Digitizing History for Future Preservation with Data Center Solutions

How the Vatican Apostolic Library Preserved its Manuscript Collection

The Vatican Apostolic Library preserves its invaluable documents with the help of a robust, highly available network infrastructure.

Undergoing a massive data transfer process is not easy, but the Vatican Apostolic Library did just that. Panduit’s previous success in enhancing the connectivity and performance for the Vatican Apostolic Library’s main data center earned it the trust to help digitize and protect more than 80,000 priceless historical manuscripts.

Founded in 1451, the Vatican Apostolic Library’s collection includes precious material from as far back as Michelangelo and Galileo. To preserve the collection and continue to contribute to the worldwide sharing of knowledge, the 15th-century library decided to digitize its antiquated and increasingly delicate manuscripts.

To successfully complete this project, the library’s Belvedere Court building needed a more efficient data center infrastructure to support document storage. The library also needed solutions to address power and energy usage challenges, capacity constraints, environmental and connectivity issues, and security and access control requirements.

Adapting to the constraints of the ancient structure, Panduit developed a solution with security, storage, and power management.

The building now uses hot-aisle containment with hot/cold air separation inside the cabinets for improved airflow – delivering a power savings of nearly 30% compared to the previous system.

SmartZone solutions simplified the library’s network infrastructure, managing, and monitoring rack power distribution units and environmental sensors through a single IP address. For enhanced data center security, the gateways support access via intelligent handles on cabinets.

The Vatican Apostolic Library now has the capability to support the vast amount of data generated by the digitization project, ensuring high reliability and elevated transmission speed. Because of Panduit’s network, people around the world have online access to these invaluable treasures.

Read the full article here.

Which Optical Fiber Should You Use: OM4+ or OM5 Fiber?

Since the TIA ratified the specification for OM5, a wideband multimode optical fiber (WB-MMF), customers that are thinking about upgrading their existing infrastructure, or building out new, are asking a question: Should they deploy OM5 fiber?

I’ll get to the answer in a bit.  First, let’s talk about what OM5 is.

OM5 is essentially an OM4 fiber that has an additional bandwidth specification at 953nm.  Both OM4 and OM5 have bandwidths specified as 4,700MHz•km at 850nm, and OM5 has a bandwidth specification of 2,450MHz•km at 953nm.  OM4 does not have a bandwidth specified at 953nm.

OM5 was designed to be used with optical modules that employ Shortwave Wavelength Division Multiplexing (SWDM).  These new SWDM modules use four wavelengths that span from 850nm through 953nm, to implement 100Gbps links.

Each wavelength is modulated at 25Gbps and by multiplexing them together, one attains 100Gbps.  See figure 1.  Given what wavelengths are used in SWDM optical modules, it is easy to see why the OM5 standard was developed.

OM5 signature core fiber

OM5 was designed to be used with optical modules that employ Shortwave Wavelength Division Multiplexing

Figure 1 – Implementing SWDM

Back to the question.

You only need to consider using OM5 if you plan on deploying 100Gbps links using SWDM optical modules AND need to reach out past 100m.

The interest in using SWDM optical modules is that they allow deploying a 100Gbps link over duplex MMFs, rather than taking up eight parallel fibers required when using 100GBASE-SR4.  SWDM allows reusing the existing duplex fiber infrastructure.

However, there are many more ideal alternatives for deploying 100Gbps over duplex fibers, such as 100G BiDi, or using PAM4 modulation to achieve the higher data rate.

The other alternatives do not suffer from SWDM’s shortcomings, such as higher cost, higher operating temperatures, and the inability to support breakout applications.  If you still are thinking about using SWDM 100G optical modules, and the reach is under 100m, then one would be better off using standard OM3 or OM4, as it is less expensive than OM5.

If extended reach is needed, say for 40G BiDi, the better alternative to OM5 fiber would be our OM4 Signature Core MMF.  Our OM4 Signature Core MMF can reach out to 200m using 40G BiDi, while OM5 will only reach out to 150m, the same as OM4.

That is because at the wavelengths used by BiDi modules, OM5 fiber is no better than OM4.  In fact, OM4 Signature Core has outperformed standard OM5 fiber in several head-to-head competitions conducted at end-user sites.

If the decision is to use 100G SWDM modules AND you need to reach longer than 150m, the better fiber to use would be our OM5 Signature Core MMF.  Our OM5 Signature Core MMF uses the same reach-enhancing technology as our OM4 Signature Core, so you can take advantage of reaches greater than the standard by 20%.

For an in-depth explanation on how our OM4 Signature Core and OM5 Signature Core MMFs are able to achieve extended distances, please visit our Signature Core landing page, where you will find everything you need to know about Signature Core MMFs.

Better yet, view the recorded webinar, Where Do We Go From Here? A Fork in the Road for Multimode Fiber, presented by Robert Reid, our senior technical manager with our Data Center business unit.  In the webinar, not only does Robert talk about our Signature Core MMF, but also OM5, SWDM, and other topics surrounding multimode optical fiber and modules.

Finally, you can download our ebook for a comparison of the various fiber type.

Top 6 Things to Know About the New Category 8 Cabling Standard

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has published ANSI/TIA-568-C.2-1, which supports 25, 40 and possibly even 50GBASE-T over Category 8 copper cabling. As you consider high-bandwidth applications, here are some key things to keep in mind.

1) How far can you go?

Category 8 channel reach is 30 meters, much shorter than the 100-meter channel of traditional categories of copper cabling.

2) It’s a familiar face!

Category 8 has the familiar RJ45 interface, so jacks and plugs are compatible with the same patch panels, switches, and other equipment that users are familiar with today.

Category 8 products

Category 8 will be deployed as shielded twisted pair construction only.

3) Shields up!

While other category cabling uses unshielded or shielded twisted pair construction, Category 8 will only be shielded cable construction.

4) Where, oh where can it be?

Category 8 is designed for the data center. More specifically, it is designed to support 25G and 40GBASE-T switch-to-server links, a typical fiber-optic application. It will provide the most cost-effective and easiest-to-deploy 25G and 40G links within the data center. The 30-meter reach makes it challenging for Category 8 to be used to deliver higher bandwidth to the desktop or in other Enterprise applications in large-scale deployments.

5) Can Enterprise play, too?

Due to the reach limits of Category 8, Panduit recommends installing Category 6A today for all Enterprise applications. Category 6A supports up to 10GBASE-T at lengths up to 100 meters. Investing in a Category 6A infrastructure for your Enterprise space is the smartest and most cost-effective option for long-term optimal performance of your network. Panduit’s Advanced MaTriX Category 6A products have the additional advantage of allowing optimal heat dissipation and performance with next-generation Power over Ethernet (PoE++).

6) The next step …

Manufacturers are actively developing the next generation 25G and 40G products. Panduit expects to have its product offering – including cabling and connectivity – in 2017, to coincide with the launch of active equipment that will require the higher speeds.

Panduit has already received third-party approval on it’s upcoming Category 8 solution. Learn more here.

Why Is My Cable Pathway Upside Down?

Upside Down Design Can Keep Your Installation Costs Right Side Up

 

One of the most common questions asked about the Wyr-Grid Overhead Cable Pathway System is “why is it upside down?”

WG30BL

The Wyr-Grid tray is “upside down” because the design is based on a strong wire mesh platform reinforced with 1-1/2” high wire mesh walls that are oriented downward giving the appearance of an up-side down wire mesh tray. While appearing unconventional, this design combines the best attributes of cable runway with the flexibility and utility of wire mesh pathways.

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The Problem with High Density Fiber Enclosures – and the Solution

Last week I posted a blog about what is driving the adoption of high density fiber enclosures. High density fiber enclosures can help reduce the high cost of real estate. Possibly, one might find themselves with a data center where space is constrained so a high density fiber enclosure can help ease those space constraints.   I also said that high density fiber enclosures are used in data centers that are revenue generators because they make it possible to include more revenue-generating active equipment.

So a high density fiber enclosure helps add more equipment to a finite amount of space, but, as they say, there is no free lunch.

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What Is Driving Adoption of High Density Fiber Enclosures?

Real estate is one of the primary reasons that high density fiber enclosures are deployed in the data center. In some parts of the world, real estate is very expensive. One way to save cap ex is to try to use the smallest data center possible. The smaller the data center, the less square area required, and therefore, lower cap ex. This would certainly be the case if one is using a co-lo facility. Of course, a smaller data center also means lower op ex, e.g., less cooling, etc.

Another reason, also driven by real estate, is that the data center’s size is fixed. The data center cannot be enlarged. This might be the situation in dense urban areas where a larger space does not exist. The only way to add more functionality to the data center is to try and find a way to cram in more equipment. Hence, using a high density fiber enclosure.

Another less obvious reason for using a high density fiber enclosure is the trend towards data centers becoming profit centers. Historically, data centers were perceived as a cost of doing business. Depending on the business you are in, that may no longer be the case.

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Cabinets Are More Than Big Metal Boxes

How do cabinets impact operational costs?

This question is not asked enough by data center designers, owners or managers as they build-out new whitespace. Cabinets are the foundation of the data center’s physical infrastructure, used throughout the life cycle of the facility. IT equipment that runs the applications are contained within them, the cabling that connects the equipment to the users and the LAN/SANs are terminated and managed in them, power is distributed within them, and cooling is channeled through them. They are also the most visible infrastructure element, and how they look and fit together is often an indicator of how a data center is run and managed.

Why then are they frequently taken for granted, simply considered “big metal boxes”? Why isn’t there more emphasis on cabinets being considered an asset that helps reduce operational costs?

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Choosing the Right Media Type for 10 Gig Ethernet

You are ready to deploy 10 gigabit Ethernet, but what media type should you use?  As you might suspect, that is not a straightforward question to answer.  There are several things you need to consider before making the right choice, and some of the choices may be contradictory.

Does you data center require using a structured cabling solution?  If so, then you will most like stay away from Direct Attach Cable (DAC) assemblies used for 10GBASE-CR because that is a point-to-point solution, and lean toward 10GBASE-T.

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Adding New Physical Infrastructure: Part 2

Integrated Infrastructure: A New Approach

In Part 1 of “Adding New Physical Infrastructure” I reviewed three typical approaches taken by managers of small and mid-sized data centers to add new physical infrastructure: (1) build-it-yourself using in-house resources to design and integrate all elements of the infrastructure, (2) rely on a single supplier for design and integration, or (3) entrust multiple best-of-breed vendors to get it done.

We have a different take. As discussed in Part 1, you are likely to face significant risks and expense as you attempt to manage a wide range of technical details, complex project management issues, and multiple vendor relationships. Leveraging physical infrastructure expertise and partnerships with best of breed power and cooling suppliers, Panduit offers an Integrated Infrastructure approach that combines the benefits of both the single-source and best-of-breed approaches with the ease of managing a single supplier.

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Adding a New Physical Infrastructure: Part 1

How do you build out a new data center physical infrastructure?

Under the best of circumstances, building out new data center capacity is complex, expensive, time consuming and fraught with risk. Experts, engineers and consultants are needed for everything from designing the building shell, planning power and cooling systems, to commissioning. These are just the major categories. Think about the expertise needed to manage all the details that cascade from them!

If you are responsible for a small to mid-sized data center you may be faced with doing more of this yourself given the available resources. Increased complexity makes it difficult to find and retain people who possess all the essential skills needed to design and integrate the power, cooling, racks, cabling and other components necessary to complete the build correctly, and on-time. Taking on the coordination of the build-out in addition to normal responsibilities can be overwhelming.

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