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Panduit's PIM Software Calls the Plays in the Data Center

November 5, 2009

Today's data centers are leveraging the same IP networking solutions most businesses are deploying for converged communications capabilities - and with good reason. Converged networking allows for more effective and simplified resource management, increased security, significant cost savings, and support of environmental initiatives.   But, to win the benefits of a converged data center environment - Panduit's UPI vision - a converged physical infrastructure must be supported by appropriate management software. Why?   Let's look at the offensive unit on a football team. There are eleven players, each with his own unique responsibilities based on position and in-game situations. Those responsibilities are defined by a playbook, which not only accounts for ideal circumstances, but also contingencies based on what the defensive team does.    Without the playbook, the center would snap the ball, and the quarterback and the rest of the players on his team would have to decide on their own what routes to run, how to block, and how to react to defensive schemes - the likelihood of a successful play being minimal.   On the other hand, calling predefined plays from the playbook indentifies the responsibilities for each play for each player, from blocking schemes to pass routes, and even contingency plans for different defensive schemes, including blitzes. Suddenly, with all eleven players acting as a collective unit and knowing what each of the other ten players is doing, the success rate does up exponentially.   Think of the playbook as the management platform in a data center - it allows the infrastructure (team) to operate effectively and adapt to changing circumstances in a manner that is consistent with the other elements of the infrastructure. When a security breach (blitz), for instance, has been identified, it defines how to effectively mitigate that risk so the data canter can continue to operate effectively.   The intelligence that is built into today's data center network requires the visibility and flexibility of an integrated management platform in order to function as a cohesive unit. Panduit's PIM (Physical Infrastructure Manager) solution provides that same capability to identify, isolate, and react to connectivity changes in the data center's physical infrastructure, which is critical to supporting the overall business objectives of the enterprise, because it enables access to the data center resources.    Panduit, in fact, has not only developed the solution to support its partners and customers, but has built its own new LEED certified world headquarters based on its UPI vision, supported by its PIM software.   Read more here about the benefits of Panduit's PIM solution, and how it helps deliver the winning proposition of a unified physical infrastructure.

Business Operations Depend on Physical Infrastructure Manager

November 5, 2009

With the convergence of communications media onto converged all-IP networks, the task of managing those networks effectively becomes significantly more critical to the livelihood of any business. Now, if there are issues with the network infrastructure, the entire business effectively comes to a standstill, since all communications runs on that single, converged network.   On the other hand, because the network is built on a single integrated infrastructure, management platforms have been developed that simplify the management and troubleshooting of the end-to-end network infrastructures, increasing their reliability and security.   For data center environments, which are the central hub of business operations, storing and providing access to data and applications, management solutions must be in place not only for the logical infrastructure, but, more importantly, for the physical layer as well, because it controls access to the logical layer and its resources.   Fortunately, the convergence of physical infrastructures onto all-IP networks enables the unification of physical layer systems - computing, communications, power, control, and security - that collectively enable the data center to support business operations. The principle behind a unified physical infrastructure is to drive operational efficiency, mitigate risk, and lower capital and operational costs by eliminating physical and operational redundancies through an integrated infrastructure.   It's only natural, then, that to fully realize the potential of a UPI-based design, a management system must be in place to handle all of the infrastructure systems, which have traditionally operated on disparate networks with their own unique management platforms. That's what Panduit's Physical Infrastructure Manager software has been created specifically for - to deliver on the promise of the company's UPI vision.   Effective management of a UPI-based data center requires end-to-end visibility into the various elements, which is among the key features of Panduit's PIM solution. Real-time monitoring of the end-to-end physical infrastructure - including 24/7/365 patch field scanning - provides insight into the activities within the infrastructure at all times, allowing data center IT staff to effectively monitor, configure, and troubleshoot any real and potential connectivity issues.   With such visibility, and ability to isolate and repair connectivity issues rapidly, enterprises are assured of increased network uptime and availability of all data center assets, allowing their operations to function at maximum efficiency at all times.   Read more about how Panduit's PIM solution enables real-time end-to-end visibility into the physical layer infrastructure here, and for more on the PIM platform and Panduit's UPI vision, check out the extensive resources on the Smart Data Centers community on TMCnet.

PIM: Ensuring Data Center Resource Availability

November 1, 2009

When it comes to business success, there is little that can damage a business' reputation than the quality of its network and access to its resources. Specifically, network downtime, resulting in an inability to access data and applications, can have the same detrimental impact as poor customer service.   To help drive efficient operations, enterprises are upgrading their data center to operate more efficiently and more cost effectively, and to be more environmentally friendly, and to generally support the data and application requirements of their operations, including providing access to those resources from a growing range of fixed and mobile devices.   Among the ways they are achieving resource optimization and operational efficiencies is through what Panduit calls a unified physical infrastructure. That is, they are leveraging IP networking solutions to enable all data center physical systems to run on a single converged network, allowing for more efficient resource utilization and management.    Naturally, simply running the entire infrastructure on a single network platform provides cost savings in a variety of ways but, in order to derive maximum benefit, a single, integrated management platform must also be deployed that allows visibility into the converged network and its assets, to increase performance and ensure network availability.   Panduit's Physical Infrastructure Manager (PIM) software, designed to integrate into a flexible UPI-based design, provides that visibility, offering end-to-end visibility and enabling both manual and automated features to ensure that network resources are optimized and to troubleshoot any real of potential points of failure.   Importantly, the PIM solution also integrates easily into existing management software, allowing those platforms to be brought under a single management umbrella for efficiency, while increasing the value of those solutions rather than requiring investment in and training on new software.   As data center technology continues to evolve, and as enterprises resource needs continue to grow, the strain on their data centers will only increase. A UPI-based approach will allow them the flexibility to grow, while reducing operational costs and, in many cases, reducing physical footprint through strategic consolidation.   But, the success of such projects will ultimately rest with the ability to manage the data center's physical infrastructure in a way that will ensure connectivity to its logical infrastructure. Without that connectivity, any cost savings and operational efficiency will be for naught.   Read more about Panduit's UPI vision and its PIM solution on the Smart Data Centers community.    

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 and Oracle: Unifying the Entire Enterprise Infrastructure

October 18, 2009

For those you who have been following the latest developments at Panduit, you'll know a key focus for the company is driving efficiency in data center environments through the concept of a unified physical infrastructure. The concept allows for more efficient resource utilization and management, resulting in increased operational and cost efficiencies as well a more reliable and sustainable infrastructure.   A key part of the initiative is to help drive eco-sustainability across entire enterprise infrastructures, which is something Panduit itself has made part of its corporate culture for more than 50 years, according to Anil Maheshwari, Director of Marketing at Panduit.   "Panduit embraces 'lean and green' as a core value, and we partner with companies to drive agility, sustainability, efficiency, and, in particular the green IT element, which we drive through savings in power, cooling, space, and energy," Maheshwari told TMC's Amy Tierney in a recent podcast interview.   Panduit's solutions drive unification in the physical layer of the data center, but its work in driving that extends beyond its own solutions, and even beyond the physical infrastructure, to helping businesses unify their logical infrastructures as well.   Even in its own facilities, Panduit leverages Oracle's solutions to streamline operations and drive eco-sustainability. By working in a paperless order processing environment, for instance, it has saved more than 2.2 million pages of paper. Using Oracle software, is also is able to ensure conformity to ISO and ROHS standards for more efficient operations across its global facilities.   "Our company's whole culture has been around resource savings and efficiencies, so we have been a good example of a socially responsible and resource-efficient company," says Maheshwari.   As a testament to its use of Oracle software to drive eco-friendliness, Panduit was named a winner of Oracle's "Enable the Eco-Enterprise Awards" recently. Through a combination of Oracle software and its own UPI-based solutions, Panduit has established itself as a model for eco-sustainable businesses worldwide.   Business that are already using Oracle to unify and consolidate operations at the logical layer can now extend similar efficiencies to their physical infrastructures leveraging Panduit technologies to build on the savings and process improvements they achieve with Oracle. Combing solutions from the two companies, businesses can achieve a completely integrated network infrastructure across the entire enterprise.   "This award validates our strategy," Maheshwari told Tierney. "People are recognizing the value of UPI-based solutions to drive agility, efficiency, flexibility, reliability, sustainability. This helps us a lot in getting the word out."   To hear more about how Panduit is leveraging Oracle solutions to benefit its customers, listen to the podcast here, and for more on how Panduit is helping enterprises create more efficient and sustainable data centers, visit the Smart Data Centers micro-site on TMCnet.

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.

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.   

Panduit and EMC Combine to Increase Data Center Efficiency

September 26, 2009

As the adoption of IP-based communications technologies continues to grow, the convergence of voice, video, and data traffic over a single media IP enables is creating a need for businesses to improve their system uptime and overall service levels across their networks. That necessarily includes their data centers, which, as more advanced and robust applications are developed, also increased bandwidth needs as they become mission critical elements of a successful enterprise.   Of course, with the increased focus data centers receive due to their critical nature, they also become a greater part of enterprise cost saving initiatives.   Combining the need to optimize data center performance and increase their security with the need to reduce operational expenses, Panduit has been focusing on methods to consolidate data center physical infrastructures in a way that will meet all of these needs, along with creating more energy efficient and eco-friendly "smart data centers."   The approach is embodied in its Unified Physical Infrastructure vision, or UPI, which, as TMC's Erin Harrison writes, "leverages intelligent physical infrastructures as the foundation to enable convergence across communication, computing, control, power, and security systems." Those five components, as Panduit's vice president of global marketing Vineeth Ram explains, are part of any data center operation, and can be tightly integrated under a single, unified management system to increase operation effectiveness and create a more energy efficient environment.   A key part of driving operational efficiency and minimizing risk lies in the ability to automate processes. Panduit has recently enabled integration of its PIM (Physical Infrastructure Manager) software with EMC's Ionix software to facilitate increased visibility and control of physical infrastructure components.    Panduit's software provides a Web-based utility for automating the documentation of network connectivity, change notification, asset management and reporting, and virtual server mapping. EMC's Ionix further enhances automation by enabling efficient and effective management of both physical and virtual layers, including networks, storage systems, servers, and applications.   By delivering real-time data on the connectivity status of network infrastructure to EMC Ionix, Panduit and EMC helps enable more efficient monitoring, management, and automation of network tasks. The combined solution helps network administrators react quickly to alarm situations, manage configuration changes, apply policy settings, ensure compliance, and generally adapt quickly to evolving connectivity requirements.   The collaboration helps drive the UPI vision, and allows businesses to improve their data center reliability, reduce operational expenses, become more agile and sustainable, and drive Green IT initiatives, especially as they continue to leverage virtualization and cloud computing strategies.   Read more about Panduit's UPI vision and the solutions it has developed to drive that vision to market on the Smart Data Centers community.  

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.

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