   In a recent video interview, Ram says that the key is really to turn "greenness" into a process, which is what Panduit is reinforcing with its unified physical infrastructure approach. Panduit recognizes that the tangible elements of green IT, like power and cooling conservation and footprint reduction, provide both short- and long-term benefits.   Panduit has built "green" into its overall approach to its data center products and solutions, including working with its partner ecosystem to create the most effective solutions for its customers, but Ram notes that, while it can deliver significant short-term benefits, the idea of a unified physical infrastructure is really designed to provide a long-term sustainability roadmap. This includes an integrated physical infrastructure that can easily adapt to new logical system components - a critical feature since physical layer components typically have a useful life three times that of logical layer elements.   Demonstrating the benefits of a UPI-based data center, Panduit has designed its new corporate headquarters using UPI-based solutions that span the entire facility and its various converged systems. Ram says the new facility will demonstrate what a unified physical infrastructure can deliver in terms of driving the benefits related to power and cooling, footprint reduction, efficiency, management, and sustainability,   "This is going to be living lab," he says. "It's going to be a proof point for the unified physical infrastructure."   For more on how Panduit is driving green technology through its UPI vision, watch the video with Vineeth Ram, and listen to a recent interview with Panduit's Anil Maheshwari about eco-sustainable enterprises.

Panduit's Inlet Duct System for Optimized Cooling in Data Centers

October 18, 2009

Data centers are rapidly becoming a more critical - perhaps the most critical - part of enterprises' overall infrastructures. They house the information and applications that are required to maintain operations and, as such, must not only provide realizable access to their resources, but are also becoming a key target for ways to increase operational efficiencies and reduce overall operational costs. Today's smart businesses have realized that the key to their long-term sustainability is a smart data center.   Panduit's Net-Access line of data center cabinets are part of the company's greater initiative to drive operational efficiencies, reliability, and cost-effectiveness in data centers, along with supporting Green IT initiatives globally. The Net-Access line is designed to optimize the benefits data centers received when they subscribe to Panduit's unified physical infrastructure vision and is a key component for supporting long-term sustainability.   The Net-Access line includes passive cooling solutions - those that don't require additional power resources to create greater efficiency - like passive ducting, which create as much as a 25 percent increase in thermal efficiency.   Recently, Panduit announced it new inlet duct system designed to increase the amount of cool air to 1RU switches by providing a direct path to the air intakes on the sides of the switches. This increase cooling capability will help efficiently cool switches in the Net-Access cabinets, which now are designed to house 45RU (as opposed to the traditional 42RU). The inlet duct system has also been proven compatible with Cisco's Catalyst 4948, 4928, and 4924 switches, providing an instant benefit to Panduit customers deploying Cisco infrastructure - Cisco is one of Panduit's key strategic partners is driving sustainability, reliability, and efficiency in data centers.   The new cabinet features provide added incentive to data centers looking to cut costs while driving operational efficiencies, and are a critical part of data center design and deployment, because they typically have three times the lifespan of the switches and servers they house. At a time when cost savings are as crucial to business success, the ability to save on power through more efficient cooling makes more sense than ever.   For more, read Erin Harrison's article on the inlet duct system, and visit the Smart Data Centers community for more on how Panduit is driving data center efficiency and reliability.

E-Cycling Nortel Gear

October 2, 2009

Jeff Wiener's excellent The TelecomBlog.com contains a prescient entry discussing and a pic showing old Nortel phones going into an Avaya box. Prescient in that Avaya is awaiting word from the Canadian government whether it can complete its $915 million purchase of Nortel's enterprise division.

Jeff, who writes TMC's The Canadan Angle blog explains that Avaya gives his firm Digitcom, which is based in Toronto, Ontario "some amazing credits for the old Nortel hardware. We pack it up, call Fedex, and say good-bye to our old faithful friend who finds its way to an e-waste processing plant."

Avaya, and other manufacturers, should get ready to expect to receive more Nortel e-waste now that once-vaunted communications equipment maker is being dismembered at the same time more firms are switching to VoIP, softphones, hosted platforms, and smartphones. 

While Avaya will if it is successful continue to support the Nortel lines, and the sets that are out there are for the most part rugged and well made the writing is on the wall for them. 

After all, what is a better time and reason than now to buy or get the budget approval to switch to that new IP phone that you've always wanted? While the economy is still slack, the prices are reasonable, and the sellers are hungry?

The interesting question from an environmental perspective is how much new junk will be produced per employee with these new technologies compared with the old ones.









Trends Shaping the Next Generation Data Center

September 28, 2009

As enterprises grow, their requirements for access to data center applications and services grows at least as quickly, which is driving many of businesses to build out new data centers or enhance the capabilities of their existing ones.   Underlying this general trend, which includes data center optimization, increased efficiency, and risk mitigation via a converged physical infrastructure such as that defined by Panduit, are several other factors that are resulting in data center executives to look closely at how they are developing their data centers.   During a recent videocast focusing on data center evolution, Garter research vice president Mark Fabbi outlined four trends that are helping drive next generation data center design: regulation and compliance, flexibility and agility, cost, and Green IT - all of which are pushing data centers toward a three-step process that includes consolidation, virtualization, and automation.   Regulation and Compliance In order to meet regulatory requirements, most data centers are looking to increase their control over data through centralization of storage and servers, which is driving many of the consolidation projects - which are an ideal opportunity to leverage Panduit's ideal of a converged, all-IP physical infrastructure.    Flexibility and Agility On its surface, the need for more real-time access to data and services from more places, including mobile and remote workers, seems to contradict the desire for increased control. However, the growing movement toward virtualization and automation is helping achieve both goals.   Cost Savings The down economy, which seemingly has flattened out somewhat, only heightened an existing movement to cut costs across businesses, and resulted in an increased need to justify investments, perhaps more than ever before. Consolidation, virtualization, and automation are well suited to helping lower data center CAPEX and OPEX.   Green IT There is a global movement towards eco-friendly technologies, partially as a function of cost saving initiatives, but it also involves other, global environmental issues that more and more businesses are considering as they make technology decisions. This also increases the focus on consolidation, virtualization, and automation.   Each of these trends is helping drive consolidation, virtualization, and automation. Consolidation allows for the sharing of assets between resources, so they can be repurposed for multiple uses. Then, virtualization and automation can be leveraged to allow faster, easier access to resources to increase operational efficiency across the enterprise, along with cost savings. They also play well into Green IT initiatives, as they help decrease the physical footprint of data center technology, and are designed to reduce power consumption and, consequently, cooling requirements.   These four trends, which represent the changing requirements placed on data centers, combine to increase the focus data center infrastructure components, particularly as the interact with one another. Specifically, with the ever-changing requirements being placed on data center assets, the infrastructure must be able to accommodate that evolution without having to be re-engineered each time.    That requires insight into the entire infrastructure, including not only the applications and other assets, but the servers and switches, cabling, security, power and cooling, and all other components that allow the data center to operate efficiently. In other words, the physical infrastructure becomes a moving part in the business process, rather than a static transport mechanism, which requires a holistic approach to designing, deploying, and managing the entire data center.   That's where Panduit, along with its partners is making a difference by adding intelligence into the data center to allow it to become more agile, more efficient, and more cost effective. According to Fabbi, infrastructure vendors must have a broad, comprehensive range of solutions to address the many data center systems that must be integrated into a single, united entity. Panduit and its partners bring those end-to-end solutions to the data center market, driving tighter integration between not only data center infrastructure systems, but also between the data center end the enterprise businesses they support.   Watch to full videocast to see more of how Gartner views data center evolution, and how Panduit and some of its partners are addressing data center pain points to help them become more agile, more cost effective, and more operationally efficient.   For more on Panduit's UPI vision, and its high-speed transport and green data center solutions, visit the Smart Data Centers community.   

The Ultimate Cash For Clunkers: Trading Traditional Offices For Home Offices

September 25, 2009

Forget about turning in old gas guzzlers for slightly more efficient vehicular monsters. 

If governments want a 'cash for clunkers' deal that will really have a positive green impact, both environmentally and in keeping money in taxpayers' wallets, they should offer to take over office space leases and buildings--prioritizing on those in car-oriented 'office parks'--in exchange for organizations sending their workforces to home offices.

Governments can then recycle the spaces, working with the owners and real estate firms (and giving them tax breaks to get their buy-in), for other uses: i.e. schools, hospitals, child/eldercare facilities--including tearing them down and cleaning them up to create parks or market gardens. Or they can flip these buildings and land around as brownfield sites, driving property prices so low to make greenfield development i.e. sprawl not attractive.



Going Green Advice From DMG Consulting

September 16, 2009

Donna Fluss, president, DMG Consulting is one of the most common-sense, practical, and passionate contact center experts that I've met and have interacted with in my 14 years covering and working in this space.

In that same vein she has come out in her latest newsletter with this advice on going green for contact centers--but applicable to most other organizations. Here it is, in her words:


"Over the last two years I've seen hundreds of articles about 'going green.' I've been invited to more "green conferences" than I can count, and been asked to suggest 'green KPIs.' Saving the planet by reducing waste and pollution is a great goal, but what does "going green" really mean for contact centers and how much of a difference will it make? 

"Fads come and go, but some have real value, and 'going green"'is one of them, particularly if you think of it as eliminating waste.


CDW Report: Energy Efficient IT Yield Savings, Yet Millions Are Still Wasted (and Environment Harmed)

September 9, 2009

A new, and telling, report by CDW on energy efficient IT is at first glance is positive, that more firms are successfully doing more to boost energy efficiency, and those that do achieve savings that ultimately translate into fewer dangerous emissions from their operations. 

Yet the report also reveals that efficiency too often takes a back seat to other considerations like purchase price. A point that serves as a stark reminder that unless the costs and subsequent financial pain of pollution--and this blog has outlined them in spades--is felt by the users i.e. those who pollute directly and indirectly no real progress will be made to stabilize let alone clean up the environment.

Here are highlights:

Cash For Comm Clunkers A Truly Green Solution

August 26, 2009

Kudos to companies such as Grandstream, MegaPath, and Netsuite for offering and to Rich Tehrani in his blog for raising and promoting what will turn out to be a much more effective 'cash for clunkers' campaign: turning in old legacy PSTN/TDM equipment and obsolete premises-based solutions for IP and where appropriate hosted tools and recycling them to avoid e-waste. 

The cash for clunkers in the comm industry will arguably be more effective in that this one doesn't involve governments, subsidies, and kowtowing to special interests. The Sierra Club has criticized what had started out to be a well-intentioned program into 'support for gas guzzlers'. Money allocated for this program has arguably come at the expense of more efficient mass transit. While there has been stimulus money to build new systems, agencies are being starved to buy vehicles and operating funds to provide services. 

In contrast going to software-based IP and hosted means less goods that have to be manufactured from raw resources that must be extracted and processed, and lowered transportation costs and the consequent environmental consequences at all stages.



Commuting A Pain In More Ways Than One

August 21, 2009

Commuting is bad for the environment. Emissions from vehicles both directly and indirectly through fossil-fueled and river-befouling power plants, and from construction and maintenance combined with open space land grabs combine to form a toxic stew that is slowly killing us. Something to keep in mind as a reality check during the insane U.S. healthcare debate and the endless go-rounds what to do about the costs and doctor shortages in Canada.

Transportation typically accounts for 1/3 of emissions, and motor vehicles at 2/3rds of that.

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