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Data Center Trends

FIGure It Out: An Interview with Andy Soodek of Secure Compliance Solutions

This year, we will be taking time each month to interview professionals from various fields of work that relate to the data center. Through these interviews, we will be asking questions that directly relate to decisions you would make for your own business so you don't have to. This month we spoke to Andy Soodek of Secure Compliance Solutions about the risks of cloud security breaches and what can be done to help prevent them.


 

Can you explain Managed Security as a Service?

Andy Soodek: Managed Security is basically outsourced management of systems and network security.  Good security requires constant watch,  recognizing that today’s interconnected computer systems come with a wide variety of threats, both internal and external.  Security frameworks (NIST, ISO, PCI DSS) recommend, and data privacy laws (HIPAA, GLBA, GDPR) require continuous security monitoring.  We employ dedicated software and hardware tools that monitor systems environments for security violations (“events”).  A managed security service depends on skilled Security Engineers and Analysts, who apply their contextual understanding to: a) determine whether an event is real, and to: b) choose the best response to an Incident that will most quickly restore systems to a “normal” operating state.  Over time, and with careful system observation, security personnel tune security systems to strengthen defenses and make risk mitigation recommendations, in accordance with the client’s security strategy and business objectives.

 

security spiralmatrix

When should a company look for an outside resource to help in matters of security and compliance?

AS: Some clients come to us after they have been attacked or breached.  We investigate what happened and make recommendations to prevent a repeat occurrence of the Incident.  However, if the company hasn’t prepared for security Incidents (backups, system logs), we may be limited in what we can do. 

Other clients request our services, because they acknowledge they don’t possess the appropriate in-house skill sets to: a) properly define their cyber risks, b) establish appropriate cybersecurity strategy, c) raise organizational awareness of cyber risks, or d) implement and manage technical security solutions.  The clients that use our managed services acknowledge that the cost associated with maintaining a 24x7 security team is cost prohibitive and inefficient.  Those clients understand that we can deliver the necessary security expertise and attention to their networks, systems and emerging laws that may affect their operations at a fraction of the cost of employing a small army of security and compliance personnel.

 

What are the biggest risks customers will face with security in the cloud?

AS: The cloud represents tremendous opportunities for small and medium businesses to take advantage of systems that would have been priced out of their range if hosted onsite.  Certainly, cost savings, rapid deployment, scalability and availability are significant benefits to businesses of all sizes.  However, there are a number of risks.

  1. Widening Attack Surface – Migration to the cloud may mean additional locations where confidential data may be stored, transmitted or processed.  On shared platforms, your organization’s systems or data may not be a target of attack, but if an attacker targets the cloud service provider, or one of its clients, your operations may be impacted. 
  2. Release of Responsibilities - Many purchasers of cloud services rely too heavily on the cloud service providers to handle all management aspects of their systems.  In Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) arrangements, cloud administrators may support security elements of the infrastructure, but they won’t necessarily patch Operating System software or applications.

 

Which types of companies are mostly at risk for a security breach?

AS: Every company is at risk for security breaches.  We believe there are two types of company: 1) Those companies that have been attacked, and 2) those companies that haven’t been attacked yet. 

That being said, some industries that use personal data more than others may be the initial attack targets.  These include healthcare companies, social media sites, governments, etc.  If those organizations have a reputation for lax data privacy practices, Hacktivists (Hackers driven by causes) may target them more rigorously.  Critical Service Providers (power plants, water reclamation, mass transportation) may be attack targets, because of the potential mayhem to society that an attack could cause. 

datasecurity

We expect an increase in small business attacks, because attackers know that small business doesn’t have the resources to defend themselves like their larger counterparts.  What your readers should know is that hackers continuously scan internetworked environments for openings and vulnerabilities they can exploit.  Whether you think you are a target or not, you need to diligently maintain the systems in your environment.  Your systems may not prevent an attack, but if the systems are configured properly, they may help minimize the impact of attack and will definitely help you get back in business faster. 

 

 

 

Are there any security and compliance details that most companies overlook or neglect?

AS: Unfortunately, many company managers believe they are not particularly lucrative targets for attackers, so they don’t worry about security like they should.  Big media news covers big corporations that get attacked, because they are highly visible, and so many people are impacted by each breach. Small business doesn’t receive as much news coverage following breaches, so many small business managers don’t think they are targets.  The reality is that 40% of all cyber attacks are perpetrated against small and medium businesses. 

We see companies who have been breached, but they haven’t adequately prepared their environments to withstand attacks, or accidents.  Many well-meaning companies build controls and implement technical solutions, but then they don’t test them.  Waiting until after an attack or data breach to find out your backups aren’t working is the fastest way to end your employment, and maybe the organization. 

 

What is the most important aspect of security and compliance that every company should have covered at a minimum and why?

AS: Understand that security is not a “set it and forget it” exercise.  Cyber threats continually evolve.  Laws and regulations evolve.  Many companies throw lots of money at tactical point solutions that don’t cover the entire spectrum of threats.  Security requires a strategic mindset that includes cyber and privacy risks as critical components of overall business Risk.  Remember, it isn’t just the systems we are trying to secure.  We are trying to protect your business operation. 

If you don’t do anything else, at least make sure you have an Incident Response Plan.  60% of small-medium businesses cease operations within 6 months of a cyber-attack.  Not only is Incident Response planning a requirement of every security regulation and framework, the common understanding of how to respond to a security Incident may just save your company. 


 

Secure Compliance Solutions logoAbout Secure Compliance Solutions

Secure Compliance Solutions is the trusted security advisor for Chicagoland’s small-to-medium businesses. We offer a variety of services that promote a strengthened security posture and a culture of compliance. Our solutions include: risk advisory services, strategic cybersecurity planning, security and privacy awareness, regulatory guidance, penetration testing, and managed security services.  We tailor our engagements and solutions to align with your cultural needs and business objectives; not the other way around. We keep your appetite for risk, budget constraints, and timeline in mind to define strategy and operational tactics that maximize your return on investment. At SCS, we champion a Strategy of Readiness and Resilience.

www.securecompliance.co 

FIGure It Out: An Interview with Tim Peterson of RapidScale

This year, we will be taking time each month to interview professionals from various fields of work that relate to the data center. Through these interviews, we will be asking questions that directly relate to decisions you would make for your own business so you don't have to. This month we spoke to Tim Peterson, National Partner Director for RapidScale, about differing cloud myths and how businesses can integrate into the cloud regardless of any other cloud options they may already have.


 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to RapidScale?

Tim Peterson: I’ve been in the Agent world for 12+ years and am very excited to be at a managed cloud company that only does managed cloud. My previous experience was with carriers that were trying to be all things to all people. This was not successful for just about any company who attempted that strategy. In this day and age customers understand the benefits of a “best of breed” provider and thankfully put their trust in partners such as Facility IT Group to bring them the right solutions.

 

datacenter clouds small

How would you define RapidScale in one sentence?

TP: RapidScale is a full service Global Managed Cloud Provider that is nimble, easy to do business with, and puts the customer experience above anything else.

 

How do you respond to the claim that the cloud is temporary / not a permanent solution?

TP: Cloud may very well be temporary for a lot of companies. The cloud could help a business grow that has to expand quickly. That same company could very well bring their services back in house if they see that as a beneficial route. What we see in this situation though is that over time a service-based consumption model wins due to the many soft costs that often times are overlooked.

 

What is the best way for a company with no cloud experience to dip their toe in the water?

TP: One toe at a time...the best entry point to the cloud is moving email to the cloud. Whether that is via Office 365 or RapidScale Hosted Exchange this is a nice way to get your feet wet. The other great avenue is DR. Back up or replicate some servers to the cloud. Once you see how easy and reliable it is you’ll be ready to move it all.

 

If a company is already integrated into the cloud, how can RapidScale still help them?

TP: DR and backup jump out right away. Even if a customer has built an infrastructure in another cloud we can always provide a solid DR option.

 

tabletcloud small

 

 What is the best thing about moving to the cloud? What about the worst thing?

TP: The best thing about moving to the cloud is the ability to control costs and deploy services quickly. The flexibility you have in the cloud cannot be duplicated by an on-site infrastructure. The time and resources saved are almost immeasurable. The worst thing about the cloud is the confusion in the market place. Hyperscalers portray the image of an easy to manage environment but consumers need to be careful to go with a provider that they completely understand how to manage of find the right provider that can help them.

 

 

What is the product set that you showcase most to your customers/prospects and why?

TP: Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is our showcase product. We have been providing this service, powered by Citrix, for almost 10 years. The adoption of DaaS is still in it’s infancy but we are ready to provide customers with an outstanding experience. There are plenty of players in this market but none with the history of RapidScale. DaaS provides the ultimate DR plan for an enterprise. Too often IT professionals don’t factor the end user experience into their DR strategy. They focus on the infrastructure. Mindshare is changing thought and we are talking to IT Directors every day that say DaaS is their “Utopian DR solution”. RapidScale is ready to help them achieve their Utopia.


 

RapidScale logo

About RapidScale

Our vision is to provide personalized cloud solutions to businesses across the globe. RapidScale strives to be the most customer-oriented managed cloud services provider in the industry. Our objective is to understand your organization’s long-term goals around delivering, supporting, and managing IT. Our personalized cloud solutions reflect the understanding that no two businesses are the same and their cloud solutions shouldn’t be either.

For more information, visit www.rapidscale.net 

FIGure It Out: An Interview with Alex Fayn of S-NET Communications

This year, we will be taking time each month to interview professionals from various fields of work that relate to the data center. Through these interviews, we will be asking questions that directly relate to decisions you would make for your own business so you don't have to. This month we spoke to Alex Fayn, CEO of S-NET Communications, about the increased adoption of Hosted VoIP and why it will replace premise-based PBX systems.

 


 

Why do you think Hosted VoIP (UCaaS) technology has seen such tremendous adoption in the field?

Alex Fayn: The main reason why Hosted VoIP has become so widespread is because it does a great job at adapting to the current business environment. With 37% of Americans telecommuting in 2017, UCaaS solutions provide companies and their employees with the flexibility and mobility they need. Many providers like S-NET include desktop and mobile apps in their offering, making it easy for teams to connect and work from anywhere and any device.

Hosted VoIP is also very flexible and scalable for businesses that want to add additional locations into their existing system, supporting organizations in their growth. Additionally, with a UCaaS solution, there is no need for expensive hardware or proprietary software, which dramatically reduces a company’s capital expenses.

 

What are the main reasons your customers move to a Hosted VoIP phone system?

AF: We typically have a lot of clients that rely heavily on their voice communications and lose money every time those systems don’t work. With a Hosted VoIP solution, they get our 24/7 support that ensures their system is fully functional at all times. This dramatically reduces their internal burden and costs associated with keeping a premise-based PBX up and running. We pride ourselves in providing excellent customer service and taking on the responsibility of management, and it seems that our clients are responding to that.

Another component that seems to be very important to our customers is that with all the features it makes available, a cloud-based phone system dramatically improves their efficiency on a day-to-day basis. Cloud-based solutions also come with desktop and mobile apps that enable team members to work from anywhere using their company extension and caller ID. This helps maintain a consistent brand image while reducing travel time and ensures business continuity even when employees are unable to make it to the office.

feet up on desk

 

How are you able to ensure Quality of Service (QOS)?

AF: Internet connections are of crucial importance for QoS in hosted VoIP. We work with our clients to ensure that they have the necessary network infrastructure for their voice solution. We sometimes recommend investing in dedicated circuits, particularly for large enterprises. But for the most part, we believe in using SD-WAN to ensure QoS, because it not only provides the necessary network reliability and security important for a well-functioning cloud-based system, but offers a whole suite of other benefits as well, like application awareness or central management. It’s the most cutting-edge solution out there.

 

How much bandwidth is required for a Hosted VoIP system?

AF: We usually calculate bandwidth requirements based on the number of users a business is expecting to be on calls simultaneously. A quality VoIP phone call usually requires 80 Kbps, so for 5 users to be on calls simultaneously, the phone system needs 400Kbps. But more importantly than bandwidth, to function at its best, Hosted VoIP requires a reliable network with no fluctuations, latency, jitter or packet loss. SD-WAN is the perfect solution for stabilizing the network. It connects primary and secondary links into one unified system, monitors network conditions in real time, and routes VoIP traffic to an organization’s strongest connection at any given moment without ever interrupting a call.

 

How do you incorporate SD-WAN into a Hosted Voice solution and what are the benefits of SD-WAN?

phone dialingAF: As I have mentioned earlier, we use SD-WAN to create stable network conditions and ensure QoS for all our customers’ calls. One of the greatest features of SD-WAN for Hosted VoIP is its application awareness capability that enables us to set traffic routing policies specifically for voice communications. SD-WAN monitors network conditions from latency, delay and jitter all the way down to MOS scores. Based on these factors, SD-WAN intelligently routes voice communication to the most suitable connection at any given moment.

Another very important component we have been able to take advantage of for our clients is the capability of SD-WAN to provide end-to-end priority for voice traffic. It is especially useful for customers that rely on their phone systems as their primary source of revenue, but it makes a huge difference in all of our clients’ workflows.  

 

Do you think Hosted VoIP will ever fully replace premise-based PBX systems?

AF: Absolutely. We are already seeing a huge shift in that direction. Many premise-based vendors have gone out of business in recent years, and many more are trying to survive by buying cloud-based companies to move their offering in the right direction.

I believe the future belongs to smart applications. Mobile and desktop apps that give users the flexibility and mobility the market demands are becoming a strong differentiator, and I don’t think any vendor can stay in business for long without meeting this need.

 

Read more about the benefits of SD-WAN for Unified Communications.

 


 

snetcommunicationsAbout S-Net Communications

S-NET Communications offers a full suite of cloud-based business solutions that work together to provide you with end to end branch office networking tools – from VoIP to Fiber Internet to SD-WAN and beyond. Founded in 2006, S-NET has grown to over 35,000 subscribers on its cloud communications platform and has built a strong, global customer base. Defined by high-quality customer service and precise attention to detail, S-Net is one of Chicago’s leading cloud solution providers.

For more information, please visit  www.snetconnect.com.

FIGure It Out: An Interview with Ron Shultz of Northern Battery

This year, we will be taking time each month to interview professionals from various fields of work that relate to the data center. Through these interviews, we will be asking questions that directly relate to decisions you would make for your own business so you don't have to. This month we spoke to Ron Shultz from Northern Battery about some of the differences between battery types and how costs have been affected over the past year.

 


 

Can you explain the differences between VRLA and wet-cell batteries?

VRLA stands for Valve Regulated Lead Acid. There are two types of VRLA batteries Gel and AGM (absorbed glass mat). These batteries have a pressure relief valve that opens up if there would be excessive pressure build up do to an overcharging situation. These batteries are also considered maintenance free to a certain extent. They have no caps for water addition. Flooded batteries also known as wet-cell batteries generally last longer than sealed batteries. Flooded batteries are more high-maintenance because water will evaporate eventually and this has to be replaced. Flooded batteries also need proper ventilation due to gassing release into the air.

 

Data Center Batteries

 

What are the physical restrictions of using either battery type?

VRLA batteries usually have a smaller footprint than there flooded counterparts. This being said some flooded systems, due to size may require a separate battery room.

 

Despite the advertised battery life, what do you notice/expect in the longevity and care of these batteries?

This is based on observations in the field. On the VRLA 3 to 10 years depending on manufacturer and environment on the flooded batteries 12 to 18 years depending on the manufacturer and environment.

 

Is there more difficulty replacing VRLA vs. wet-cell batteries?

Flooded batteries are more difficult to replace than the VRLA due to the free floating Electrolyte in the cells, weight and maintenance.

Data Center Row

 

Do you notice that more people use a certain type of battery over others, or is it rather equal? 

We have noticed more VRLA batteries (for UPS systems) are being used today. With the migration of data to the cloud the large data centers' loads are dropping and there is less of a need for the big flooded battery systems.

 

Have lead cost increases due to recent hurricanes affected your battery costs/purchases at all?

Below is an explanation we received in September from one of our suppliers about the increase in battery costs:

I would like to make you aware of recent changes in pricing for some of our key raw materials that are not only impacting EnerSys, but the entire lead-acid battery industry. Please note, the following commentary addresses conditions in the raw material markets prior to Hurricane Harvey. The impact of Hurricane Harvey on these markets will only begin to be realized in a few months and are expected to influence the pricing in the areas of oil, fuel, and other petrochemical materials such as plastics, as well as other materials which are sourced from the geographic regions impacted by Harvey as transportation in and out of those regions is promising to be very challenging.

Lead

  • The London Metals Exchange (LME) closed 2016 with an annual average lead price of $0.85 per pound.
  • LME average for lead in August was $1.07!
  • Several zinc mines closed or throttled production in late 2015 and early 2016 due to decreasing sale prices. As lead is a byproduct of zinc mining, the reduction in zinc mining capacity resulted in a reduction of lead concentrates. That loss of capacity, and speculation, is now driving the cost of lead higher but not high enough to make it attractive for the mines to add capacity.
  • Scrap batteries are scarce in the U.S. as a significant amount of lead scrap is being sent to South Korea and Mexico for processing. As a result, we have seen the price to acquire lead scrap increase by 17% since January of [2017]. As a sizable portion of our lead purchasing strategy involves reclaimed lead from scrap, cost fluctuations in lead scrap have a significant impact on the cost of our products.

Copper

  • The pricing for our copper components is also based on the LME which clearly shows that copper costs have risen by a double digit percentage this calendar year with the price continuing its assent as a result of two key market conditions:
    • Increased demand from emerging markets, such as China and India
    • Reductions in mine production as the result of strikes and unplanned shutdowns

Steel

  • While there is no commodity index for the type of steel that the battery industry utilizes in products, the industry is experiencing a double digit increase in our cost from steel mills based solely on supply and demand factors in the market.

 


 

Northern Battery logoFounded in 1971, Northern Battery is a premier wholesale and retail supplier of batteries and systems for all types of DC and AC power products. We specialize in batteries for automotive, marine, motorcycle, golf, RV, ATV, scrubber and commercial battery applications. We also provide products and solutions for stationary power and renewable energy applications. Northern Battery is headquartered in La Crosse, WI with offices and warehouse facilities in St.Paul, MN, Chicago, IL, Madison, WI, Wausau, WI and Fond du Lac, WI.

Our professional and experienced Sales, Service and Support teams work hard to provide every customer with battery products, services and solutions that are reliable, practical, efficient and cost effective.

Northern Battery is an SBA approved vendor available to partner with all Government agencies.

www.northernbattery.com

When Disaster Strikes: Disaster Recovery Revisited

As we all know, people across the world this month have been facing tremendous disaster and damage to their property and valuables. While we don’t believe in turning disaster into profit, we do believe in reinforcing the education of preparedness, asking the questions: “What would I do if that happened to me? Would I have a plan in place? How would I get back on track after it was over?”

stressed poseUnfortunately, disasters can happen at any time in any place...and in many different ways: Storms, floods, electrical explosions, fires, earthquakes, infestations, etc. This includes to the data center. One of the most pivotal aspects of modern business and communication can be swept away in an instant. So, what will you do if you lose your data center to a disaster?

Over two years ago we did a short article on Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans – defining them and providing examples of real-world use. Yet since then, we have written dozens of pieces on cooling, power, telecom, service, and more. And I would imagine that managing your data center is very similar. You may start out thinking about a disaster recovery plan, but soon your focus needs to shift to improving the cooling, then quickly after you must upgrade your voice & data package, and before you know it the DR plan is so far down the list you never know if you’ll get there.

Here’s your free pass: Move Disaster Recovery up the list and get a plan in place. Let’s start.

 

WHY?

This may seem like a self-explanatory question, but sometimes if we don’t spell out the gravity of certain situations, we may not take them as seriously as we should. Here we go: Your data center encounters a massive disaster and you lose all capabilities without a DR site. Every minute that you are unable to get your site up and running again, you are losing thousands of dollars – an average of $9,000 per minute based on a recent study averaging losses from multiple different business sectors. Across your demographic, customers unable to access your services are losing faith in your business. At this point, only 44% of businesses successfully recover data lost in the event, and unfortunately a whopping 90% of businesses with a huge data loss and no DR plan are forced to shut down within two years.* A Disaster Recovery Plan is not a decoration, it is a necessity, no matter your business size or type.

 

WHERE?

The most effective location to host your DR equipment is far enough away from your in-house data center to avoid the same potential disasters. The last thing you want is for a disaster to strike your data center AND your DR site. Making sure they are on separate power grids and even located in different environment types (large open plains vs. urban sprawl) would be ideal. However, it is also important that they are close enough to communicate quickly and effectively. Having your home data center in Chicago and a DR site in England probably will not offer as quick of a failover as a site in Minnesota, for example.

 

WHEN?

As urgent as it feels now to make sure you have a DR plan, you must not forget to actually “plan” it before signing dotted lines. Unless you have the means to replicate your data center in its entirety with a secondary staff to manage it, you will first have to categorize and prioritize your data. Determining which aspects of the business related to the data center that you will need back online first will help with recovery speed and cost defrayment. Categorizing and prioritizing is the first of many steps to get your DR plan in place, but doing so will help the rest of plan fall much more easily into place.

 

WHO?

One major component of disaster recovery that is often overlooked is the personnel. A DR plan is not just for one person to know and manage; the most effective plans have everyone involved and assigns different responsibilities to each employee to ensure a quick and efficient recovery. With prepared personnel each attacking the situation from different angles, and other non-critical employees aware of the situation and how to manage their own aspects of the business and recovery, your business will have the best possible opportunity to get back on track and remain sturdy upon recovery.

 

HOW?

You are already on the right path by reading this article. The first step to solving any problem is to simply say that you are going to solve it. Now you can give Facility IT Group a call and let us guide you through the next steps of the process. We are here and ready to help.

 

*Based on a white paper from Storagecraft.

Dust Off Your Flywheels!

Have you ever heard of the flywheel UPS? If you haven’t, you shouldn’t feel out of the loop. Flywheel UPS systems are in many eyes a “dated” technology. However recent advancements and further implementation and study has shown that maybe...just maybe...they are more effective and efficient than battery-powered UPSs.

Below we have compiled a table of items to help quickly compare a Magnetic Flywheel UPS to a Battery-Powered UPS. Underneath the table you can find a more in-depth description of some of the topics.

 

Magnetic Flywheel UPS

Battery-Powered UPS

Type of Energy

Kinetic

Chemical reaction

Frequency of Maintenance

Annual check up

Semi-annual check up

Sizing & Placement

Fixed

Flexible

Unit Lifespan

Indefinite

Battery replacement every 5-7 years

Environmental Impact

None

Hazmat disposal, contains toxic chemicals

Initial Costs

↑ 35%

--

Lifetime Costs

--

↑ 60%

Storage Limitations

Quality and thickness of containment vessel and cylinder determines energy output; must be protected against shrapnel explosion

Strict temperature control and physical handling, higher maintenance cost; must be protected against chemical leaks and erosion

Electrical Efficiency

Up to 97%

Up to 92-95%

Runtime

15-30 seconds

15-30 minutes

 

Type of Energy

What is a flywheel UPS? Your standard UPS system runs on batteries which use a chemical reaction to transfer energy into the unit and give it electrical power. Meanwhile, a flywheel system uses rotating cylinders inside a vacuum chamber to produce kinetic energy, which is then transferred into electricity to power the unit when needed.

 

Sizing & Placement

A flywheel UPS will also take up significantly less space than a battery-powered UPS. Batteries take up a hefty chunk of space, and to include them inside the UPS cabinet not only makes it bulky, but also considerably heavier. On the other hand, flywheel systems, due to the nature of the rotating cylinders, need a fixed amount of cubic feet for installation. Battery cabinet layouts are a bit more flexible in terms of physical placement.

 

Unit Lifespan

Flywheels have been considered dated because they have typically used mechanical bearings to spin the cylinders. These bearings need regular maintenance check-ups and replacements, and depending on the physical set up, could lose anywhere from 20-50% of their energy due to friction created from changes in the earth’s rotation. Therefore, batteries quickly usurped the spot of dominant power source for UPS systems due to their high energy retention and better reliability.

In recent years, flywheel technology has improved dramatically. The greatest advancement has been switching from mechanical bearings to magnetic bearings. Where batteries need regular maintenance and have limited lifespans before replacement, a new magnetic-bearing flywheel in a properly sealed vacuum chamber will require virtually no maintenance or replacement - barring direct physical damage to the equipment.

 

Initial Costs // Lifetime Costs

Battery-powered UPS units are less expensive at initial purchase than the magnetic flywheel UPS. However, it is primarily in maintenance where the flywheel outshines the batteries. It is recommended that battery-powered systems be serviced semi-annually, and batteries must be replaced every 5-7 years even when working at their most efficient usage. Also, the room control is much more strict for battery systems, adding to costs for maintaining cooling and reducing humidity.

The annual service for a magnetic flywheel UPS is mostly a formality, as a properly maintained system will continue to run indefinitely without replacements, and the breadth of external factors is far slimmer. A full lifespan between the two systems ends with the flywheel system costing about 50% less total than the battery system.

 

Storage Limitations

Flywheels place a great amount of pressure on the rotating cylinders, especially at higher speeds. It is extremely important that the RPM of the flywheel does not exceed the force limitation of the cylinder material. If a thinner material is used and the force becomes too great, it is possible for elements to shatter and explode, sending shrapnel out at the speed of a bullet. In order to provide more energy, the flywheel system will not only need a thicker and stronger cylinder, but also a thicker and stronger encasement to protect against any possible shattering. In this case, many designers build the flywheel into the ground of the data center to prevent any expulsion of shrapnel.

Batteries on the other hand have their own limitations. If a battery is exposed to higher temperatures than it can handle, it is possible for the internal hazardous chemicals to leak and damage the equipment, including other batteries. It is also possible for the batteries to explode and cause serious damage to surrounding equipment and/or harm to personnel. Further, batteries can still fail even without physical proof. If your data center goes down, you may assume that your batteries will take over until generator power kicks in. But with faulty batteries that never showed signs of failure, that kick may never happen and suddenly your entire infrastructure is out of commission.

 

Electrical Efficiencies

It is important to note that these numbers fluctuate pretty greatly depending on load and use. Many battery-powered UPS units have something called an "Eco Mode" where it can increase efficiencies to flywheel levels, and conversely flywheel UPSs can lose efficiencies when the load is higher and the RPMs of the rotating cylinders are increased. In standard modes at an average load, flywheels can maintain a 97% efficiency and a battery-powered UPS about 92-95%. Depending on the size of the average load, that difference can range anywhere from indifferent to pretty significant.

 

Runtime

Perhaps the flywheel’s greatest downfall. A battery UPS will confidently hold your power until the generator takes over. Generators on average take approximately 10-20 seconds to take over when the regular power has failed. Flywheel systems cut it close, only holding onto the power for a few seconds longer than required. This may play a huge factor, especially if you cannot afford any downtime whatsoever. Despite all of the benefits above, ensuring your uptime often comes at the top of the list of needs, and any lack of confidence that your generator power will switch over quick enough could take a flywheel off the table entirely.

 

 ---

Flywheel systems are used in a very small number of data centers across the world. Some may say because the technology is dated, others because of the short run time, and some may just be waiting for more research to be done. In any case, FIG can help you make a decision for your next UPS system. If you have more questions or want more information, call us today!

You Need To Clean Up

One of the most overlooked parts of a smooth and efficient data center is equally one of the easiest to see: cleanliness. It is amazing how keeping your server room clean and properly maintained can dramatically affect worker performance and infrastructure efficiency. Psychological studies have shown time and time again that when a person’s office desk is freshly cleaned and organized, they almost always perform their regular job tasks quicker and with more precision, and often show more energy than when desks are dirty and/or cluttered. The same idea is present within mechanical and computerized systems. Dirt and build up block airflow and slow down performance, and a dirty space will make the data center managers work less efficiently and with less sense of timeliness.

Data Clean is an organization of critical environment cleaning specialists who maintain, clean, and remediate data centers. Since 1979, they have worked tirelessly to build their company into a global effort and have logged countless hours cleaning data centers, laboratories, network facilities, telecom outposts, and more.

Here is a list of 9 Reasons to Have Regular Cleanings in Your Data Center (with help from Randall Miller of Data Clean):

 

Prevent Overheating

Over time, dust and other contaminants build up, especially around open areas such as internal fans. Without regular cleaning, that build-up will hinder airflow and cause internal heat to rise until the system eventually crashes. Keep your fans and external openings clean!

 

Reduce Risk of Fire

Similar to overheating, if open passages continue to become blocked and affects multiple systems, the internal heat of servers and other critical infrastructure can cause combustion and result in a fire. Cleaning will keep your equipment cool.

 

Prevent Static Electricity

A benefit of regular cleaning is that it will nullify static accumulation. The longer static electricity is allowed to grow, the more powerful it will become, and can cause unnecessary downtime or even damage to your infrastructure.

 

Improve Equipment Reliability

When things are dirty or unkempt, they simply will not work as well as when they were clean and pristine. Servers and data center equipment are no exception. Alongside the threats above, servers will work slower and connections will have a harder time sending signals – everything you would not want your server room to do.

 

Protect Your Investment

Let’s be honest: Designing, building, powering, cooling, connecting, maintaining, and staffing a server room can be quite expensive. And even cost put aside, a data center plays an incredibly pivotal role in a business’ daily operations. Cleaning your critical space regularly ensures that the time and money invested is not in vain, and a regular cleaning costs less than 1% of the room’s total net worth!

 

Preserve the Integrity of Your Data

The software and vital information stored within your data center is the lifeblood of your business. Even with cloud backup and/or a disaster recovery site, the last thing you want is for the data stored within your space to become compromised. Without regular cleaning, it unfortunately is like wishing for it to happen. Keep your data safe, keep your room clean.

 

Increase Productivity

Have you ever lost an entire afternoon looking everywhere for an item you needed but couldn’t find it within the clutter? Or maybe not even bothered with a favorite shirt because it was in the dirty hamper? This same mentality happens subconsciously within the workplace. The more cluttered and dirty a space is, the less likely a staff member will want to work with it – or the more likely time will be wasted trying to work around the clutter. Maintaining a clean space will inspire productivity, efficiency, and creativity instead of stifle them.

 

Satisfy Insurance Audits

Insurance companies do not want to see unclean areas that could potentially cost them a lot of money if something were to happen such as a fire. A clean room means a happy insurance auditor, which will prevent your company from having any issues on your behalf.

 

Win Confidence

It has been said that appearance is a direct reflection of how well an organization is run. If you oversee the data center space, imagine how impressed colleagues and superiors will be to see how well-kept the room is with Data Clean. Confidence in the cleanliness of that room is confidence in you to maintain it. Be the champion of your data center and keep it clean!

 

Cleanliness is the hidden key to a successfully run and efficiently working data center. Facility IT Group has partnered with Data Clean to provide these services directly to you in a safe, quick, and cost-efficient manner. Call today for a free consultation!

Save Money; Use Ebullient Liquid Cooling

Cooling in the data center is and always has been a rapidly evolving science. Combinations of perimeter units, ceiling and floor units, row units, spot coolers, and even in-rack systems work diligently to remove heat from the server room and protect your critical physical infrastructure. Systems like hot and cold aisle containment also aid in this crucial component of the data center space. As long as we are running servers, their heat will need to be removed to prevent any issues with regular operation.

Did you know that around 40% of your electrical costs are coming straight from your cooling systems?

And for such a data center necessity, this certainly seems understandable. But in a world where we are always looking to save on costs and space, cooling never seems to be an option for reduction. You need your servers for business operation, you need the cooling to protect them, you need battery backup for uptime guarantee, you need connectivity to interact with your customers and workforce.

Maybe you might take a risk and scale back security...but what if a breach occurs? Perhaps you decide to forego your service contract...now you’re in a real tight spot when the UPS goes down.

What if there was a way to adjust your cooling system – size and output – without fear of losing any capabilities and in a manner which reduces all monthly costs?

There is: Liquid cooling.

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If you read the line above and instantly became nervous, you’re not alone. Liquid cooling holds somewhat of a taboo. We are told from our childhood to keep our liquids away from our technology, and so it can be difficult to accept an option that counters that thought.

Ebullient is an innovative frontrunner in the field of liquid cooling. Their DirectJet™ Technology was created based off our long-standing fears of mixing liquid and technology. Rather than using water, Ebullient opts for an engineered liquid designed specifically for use as a heat-transfer fluid. Crafted by 3M, this fluid is non-corrosive, non-flammable, and will not damage electronic equipment in the event of leakage or other failures.

Ebullient’s liquid cooling system can cool any server from any make or model while reducing cooling costs up to 75%.

ebullientjetloops

Take a look at the DirectJet™ Flyer and learn more about the cutting-edge system by clicking here.

We are sure you have more questions. Let’s set up a call or a meeting to learn more about this technology and see if it’s the right fit for you.