Innovation 2.0

At Panduit, we take pride in finding new solutions to old problems (and new onescim_generic, too!). And, when we  work with the best customers around to help them find solutions to their problems, that’s even better. Last week, Cabling Installation & Maintenance presented their annual Cabling Innovators Awards. And, for the second year, several Panduit projects were recognized as being the best of the best. Without further ado, I’m proud to present a snapshot of our honorees and their cabling innovations.

Purdue University

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CI&M Chief Editor Patrick McLaughlin (left) and Group Publisher Alan Bergstein (right), present a Gold Cabling Innovators Award to (from left) Tom Kelly, Director of Business Development, Enterprise Solutions, Panduit; Daniel Pierce, Telecommunications Design Engineer, Purdue University; and Dennis Renaud, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, Panduit.

Purdue embarked on a project during the 2014-15 school year, to update and expand their wireless coverage on campus. For today’s students, wireless access isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Information Technology at Purdue tackled the upgrade project in two phases: One to add coverage in residence halls; a second to add density in academic buildings and common areas. The residence hall project caught the judges’ eyes for innovation, as the university relied on Panduit’s surface raceway and 28 AWG patch cords, along with Cisco 702 access points to deliver wireless throughout the residence halls. The raceway/patch cord/AP solution provided the wireless performance they needed while keeping the aesthetic already in place for their wired connections.

The Purdue wireless project was named a “Boilermaker” Gold honoree by the CI&M judges.

Global Insurance and Financial Services Firm

Panduit’s small-diameter cabling is at the heart of the solution installed by a global insurance and financial services firm, to optimize the space in their telecommunications rooms. Switch harnesses with 28-AWG patch cabling has provided four main benefits:

  1. Time: the quick-connect feature cuts installation time from about an hour per RU to 20 minutes per RU … and we all know that time means money!
  2. Space savings and cable management: Because of the small size, more cabling fits, saving rack space for equipment rather than cable management; it also simplifies cable management, making moves, adds, and changes simple.
  3. Single length: The company uses one length of patch cord everywhere, which eliminates ordering and installation errors.
  4. Standardization: Every telecommunication room at all of their sites are deployed with the same footprint, making installation and management easier for everyone involved.

CI&M’s judges awarded this project a gold award.

CenterPoint Energy

Texas-based CenterPoint Energy presented a Texas-sized issue: they wanted to unify their IT physical infrastructure platforms across their internal business units, and within each facility. Multiple vendors, multiple sites, and multiple cities equals multiple headaches. CenterPoint standardized its data center operations around a Panduit Intelligent Data Center solution, including Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software, hardware, and infrastructure offerings. This solution was end-to-end Panduit: fiber and copper cabling, dual cable pathways, PDUs, overhead patching, cooling optimization, grounding and bonding, and thermal containment. “We required a solutions provider that could deliver comprehensive technological advancements while helping us ensure business continuity,” said CenterPoint’s Tom Tanous, senior manager of Business Reliance and Data Center Management.

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CenterPoint Energy was recognized with a Silver Cabling Innovators Award.

The CenterPoint project was named a silver honoree by CI&M judges.

CyrusOne

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Winner of a Silver Cabling Innovators Award was data center provider CyrusOne. CI&M Chief Editor Patrick McLaughlin (left) and Group Publisher Alan Bergstein (right) presented the award to (from left) Dennis Renaud, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions, Panduit; CyrusOne Chief Information Officer Blake Hankins; and Panduit’s Tom Kelly, Director of Business Development, Enterprise Solutions.

With more than 3 million square feet of rentable data center space, CyrusOne is one of the largest data center providers in the U.S., with global customers relying on CyrusOne’s colocation services. Their new Austin Data Center II has been optimized with Panduit’s SynapSense software, delivering energy savings and increased efficiency by continuously aligning cooling capacity with changes in IT load.

“Panduit has enabled our customers to essentially keep tabs on their servers in CyrusOne’s facility with a level of data access and detail comparable to operating a data center of their own,” said Amaya Souarez, vice president of CyrusOne’s Data Center Systems & Security. “Plus, we’ve experienced both operational and power efficiencies. It’s quite incredible!”

CyrusOne was recognized as a silver honoree by the CI&M judges.

The Innovators Awards were judged based on the following criteria:

  • Innovative
  • Value to the User
  • Sustainability
  • Meeting a Defined Need
  • Collaboration
  • Impact

Alan Bergstein, publisher of Cabling Installation & Maintenance (http://www.cablinginstall.com) said “This prestigious program allows Cabling Installation & Maintenance to celebrate and recognize the most innovative products and services in the structured cabling industry. Our 2016 Honorees are an outstanding example of companies who are making an impact in the industry.”

Congratulations to all of these outstanding customers for their efforts. Panduit is proud to share these awards with all of you.

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.

Category 8: Delivering 25 and 40GBASE-T

Category 8 is the new copper twisted-pair structured cabling standard being developed within both the TIA and ISO groups to support the new 25 and 40GBASE-T standards being developed by the IEEE. Category 8 is going to have a few differences over prior Category 5e, 6, or 6A cabling, but will still retain the familiarity and features that make RJ45 copper the most widely deployed Ethernet technology on the market.

Cat 8 product

What is new with Category 8?

There are a few differences between Category 8 and prior categories that should be understood.

  • Shielded offering only (no unshielded option)
  • 30 meter reach (versus 100 meter reach for Category 5e, 6, and 6A)
  • Only 2 connectors allowed per channel (versus 4 for Category 5e, 6, and 6A)
  • 4 times the bandwidth of Category 6A, going all the way up to 2000 MHz

    Cat 8 2000 MHz

What is the same with Category 8?

While there are differences, a lot stays the same, as well.

  • Category 8 uses the same RJ45 interface as Category 5e, 6, and 6A, which makes it backwards compatible with 100BASE-T, 1000BASE-T, and 10GBASE-T systems
  • Category 8 will be field terminable and field testable once available product comes to market

What do these differences mean?

Because of the limited reach of 30 meters and 2 connectors, Category 8 is focused on data centers, particularly End of Row or Top of Rack deployments.

This means that as a data center manager, you should plan for:

  • A maximum jack-to-jack reach of 24 meters
  • Grounding the connectivity
  • A maximum of 6 meters of patch total

Latest Industry Developments

Panduit is the latest company to announce that our Category 8 system has been tested by Intertek (3rd party) and confirmed to meet the latest Category 8 TIA draft standard.

The Panduit system we tested was a 30-meter channel, with a 24-meter link and 6 meters of patch cords (3 meters on each end).

It is expected that the standard will be ratified by mid-2016, which is the earliest point where product will be available.

What should I do today?

Panduit strongly recommends against installing any Category 7 or 7A systems. These systems do not have the bandwidth (Category 7 is 600MHz, 7A is 1000MHz) to handle 25 or 40GBASE-T (need bandwidth over 1600MHz). Additionally, Category 7 and 7A do not use RJ45 connectors, so a hybrid patch cord would be required to interface to the equipment.

If you are deploying a cabling system now, Panduit recommends that you install and deploy Category 6A systems. They have the same RJ45 interface as the equipment and can run all current applications up to 10GBASE-T. If you are planning a layout to eventually accommodate Category 8, stick to a permanent link length of 24 meters or below with up to 6 meters of patch total.

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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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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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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Incentives For Energy Consumption

I recently had the opportunity to discuss an application for a retrofit containment system installed into an existing data center with a sales person. Not an uncommon story, given the effectiveness of separating cold and hot air streams in the data center to reduce cooling energy consumption. The part of the story that stood out for me was that the sales person enthusiastically related how the end user realized an instant payback on the containment system and had money left over. It sounded too good to be true. My first thought was just how badly is this data center being operated that the retrofitting of a containment system would yield an instant payback and still have money left over???

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DCIM for Small Data Centers

When it comes to running an efficient operation, small data centers have many of the same concerns and challenges as their larger counterparts. One of the greatest challenges that managers of small data centers have is that they typically have limited resources in terms of technology, staffing, and financial support.

This can leave a small data center more vulnerable to inefficiencies, inflexibility for growth, and the potential for system failures. One example we run into on a regular basis occurs when the manager of a legacy data center needs to obtain power consumption and environmental data as a result of a cost reduction initiative, or difficulty finding capacity for new applications. This typically occurs in data centers that are older, may have between 20 and 30 racks, and have grown, despite best intentions, in unintended ways.

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