Bandwidth Bottleneck – How to De-stress the Data Center Infrastructure

The IT industry does an excellent job in advance positioning the next great innovation. We have been just a step away from the internet of things (IoT) for over 20-years, AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been around for as long as I can remember, and solid-state memory is set to take over from disk drives and tape, speeding access, saving space, energy and resources. Maturity of technology can be mapped using a ‘hype cycle’ concept model, in simple terms… as time moves forward the ‘hype’ becomes reality and ‘quantum leaps’ are ever closer.
Explosive data growth and need for ubiquitous storage and processing is undisputed, which leaves the question – is it time to believe the hype?

Preparing for tomorrow’s future is crucial for business survival

In data center network communications, multiple technologies are converging to deliver growth of emerging, data intensive applications from e-health and media and content delivery, to sensor connected devices and automotive vehicles.

With volumes of data set to grow exponentially, the method of gathering, storing, processing and transmitting across the data center will be seriously hindered without infrastructure that meets latency and bandwidth performance requirements now, and for the foreseeable future.

Indeed, when technologies such as AI and Machine Learning (ML) become mainstream, individual data sets will run to 100s of terabytes. Meanwhile M2M data is expected to outstrip enterprise and personal data within the next five years. This increase in data traffic is already creating bottlenecks within legacy data centers, with every gateway and connection reducing the overall performance potential of the system.

My latest research white paper, ‘Light into Money – The Future of Fibre Optics in the Data Centre Networks’ investigates the drivers for the current and next generation infrastructure needed to support the data center industry and facilitate the high bandwidth, low latency platforms required in the multi-petabyte traffic era.

With an understanding of the opportunities available and the technologies influencing change we can plan better and prepare our structures to operate at the most appropriate levels. We can learn from the hyperscale designers who are designing systems with equipment manufacturers to optimize requirements for use, to attract these fast-growing applications into the cloud.

Each of these technology advances reflects the rapid growth of the global digital economy which is creating demand for greater network speed and performance from the internet backbone right into the core of the data center.

Key challenges for the infrastructure network are the ever-growing demand for faster speed – 10GE, 25GE, 40GE, 50GE and 100GE today, with 200GE – 400GE with predicted rollout as early as 2019. Together with new network architectures designed to maximise performance, the physical infrastructure must be designed to enable rapid and seamless deployment of new switching technologies.

Data bottlenecks will continue to be a growing problem if infrastructure and data center businesses focus on short term fixes. Network infrastructure is as vital as data center power and cooling, without appropriate investment it could significantly reduce both the life cycle and ROI.

My white paper – Light into Money – The Future of Fibre Optics in the Data Centre Networks is free to download @ Light into Money – The Future of Fibre Optics in the Data Centre Networks’

Trump and his impact on the healthcare structured cabling market

Healthcare, specifically the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was a central topic healthcarethroughout the recent U.S. presidential campaigns. Though we can’t say how just yet, Donald Trump’s election will likely bring change to the U.S. healthcare market. Trump campaign promises pointed to repealing and replacing the ACA with something completely different; however, as time goes on, it is expected that at least parts of the ACA will remain.

Over the past several years, the U.S. healthcare industry has been consumerized through initiatives like the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). These initiatives changed the way that physicians are paid from a volume-based system to a value-based system. This has forced providers to reduce the cost of care while improving quality and patient outcomes. These cost reductions and the concern for the quality of patient care is likely to continue, and perhaps become even more important during the Trump administration.

Based on what we have heard thus far, analysts predict the following for health care under Trump’s policies:

  • There will be more of an emphasis on price transparency for medical procedures and other healthcare costs.
  • The Medical Productivity Index* (MPI) is expected to increase by 2% by 2026.
  • MACRA is likely to continue.
  • We will see greater consumer responsibility for healthcare costs, creating a more competitive market.
  • The number of uninsured people will increase by as many as 25 million, with conservative estimates hovering around 20 million.

Impact on the Healthcare Structured Cabling Market

What do these things mean for the healthcare structured cabling market? We can expect continued growth in the healthcare industry; however, it may look different than over the past decade.

  • Large hospital new construction is likely to decline. At the same time, hospitals are likely to continue investing in technology. This technology will deliver operational efficiencies and improved precision and diagnostics, which will drive down costs.
  • The amount of data will continue to increase, and speed of retrieval and analysis will be more important than ever. This forces the need for high-speed cabling and large-scale storage, especially as hospital groups continue to acquire independent facilities, creating more centralized systems.
  • Healthcare IT and facilities groups will have less budget to work with while being expected to deliver the highest quality of service to the organization.

Regardless of whether the ACA (also known as ‘Obamacare’) is repealed or not, it appears that the emphasis on value-based care will continue to grow. As structured cabling professionals, it is our responsibility to guide the healthcare community towards solutions that are both cost-effective and deliver the resilience and performance that a medical environment demands.

————————————

*The Medical Industry Leadership Institute developed the Medical Productivity Index to measure the productivity of insurance-financed medical care. The MPI analyzes the health status achieved by a patient relative to the amount of resources invested in that patient’s care. The higher the index number, the better the return on investment. Care through Medicaid produces a low index value, whereas health savings accounts generally produce the highest index value.

Helping Customers Achieve LEED Certification

shutterstock_1215845381Everyone is talking about sustainability these days. We’re doing more than just talking about it.

Our world headquarters, built in 2010, is a LEED Gold Certified building and is just one example of our commitment to healthy, energy efficient, and sustainable business environments.

Today, we’ve taken that commitment one step further, becoming the first manufacturer to be awarded Environmental Product Declarations on copper jacks and cabling. These EPDs, awarded by UL Environment, help your projects become LEED certified.

It’s only been recently that the US Green Building Council adopted LEED version 4, which allows cabling systems to be counted toward LEED points. So, what do you need to know if you’re looking for a cabling system that complies? Below we’ve outlined some of the most common questions that we get.

Q: What’s an EPD/HPD?

EPD = Environmental Product Declarationcertified_epd_green

HPD = Health Product Declaration

EPDs and HPDs are both issued by a third-party after they verify reports supplied by the manufacturer. EPDs disclose potential environmental impacts of a product, while HPDs disclose what a product contains and how it impacts human and ecological health.

Q: What products have EPDs and HPDs?

A wide variety of materials used in the construction of buildings carry these declarations.

The Panduit EPDs cover 18 types of RJ45 jacks and 22 different copper cables. The offering includes:

  • Unshielded and shielded applications
  • Category 5e, Category 6, and Category 6A
  • Riser and plenum flame ratings

HPDs are pending for the same group of products.

Q: How does it work? If I install a product with an EPD, do I automatically get LEED points?

It not quite that simple! LEED requires the installation of at least 20 different products that have third-party certification to qualify for one LEED point. These products must be from at least five different manufacturers. So, when you install at least four different certified products from Panduit, that counts as one portion of one point for EPD and one portion of a second point for HPD. Different levels of LEED certification require different numbers of points to qualify.

Q: Can’t I get EPDs and HPDs with all cabling systems?

No! Panduit is one of a handful of cabling manufacturers that have received EPDs on copper cabling, but we’re the ONLY one to receive EPD certification on RJ45 jacks. So, if you’re looking for an end-to-end solution that can help you earn LEED certification, Panduit is your only choice!

We’d be happy to share more information on our EPDs and HPDs. You can get information on our Sustainable Solutions page, or from Customer Service.

Cabling Infrastructure for Wireless Access Points

Wireless Access Points (WAPs) have become a common installation in the Enterprise space. How do you know what cabling infrastructure is right to get optimum performance from your WAP? The answer is simple: new permanent installations call for Category 6A.

Continue reading

Category 6A in the Enterprise

The rollout of new AC wireless access points in the enterprise represents the first multi-gigabit application to be deployed in the enterprise. This is a perfect time to review the media choices being made to ensure your physical infrastructure is capable of supporting the application for the life of the enterprise. If we compare the relative cost per Gigabit for category 6A and single gig infrastructures, we find that category 6A (10GBASE-T) is more cost-effective per gigabit:

Cost per GB

Continue reading

Cisco Live 2014

This year’s Cisco Live , being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, promises to be another exciting event. As a Platinum Sponsor, Panduit will be exhibiting in booth #1521 and will be featuring our Intelligent Data Center Solutions, Enterprise Solutions and Industrial Automation Solutions.

We are particularly excited about Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) architecture that promises to deliver fast application provisioning and simplified operations. ACI networks will be built upon a flatter 2 tier network architecture that requires some new ways of thinking about how an optimal physical infrastructure should be built. Panduit has been working with Cisco to understand the differences between traditional three tier physical architectures and the ACI architecture, and will be presenting the “ACI Impact on Physical Infrastructure Design and Deployment” in the general session on Tuesday May, 20th at 2:00 p.m. PDT. Examples of cabinets configured with Spine/Leaf network topologies including Top of Rack (ToR), End of Rack (EoR) and Middle of Rack (MoR).

Continue reading

The Health of Your Network Matters

Nursing HomeHospitals, clinics, extended care facilities, and physicians’ offices are facing increasing pressure to improve the quality of healthcare while decreasing costs.  In response, health care providers are adopting greater use of electronic medical records, automated equipment and building automation systems. As a result, the number of users requiring network access through the use of portable and mobile devices such as handheld units and laptops to manage patient records, monitor clinical applications and reference workplace requirements is extending the need for campus wide network access.

Continue reading

Details, Details, Details – Individual Components or Pre-Configured Cabinets?

The devil is in the details. This is true for many endeavors, particularly when building out a data center’s physical infrastructure. Given the scope and investment of the entire data center project, the physical infrastructure can seem relatively minor. Missing some important details however, can have a significant impact on installation schedules, and your job…who wants to explain why a new service or application is delayed  because a minor component doesn’t fit right or didn’t arrive on schedule?  Missing details can also impact network performance when work-arounds, done for the sake for expediency, lead to operational problems or worse….after the data center has been commissioned.

Continue reading

Maintaining Energy Efficiency

New research information from Data Center Dynamics indicates that global data center energy consumption in 2013 has slowed down to 7% growth as compared to 19% between 2011 and 2012. This reduction is attributed to energy efficiency measures, consolidation projects and outsourcing, primarily in mature markets.

Data Center Dynamics Graphic

So, does this mean data center managers and operators can breathe a sigh of relief? Not necessarily. Once energy efficiency improvement goals have been attained, how do you maintain that level of efficiency over the lifecycle of your data center?

Continue reading

Improving UPS Power Management for Industrial Networks

Power interruptions and power quality are frequent causes of downtime in manufacturing, costing the average operation thousands of dollars each year in lost productivity.

Recovering quickly from an event is critical; when the machinery has recovered and is ready to go, having production wait on the infrastructure to “reboot” is simply unacceptable.UPS-420-x-420

Just that situation can occur—network switches, PCs, and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are key parts of modern control systems, and even short “blips” in power can cause restarts that delay device availability for up to several minutes.

As ensuring power to these devices during outages is critical to quick machine recovery, many manufacturers rely on a traditional battery-based UPS (uninterruptible power supply) system as an insurance policy.

However battery-based UPS systems are reliant on battery maintenance. Users must be willing to implement a rigorous program to monitor, maintain and properly dispose of batteries to ensure effectiveness.

Some of the common identified issues with traditional UPS systems:

Continue reading