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100% Network Uptime Is An Expectation of Smartphone Users

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If you have ever needed to use your Smartphone and not been able to access your carrier’s network you know how incredibly frustrating it is.  And if you are lucky enough to have never experienced this, you have likely come to expect your carrier’s network to provide 100% uptime.  Network uptime is the ultimate goal of any data center and without network uptime businesses lose money and clients become incredibly frustrated.  We live in a world of instant gratification and knowledge constantly at our fingertips.  When something stands in our way or slows us down we no longer see it as frustrating but completely unacceptable.  And, as research shows, network uptime is not a simple luxury, it is an expectation.

In a study recently conducted by Vasona Networks, proof of an expectation amongst customers of 100% uptime was shown, “Sixty-four percent of consumers responding to the survey cited “good performance all the time” as a reasonable expectation from their mobile data service provider. Just 36 percent of subscribers still think it is reasonable for there to be “hiccups in performance,” “unavailability for extended periods” or “unavailability in certain places.” When asked to identify the principal cause of problems during use of an app, mobile service providers are the most commonly cited party for blame, with 40 percent selecting them. Thirty-nine percent blame the app maker and the remainder of consumers suspect their device or device operating system to be the cause. Data service quality is crucial for subscribers, with 29 percent citing “mobile Internet performance” as most important when choosing a provider… “Mobile Internet performance is becoming increasingly important for consumers and this survey indicates just how high a bar subscribers are setting for their service providers,” says John Reister, vice president of marketing and product management for Vasona Networks. “Our findings indicate that it is no longer sufficient for mobile operators to offer a good experience most of the time across most of their network. Today, if every cell isn’t delivering great performance, subscribers are being let down.”  Customers today do not simply expect network availability during business hours, or even waking hours, service must exist 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Not only will network downtime frustrate customers and possibly drive them to another provider but it comes with a significant cost to companies.  Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company makes note of the high cost of network downtime, ” This is a follow-up to last week’s post on network downtime as several have asked “What is the cost of  network downtime?” Based on industry surveys, the number we typically cite is $5,600 p/minute, which extrapolates to well over $300K p/hour (see Ensure Cost Balances Out With Risk in High-Availability Data Centers by Dave Cappuccio). However, this is just an average and there is a large degree of variance, based on the characteristics of your business and environment (i.e., your vertical, risk tolerance etc).”    That is no small price to pay.  Every network provider needs to spend more time focusing on network uptime so keep customers satisfied so that customers can be retained and financial loss prevented.

 

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Anticipating Future Rack Density and How to Prepare for Changes

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Much like a doomsday prepper stocking up on as much water and canned goods for the arrival of the end times, data center and IT professionals have been discussing and preparing for the increase of rack density that is coming in the years ahead.  For years and years now IT professionals have been predicting a massive increase in future rack density and…so far…they have been wrong.  Many server racks currently operate at around 3-5 kW per rack and some people are predicting that within a matter of years rack densities will each 50 kW.  But, as inflated predictions continue to plague the IT world more and more businesses and data centers find themselves with bloated, overbuilt data centers that end up being far more than what is actually needed and a complete waste.  A data center with a massive amount of unused capacity will, take up space and consume a completely unnecessary amount of energy that will simply go unused.  While it is important to build a data center that is scalable and future-proof, completely overdoing it with capacity is not necessarily the right way to go.

So, can you really predict future rack density?  Is it worth it to even try?  When talking about creating a future-proof data center, you do have to at least consider potential future density needs.  If rack density is going to dramatically increase data centers must be prepared to power and cool such a high density.  The lower the rack density the less energy and money it takes to power and cool it so considering a tripling (or more) of rack density can seem quite daunting.  Some recent surveys and reports from industry experts predict that by 2025 rack density could be around, or even exceed, 52 kW.  2025 is still 10 years away but that is not so far off that we should not start preparing now.

While there will certainly be some data centers operating at 25 kW or 50 kW by the year 2025, it is unlikely that this will be the average or even the trend.  The primary reason for this is technology.  New technology that will help lower rack density is likely to emerge in that time.  Even a change to a rack density of 25 kW will mean a significant change to the physical environment in a data center.  While rack density will most certainly increase in the next decade, so will utilization rates which means more efficient performance.  Additionally, in the next decade it is expected that there will be major changes in the way data centers are powered.  When it comes to the future of data center power, solar is the name of the game.  In addition to solar power, nuclear, gas and wind power will also be utilized to create a more energy efficient data center.  All of these things will impact the way data centers anticipate and manage an increase in rack density.  If there is one thing that is clear, scalability is critical to the preparation and management of increased rack density in the future.

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Human Error the Cause of Data Center Downtime – Practical Tips for Minimizing

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Ask any IT or data center manager what the most frustrating aspect of running a data center is and they will most likely tell you it is downtime.  Downtime is an outage of computer service, network connectivity or online service for a period of time.  The period of time could be as short as a few seconds with no limit of length.  While a few seconds of downtime may sound like no big deal to most people, data center managers and those who have worked in IT departments know differently.  Downtime is a big deal.  Downtime is frustrating for businesses, for customers, for IT departments and for data centers.  And, beyond frustration, downtime is costly.  A recent report from Gartner noted the high cost of downtime, “Based on industry surveys, the number we typically cite is $5,600 p/minute, which extrapolates to well over $300K p/hour.”  In order to prevent downtime, data center and IT department managers must try to understand the root cause of downtime.  The trouble is, there can be a variety of causes when it comes to downtime.  But interestingly, the most common cause of downtime is actually human error.  The good news about this is that human error, at least in many cases, is preventable.

When talking about human error, you might wonder just how much downtime does human error account for?  Data Center Knowledge notes just how much human error can influence downtime in data centers, “Data center downtime is often the result of equipment failure, or a chain reaction of unexpected events. But one of the leading causes of data center downtime is human error, as ComputerWorld reminds us in Stupid Data Center Tricks, which relays anecdotes of data center mishaps. The story notes a study by The Uptime Institute, which estimates that human error causes roughly 70 percent of the problems that plague data centers today. How can this problem be mitigated? “There is no doubt that human errors in the data center causes a great deal of downtime and some of these can be avoided by adhering to some simple steps,” said Ahmad Moshiri, director of power technical support for Emerson Network Power’s Liebert Services business.”  70 percent is a staggering statistic.  A lot of human error is avoidable and Data Center Knowledge offers some valuable, practical tips that all data centers can implement.

1. Shielding Emergency OFF Buttons

2. Documented Method of Procedure

3. Correct Component Labeling

4. Consistent Operating Practices

5. Ongoing Personnel Training

6. Secure Access Policies

7. Enforcing Food/Drinks Policies

8. Avoiding Contaminants

To truly minimize downtime that is caused by human error a lot of discipline will be necessary.  Practical steps are great in theory but they must be implemented with dedication and procedure for them to truly work.  With patience, persistence and time downtime as a result of human error can be greatly diminished.

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Tips for Maneuvering Your Way Through the Clouds

If you’re thinking of implementing cloud-based services with your regular data center services, you’ll want to make sure you know what you’re getting into so that you don’t get lost in the clouds. At Titan Power we realize how popular and powerful cloud computing is becoming, be we also know how confusing it can be for data center mangers who don’t know what they’re getting into or how to use cloud-based services to their fullest potential.

 

Know What You’re Buying

 

As you’re considering cloud-based services, be sure that they’ll be able to easily integrate with your data center’s existing infrastructure. Before agreeing to a uniform service, look over everything that’s included with the service and be clear on exactly how the service will be implemented with your current technology infrastructure. Ask questions and request an explanation for anything that isn’t clear.

 

Have a Solid Idea of Your Commitment

 

You’ll find that a majority of cloud-based services are bought on either a subscription or a pay-per-use basis. There will also more than likely be minimum requirements to consider. Take a look at those requirements and ask yourself if they’re a good fit for whatever cloud service you’ll be adding on.

 

Know That You’ll Have Access to the Cloud When you Need It

 

Whether the cloud service is for you, your clients or both, you’ll want to be sure that you can easily and quickly access the service when you need it. As you’re considering cloud service providers, ask whether or not they have secondary servers, regular back-ups and a solid disaster recovery plan. We also suggest that you be sure there’s sufficient up-time during access periods, which includes your peak operation hours.

 

Full Data Access

 

In addition to having constant and consistent access to your data, you should also ask if you’ll have your data in a form you can actually use. Another good question we recommend is to ask if your cloud data will be returned to you in a fully usable format if you decide to part ways with your cloud service provider.

 

Secure Cloud Storage

 

Know exactly who will have access to your data and where your data will be stored. Any security measures that cloud service providers use should be in full compliance with the most recent data security laws. It’s best that you review data security measures and ask to be made aware of any changes to those measures as well as data breaches. You should also find out about cost remedies in the event that a data breach takes place.

 

Just as not all data centers are created equal, the same is true of cloud-based services. Titan Power is here to help you smoothly and efficiently implement cloud computing with your data center, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help.

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Not Even the U.S. Department of Energy Is Safe From Hackers

At Titan Power, we take security seriously and design all of our data center infrastructures with your confidence in mind. Technology is always evolving, and while savvy business owners can surely capitalize on that trend, unfortunately so can hackers. In 2013, The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) faced two cyber attacks that breached secure servers and compromised the personal information of DOE employees. This acts as a very real warning for other businesses, as even the most secure servers can still fall victim to cyber threats.

 

Which Details Were Stolen

 

Most of us would probably be happy to go a lifetime without receiving a “cyber incident” notice from our employers, especially U.S. government workers. In 2013, the Department of Energy faced not one by two security breaches. The second attack compromised the personal information of some 14,000 employees, including:

 

  • Names of current and past employees
  • Their social security numbers
  • Their payroll data.

 

Although authorities maintain that no classified data regarding the government was targeted or stolen, these types of cyber attacks clearly pose very serious threats to personal privacy. This is especially true when sensitive information like social security numbers are involved that can be the fast track to identity theft.

 

Who’s at Risk

 

Unfortunately, any business that has a human resources system can be at risk for cyber attacks. Hackers need only get access to your HR data management system to expose everything from social security numbers to physical addresses. For the savvy hacker, that’s a piece of cake. Prior to the second cyber attack on the Department of Energy, for example, there had been a string of security breaches involving several high profile companies. Some of those targeted included:

 

  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • The Journal.

 

Even more problematic is the fact that these hackers are often great at covering up their identities. It can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to determine who is behind a cyber attack as the Department of Energy discovered firsthand.

 

What You Can Do

 

Unless you have the time, patience, and overhead to switch back to physical bookkeeping, unfortunately the threat of cyber attacks will always part of the way that businesses of today and tomorrow look at security. The best way you can safeguard your employees and their information is to engineer, update, and manage your data centers with security in mind.

 

Contact Us

 

At Titan Power, we take pride in training our technicians on the most current data security protocols and building them into our systems. If you’re worried about a potential cyber breach or are interested in updating your current data management system to a more secure server, call us today at (800) 509-6170 to see how we can help.

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What’s Driving the Surge in SMB Data Center Spending

At Titan Power, we take pride in delivering the latest solutions for data center design and management to businesses of all sizes, even when those solutions are constantly evolving. One of the biggest shifts we’re seeing in the industry right now is the switch from on-premises to cloud-based and third party serviced data center management on a massive scale. One study reported that spending on data center services was expected to grow by 18.39% this year among small to medium sized businesses, but industry insiders think that figure could go higher thanks to several driving forces.

 

Expansion of Offsite SMB Data Center Management

 

Data center solution providers believe SMB cloud opportunities are some of the most predominant factors driving the trend in third party data center spending. More and more SMBs are choosing to divest data management jobs that are just too costly in time. One insider remarked that the 18.39% figure was much too low, given that more and more businesses are choosing to leave data center management to third party pros and this is a trend that’s only expected to grow. In fact, spending on data center management could increase by as much as 50% because:

 

  • Growth is only projected to accelerate over the next 3 – 5 years
  • Physical servers will reach their end of life in this time
  • Organizations will choose to replace them with third party and cloud-based solutions.

 

The SMB Spending Shift is Already Taking Hold

 

Some companies and pioneers are already making monumental investments in data center infrastructure. Google is one such example. Less than two years ago, Google invested a record breaking $1.6 billion in data centers.

 

From Philosophical to Practical

 

Cloud versus on-premise data infrastructure has long been considered more of a religious debate than actual discussion. Now, we’re seeing practicality take over. More and more business owners agree that cost and growth scalability have the biggest impact on their decisions to switch to third party data center management.

 

What It All Means

 

The shift to cloud-based data center spending is no doubt an exciting development. For businesses that have the budget to do so, the change in data management means more time and overhead to focus on company growth rather than tedious server management tasks. Businesses need only seek the assistance of a savvy third party service provider that is skilled in cloud-based solutions, like Titan Power, to start reaping the benefits of off-site data center management.

 

Contact Us

 

Want to learn more about how Titan Power can help streamline your data center management? Call us today at (800) 509-6170 to see what we can do for you.

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Efficiently Reducing Costs While Improving Performance of Your Data Center

Cloud computing has quickly insinuated itself into the stream of day-to-day online services and activities. Here at Titan Power we want you to reap the full benefits of cloud computing all while improving the overall performance of your data center and successfully keeping your new costs as low as possible. Learn how to properly balance new practices for cloud computing with sensible tips.

 

Centralized Thinking

 

One of your first ideas for cutting costs in your data center while boosting efficiency for cloud computing may be to centralize data. Doing so will undoubtedly allow you to better maintain all of your equipment in a single location where you may not need as many employees to keep operations running smoothly. The only downside to this centralized method is that you’re sure to take a financial blow in terms of scalability. Improved performance demands improved equipment, which means more energy use and more expensive equipment.

 

Rather than follow the trend of centralized storage, you’ll be better off with distributed storage systems. Educate yourself on new technology that gives you the ability to improve your software performance, which you might find more efficient than centralized data storage.

 

Sluggish Performance

 

Data bottlenecks are common when it comes to cloud computing. There are more users than ever, each of whom is expecting better performance in addition to a service provider who can easily handle larger files of videos, photos and music files. In addition to handling larger files, your storage system is also expected to scale to every new user.

 

To keep bottlenecks at a minimum, you’ll want to avoid single points of entry at all costs. We also recommend that you skip adding caches and instead opt for a horizontally scalable system. Now you can easily divide data among each of your connections, which also gives you the option of choosing affordable low-energy hardware.

 

Supply and Demand

 

Much more will be expected of your data center in terms of storage once you start offering cloud-based services. In addition to dealing with data bottlenecks caused by data flowing through a single gateway of standard storage appliances, you may also have to decide whether or not to start charging users in order to meet the new financial demands of cloud computing.

 

You don’t have to feel as though you have no choice but to use new hardware that seems to offer a better performance. Look into commodity hardware instead. Commodity-component servers are more affordable, don’t use as much energy and can be just as good as some of the newer equipment on the market.

 

Take your time and focus on the smaller details when it comes to implementing cloud computing with your current data center services. Get in touch with us here at Titan Power for more tips for raising your data center into the clouds.

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The Benefits and Costs of Going Modular

As businesses continue to look for ways to expand their IT centers to increase efficiency, modular data centers will continue to grow in popularity. Organizations that seek to implement these data centers in a relatively short amount of time need to be fully aware of the costs and benefits that are associated with going modular.

 

Modular data centers are portable data center solutions for businesses in need of quick and easy deployable data center. Modular centers are great because organizations don’t have to invest a great deal of time or money into building extra data centers when they are needed. Modular data centers can be placed anywhere at any time to accommodate an organization’s need for additional data storage, computing and operation.

 

Preparations Costs

 

Even though businesses that choose to use modular data centers don’t need to do a whole lot of planning to deploy them, there are still some planning activities that should not be overlooked. Deployment site, assembly and inspection processes must be completed prior to going live to prevent delays ad mitigate risks. Modular data centers are significantly cheaper to setup, deploy and manage than traditional data centers.

 

Integration

 

Unlike traditional data centers, modular centers come with software and controls already in place, which helps to alleviate the amount of time and costs associated with training, assembling and learning new systems. Modular data centers are essentially optimized to eliminate complex integration processes.

 

Design Efficiency

 

Portable data centers are much smaller than traditional IT centers. Traditional IT centers are designed with the current and future needs of an organization in mind. Predicting the future IT needs of an organization can be very challenging due to the dynamics of business, which is why many traditional data centers have unused white space. Some businesses choose to focus on their current needs and end up with IT centers that are sorely overcapacity. Overcapacity and unused white space results in higher operational and energy expenses and reduces the reliability, efficiency, and cooling of the data center.

 

Modular data centers are designed so that every inch of space is used. Their design is more efficient and denser, resulting in lower energy costs. Modular centers also have advanced power and cooling systems built into them to enhance the efficiency of the center itself.

 

The total cost of ownership and lifecycle of modular data centers offer organizations a more efficient and cost-effective way to meet their growing IT needs without making any long term commitments that could affect their bottom-line in the future.

 

Contact Titan Power today to learn how our modular data center solutions can help your organization to save money while meeting its data capacity needs.

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The Evolution of Cloud Computing and Virtualized Data Centers

As IT managers strive to find ways to mitigate their network expenses while improving efficiency, valuable time and money is being lost. Many organizations are experiencing a multitude of outages and failures that result in less efficiency, increased downtime and thousands in lost revenue. Many organizations are upgrading their IT infrastructures every few years in an effort to reduce the amount of downtime and outages that they are experiencing. The need for IT architecture that is capable of enabling businesses to evolve and accelerate their data centers is stronger than ever.

 

Business Demands

 

It’s no secret that IT departments need to find a way to compute and store more data without using more space, money, and resources. Businesses that resort to using virtualized data centers along with cloud computing software can increase their availability, uptime, security, and performance without creating complex data processes.

 

Virtualization

 

Virtualization technology is not new, but the ability to scale and deploy software at unprecedented rates is. The rate that data can be moved, stored, and processed so that networks can operate seamlessly and independently of one another without any additional software is so revolutionary that businesses are trying to figure out to implement the right kind of IT architecture without taking on any of the costs. Organizations gain greater flexibility without sacrificing any of their IT needs to do so.

 

Cloud Computing

 

Software lives in the cloud so that organizations don’t have to invest in space to house it. The cloud location of applications doesn’t affect their ability to access the resources they need whenever they want. They can user as much or as little of these applications as they need and only pay for the amount of resources they actually use. Cloud computing enhances the architecture of virtual cloud data centers.

 

Increased Efficiency

 

Virtualization adds an extra layer of abstraction making it possible for organizations to pick and choose what they use to enhance their operations, increase efficiency, and uptime without having to invest too much into their own IT architecture and foundations. As more businesses start to pay close attention to the evolution of cloud computing and virtualized data centers, the easier it will be for them to select platforms that will enable them to gradually adapt their networks and infrastructure to meet the growing needs of their organizations and reduce their reliance on expensive and traditional data centers.

 

The right cloud computing and virtualization software can mitigate many of the risks and costs that are associated with expanding and running IT networks. Contact Titan Power to learn how our data center designs and solutions can enhance the efficiency, reliability and transparency of your organization.

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Data Center Commissioning and Why it Matters

A company’s data center functions as the repository for all information and provides essential computer network support for operations performed by employees. This center is a significant investment and will provide a company with the support required for future growth and development. For this reason, special attention needs to be given to the commissioning of a new center.

 

Designing and installing a data center is a major undertaking for any organization. This process requires time, money, and attention and may even cause some disruptions in normal business operations. Making this process effective and efficient is therefore important. While some organizations have chosen to take care of design and installation in-house, there are several reasons why commissioning with an experienced team is the wiser option.

 

Your Data Center Begins With an Idea

 

A data center exists from the time that decision makers choose to pursue its creation. Each step, from space analysis and power needs assessment all the way to final system implementation, develops the center’s form and function. Each step in this process has to be conducted with precision if the next stage is to proceed correctly. The successful completion of any data center project relies on the successful completion of every step leading up to the finish.

 

The Expertise of Experience

 

The Titan Power team has many years of experience designing power centers precisely to clients’ specifications. As a result, we can offer things that most in-house data center development teams are not able to. For instance:

 

  • Our technicians and engineers have the skill and expertise required to develop innovative solutions that meet the unique needs of your organization
  • We can create systems that work within the parameters of your organization’s infrastructure and resources
  • Up to date best practices and safety protocols will be employed develop the most modern center possible
  • Energy efficiency concerns and questions regarding backup power supplies can be addressed immediately
  • We provide administrative oversight as well as hands-on design services to better address your specific needs
  • Our team offers support for acceptance testing and other essential protocols to ensure reliable function and compliance

 

Given that an estimated 70% of early equipment failures can be attributed to deficiencies in design, installation, or startup, decision makers should seek out data center development teams that have a proven track record of success. A lot of money, time, and productivity can be lost while the problems are identified and addressed.

 

We Can Help

 

If you would like to know more about our commissioning approach, just ask. We want each of our clients to feel comfortable with all aspects of data center design.

 

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