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You and Your DCIM Provider

The data center environment is one of the most complex in the world, with an infrastructure comprised of a confluence of interrelationships between different operating components. Thus, executives and data center managers need tools that can help them to not only see the workings of their IT assets and support systems, but also to understand them in order to manage and optimize them effectively.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) platforms can help you do just that. These programs can help you to visualize and manage all of your physical and IT assets within a single integrated view and align all of your IT operations with the needs of your corporation. A quality DCIM software program will also allow you to automate data center functions such as capacity planning and the integration of new equipment, as well as help to control your energy costs, potentially saving you millions over the long-term.

Selecting the Right Vendor

Yet succeeding with DCIM requires that you have the right vendor providing you with your service. DCIM has evolved so much since its first incursion into the data center market that many providers are struggling now to keep up. Whichever provider that you choose to work with should view DCIM as a multi-purpose management tool, rather than a simple IT asset monitoring system. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when selecting your DCIM provider:

  • Understanding the application beyond the data center: DCIM isn’t simply limited to assisting with your IT; it also helps to integrate all of physical infrastructure needed to support it. That includes all of the actual hardware at the many facilities across your corporation. Thus, your DCIM vendor should stress its impact at an enterprise level, not simply a data center one.
  • Selling it as a comprehensive solution: While the original intent of DCIM was to simply monitor energy use, it has since grown to encompass IT automation and energy, service, and supply chain management. Any vendor that doesn’t emphasize its comprehensive use is one you don’t want to work with.
  • An emphasis on management, not just monitoring: Your DCIM platform will provide you with a wealth of energy consumption information. Yet your vendor should be able to show you how to turn that data in actionable information, allowing you to not just visualize your IT operations, but to also optimize them for your organization’s benefit

DCIM solutions can make your life as a data center manager a whole lot less stressful. Yet selecting the right DCIM provider is key to enjoying all of the management benefits that this platform has to offer. As experts in the fields of data center design, management, and maintenance, we here at Titan Power have the expertise and insight to help you better understand DCIM and exactly how it you can put it to good use in your environment. With our help, you’ll have all of the information that you need to make an informed decision regarding your choice of DCIM vendors.

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How to Increase Reception of “Bring Your Own Device” Programs For Employees

With businesses facing more pressure than ever to implement a BYOD program, it is becoming more challenging for organizations to roll out an effective BYOD program without frustrating and alienating employees. Here are 10 ways to increase the reception and popularity of your company’s BYOD mobility program.

 

  1. Regular Audits

 

Use corporate applications and special device configurations to regularly audit employee work activities and communication on their mobile devices without infringing on their personal privacy and activity.

 

  1. Communication

 

Inform your employees of their responsibilities and obligations concerning mobile device use. Mobile devices should be configured to prevent abuse, data wiping, malware, unauthorized remote access and control, and any other activities that can put your company at risk.

 

  1. Data Encryption and Protection

 

There is no need for any company to sacrifice its IT security with the implementation of BYOD. Enterprise solutions provide management tools to enhance security and maintain separation between work and personal use.

 

  1. Device Choice

 

To get employees to embrace and comply with the needs of your business, provide them with an appealing selection of company owned or managed mobile devices to choose from.

 

  1. Remote Access

 

All mobile devices should have profiles, applications, content, and authenticity tools that are configured to provide employees with secure remote access to corporate resources and information based on the type of ownership, use, and employee role.

 

  1. Contingency Plan for Breaches

 

Incorporate a contingency plan for data breaches. Contingency plans make it easier for your company to recover and mitigate its risks.

 

  1. Compliance

 

Mitigate risks by providing, maintaining and updating consent agreements that inform employees about the types of data that is being collected and monitored on their devices. Consent agreements should also include guidelines detailing the type of activity that is allowed on company managed mobile devices.

 

  1. User Privacy

 

Implement privacy management tools to protect and maintain the privacy of your employees and company. Privacy management tools prevent personal data collection and enable the user to configure their mobile device to separate corporate and personal correspondence.

 

  1. Work Resources

 

To further protect the needs of business, use BYOD mobile enterprise configurations and applications to remove company data and access without affecting personal data and privacy when an employee is no longer with the company.

 

  1. Employee Morale

 

Implement a variety of the right strategies and mobility solutions to increase employee morale, compliance, and productivity.

 

With the right tools, your company can save time, money, and resources without sacrificing the security or availability of its data. Contact Titan Power to learn how our data management and security tools can improve the efficiency of your company’s BYOD program.

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Finding the Right Construction Team for Your Next Data Center Project

Choosing Your Data Center Design Contractor

Designing and building your own data center is a massive undertaking. Yet that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a task that even small companies can accomplish. Such a decision, while requiring a larger up-front investment, can help you to save money over time from having to pay for data collocation services. Yet even though you feel as though you and your partners bring enough IT and equipment knowledge to the project to be able to handle the build yourself, you’ll quickly find that that there are enough potential problems that can occur with data center development to make working with a specialized contractor well worth the expense.

Potential Problems with Data Center Construction

While your expertise may lie in the understanding of your equipment, it won’t necessarily extend into how to place that equipment in the ideal environment. Any number of unanticipated problems can occur during a data center build, such as:

  • Required modifications to your initial design
  • The actual impact of physical support systems on white space
  • Time sinks that interrupt your daily operations
  • Budgeting concerns

A qualified data center design contractor and its accompanying construction team can help you to avoid these issues by addressing the potential for these concerns during the development stage. Their experience in overcoming these issues can help you keep your project from being wrapped up in red tape and hindering your ability to deliver quality data management services to your customers.

Points to Ponder When Choosing a Contractor

Yet not all data center contractors are created equal. While each may help you to ultimately get to where you want to be, which is operating your own facility, the actual process of getting there can differ greatly between various providers. Thus, you and your management team should focus on the following service aspects when considering bids:

  • Reliability: Is the contractor able to demonstrate to you sufficient resources within his or her team to be able get the job done to your specifications and within your allotted time frame?
  • Experience: Is the contractor familiar with your equipment, and thus acquainted with its comprehensive management needs (i.e., energy output, environmental controls)?
  • Flexibility: Will the construction team be able to effectively manage any requested design changes or unforeseen obstacles and still complete your construction on time?
  • Price: Will the contractor’s expertise come at such as high price as to drive you so far over your project’s budget that you begin to question its practical need?

The success of your data center project depends largely on the skills of the contractor you partner with in its construction. We here at Titan Power have been recognized as industry leaders in the design, development, and construction of data centers. Our team brings years of collective experience in engineering, architecture, technology, and consulting to each project that we undertake. We invite you to put that experience to work for your organization when creating your next data center.

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Computer Room & Critical Environment Trends

There is always going to be a need for data storage and management hardware and servers. That is why it is so imperative for your organization to find cost-effective solutions and resources to maintain them. This increases the need for data centers, computer rooms, and critical environments. One essential way to achieve efficiency and reliability in your organization is to be aware of computer room and critical environment trends.

 

Trends

 

Data efficiency and reliability are necessary for your organization to continue to grow. Data centers and computer rooms need to be in place to house the electronic equipment that your organization uses to store, manage, communicate, network, and process data.

 

Current trends include:

 

  • Reduce costs and space
  • Increase efficiency and compliance
  • Increase production and security
  • Improve disaster recovery
  • Increase computing capabilities
  • Increase reliability and availability
  • Reduce carbon footprint

 

Use these trends to optimize your organization’s data centers, computer rooms, and critical environments.

 

Consolidation

 

As the needs and the demands of your organization grow, so does the need to reduce operational expenses and paper trails. Consolidation makes it easier to maintain resiliency. Consolidating your data can also be profitable for your business. Moving your organization’s IT infrastructure to a shared environment helps to reduce cost and risk.

 

Power & Cooling

 

Although consolidating to smaller devices and environments means less space, the power and heat that is needed to run these environments increases. It is extremely important for critical environments to be properly maintained to prevent data loss, breaches, downtime, and other issues that can affect the efficiency of your organization.

 

Key power and cooling necessities include:

 

  • Emergency service
  • Regular and preventative maintenance
  • Efficient energy and cooling equipment
  • Humidity control modules
  • Efficient data center design and structure

 

The right power and cooling solutions provide around the clock monitoring and regulation of the environment inside of your organization’s computer rooms to promote cleanliness, air flow, and temperature control to protect your hardware and servers.

 

Modularity

 

Finding and securing the space and finances to build or expand data centers is a costly and time-consuming process. As your organization starts to consolidate its IT infrastructure, the risk of downtime increases. Prevent unexpected and expensive downtime during consolidation by employing the use of modular data center solutions to increase the resiliency of your data and servers.

 

Protect your organization, increase its efficiency, and mitigate your risks and costs by developing a hybrid server consolidation and virtualization strategy. Contact Titan Power today to learn how we can migrate, protect, manage, and enhance your data environments and processes with our data center and critical environment solutions.

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Where Does the Power Used by a Data Center Come From?

Keeping a data center supplied with the power required for ongoing function is a more complex undertaking than many people realize. Since a data center has to operate without interruption, careful engineering is required to meet this particular requirement. While household appliances such as refrigerators are able to sustain constant operation, sustaining a data center is not quite as simple as plugging it in to a building’s power supply. The power that keeps a company’s data center operational can come from a range of sources and the inflow must be regulated by the center’s own power monitors. These monitors detect minute fluctuations in available power and will switch to backup supplies if the primary source of electricity becomes unreliable in any way. Though the whole system works together in a harmonious manner, there are several stages that the power passes through on its way to the data center.

 

Municipal Power Grids

 

In nearly every case, a data center’s power will come from a municipal power grid that is supplied by coal, solar, nuclear, or wind energy producers. The electricity dispersed through the grid is an alternating current – AC power. Though some DC power exists, converters are required to modulate the strength of direct currents before it can be put to use. However, DC energy is still likely to play a role in the supply of a data center, as we will see.

 

A Backup Power Supply

 

Many data centers include a power converter that transforms AC energy into DC energy for storage in the battery cells. These batteries provide a stable and reliable source of power in case the main supply fails or becomes unreliable. Several things take place in these circumstances:

 

  • The monitor detects any fluctuation in power supply beyond a certain threshold limit
  • The transfer switch reroutes the power supply to draw from the backup power source, such as a bank of battery cells
  • The normal flow of power is reinstated once the supply returns to normal levels
  • Storage batteries are recharged from the power grid or other source in order to be ready for the next outage, power spike, or power drop

 

Switching from the main power supply to a backup source takes less than a second thanks to state of the art transfer switches. The rapid transfer from one power source to another ensures continuous operation.

 

Preserving Vital Function

 

A data center’s power supply maintains the function of systems essential to company operations. With the right design and support services, your company’s valuable center will be protected. You can depend on Titan Power to supply the services required to develop a data center that meets and exceeds your expectations.

 

 

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Are Redundant Batteries Important for Data Center Power Supplies?

Data centers require a secure flow of electricity in order to function correctly. With the right power supply, each center will provide the performance a company requires for ongoing operations. Each center designed by Titan Power makes use of the best practices in engineering to deliver comprehensive power supply solutions.

 

Uninterrupted power supplies are achieved through the use of batteries and other backup electrical sources that go to work the moment that an electrical fluctuation is detected. This relay is fairly straightforward but not every company has the same power supply needs. Various redundancies can be integrated into a center’s design to provide an additional layer of security. When it comes to safeguarding the informational heart of your organization, taking extra precautions are always worth the effort.

 

Main Batteries and Redundant Batteries

 

The battery power cells connected to every data center power supply must be capable of providing adequate electricity for several hours at a stretch. Precisely how many batteries are required depends on each center’s configuration and its maximum power needs. To determine this, speak with your center design or administration team. Once these needs have been determined, the backup power supply will be configured.

 

There are two battery configurations frequently found in power supply backups. These are:

 

  • N+1 redundant battery supply: This configuration takes the number of batteries required for data center operation (N) and increases it by one. If many batteries are required to operate your data center, this configuration can be quite economical since only a single additional purchase needs made. This way a battery can fail and your center will still continue to run.
  • Parallel redundancy model: In this configuration, two equal battery banks provide backup power to a data center. If one bank fails then the other is able to support center operations on its own. This configuration is frequently used by smaller data centers and those with more limited power needs. Batteries may be stored in secure cabinets where maintenance and monitoring can take place.

 

Safeguarding Your Essential Information

 

Data centers support essential computer operations by housing servers and other vital system components. Though all computer equipment is designed to function correctly within a certain range of available power, too much or too little will interfere with operation and can even damage sensitive items. Information can be lost as a result of this damage, which can cost a lot of time and money to repair. Protecting the power supply required by your data center is a significant investment in your company’s long term financial well-being. If you would like to learn more about your data center’s power needs, Titan Power can help.

 

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Dealing With IT Equipment That No Longer Gets Used

Dealing with unused equipment can be a challenge. Create a plan to harvest or dispose of decommissioned equipment.

 

A datacenter is often a beautiful facility. Efficient data centers contain rows and rows of flashing lights and rack-mounted servers. However, the useful life of these machines can be just several years. At that time, datacenter managers must retire equipment in order to maintain the reliability and efficiency of the facility. We at Titan Power understand the potential problems with disposing of unused equipment. Here is a plan to deal with decommissioned servers.

 

  1. Create a List of the Decommissioned, Unused, or Retired IT Assets

 

Not all IT equipment is created equal. Some retired equipment is still useful for other purposes while the rest may not be salvageable at all. Mangers can do a little research to better understand the different types of equipment they are dealing with. Then they can list existing unused equipment, separating the items into groups by equipment type, age, and configuration. It is a good idea to include a basic description along with a photograph for each asset.

 

  1. Analyze the Security Profile of the Listed Assets

 

Some assets are too sensitive to leave the facility as is under any circumstances. Servers with hard drives or solid state drives (SSDs) can contain sensitive client data. Some of that data may still be required by the client. Datacenter managers can properly analyze the security profile of their assets with the help of a NAID AAA Certified partner. With this advice, managers can determine whether they must sanitize or completely destroy particular assets.

 

  1. Determine the Residual Value

 

Many datacenter managers are surprised at the value of their decommissioned equipment. However, a datacenter team can waste a lot of time trying to evaluate assets one by one. A good strategy is to contact a remarketing partner to evaluate the value of the items on the list. The right partner can not only estimate resale value, he or she can provide the costs of data destruction. With this information, managers can determine an overall return on investment (ROI) for various disposal options.

 

  1. Make Sure to Properly Recycle No-Value Assets

 

For assets that are not suitable for remarketing, contact an IT asset disposition (ITAD) specialist. They can sort through all of the valueless items that are damaged or obsolete. A qualified ITAD vendor will have e-Stewards or R2-RIOS certifications. By working through such a vendor, datacenter managers will have performed due diligence in ensuring that their unused IT equipment is disposed of in a legal and responsible manner.

 

  1. Create a Plan for Future Decommissioned Equipment

 

Design a strategy for dealing with equipment left over from future upgrades, refreshes, virtualization, and cloud migration. We at Titan Power are ready to help with this effort, in order to streamline essential recycling processes.

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Critical Steps for Relocating or Migrating Your Data Center

Even the best IT team is often frightened by the thought of needing to migrate or relocate a data center, but for many companies it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when you will need to perform this task. When the time comes, it’s critical that you follow certain steps to prepare for and execute the task appropriately so you won’t risk losing data or losing valuable time and money because servers go down during the process.

 

The Risks of Data Center Migration

 

For many businesses, the data they store is critical to the daily operations of the business. When data is lost or unavailable it can severely hamper your employees and even put your customer information at risk. As you prepare for data center migration, you must have systems in place to minimize potential variables, create opportunities to back out if necessary, and isolate information so you can contain any problems and avoid the risks of losing information and applications critical to your daily business.

 

Preparing for the Relocation or Migration

 

The most important thing you can do to prevent data loss or other mishaps during this transition is to be prepared for the event. Here are some steps to take before a data center relocation or migration.

 

Map Out Your Data Center: Before you move, relocate, or migrate any information you need to know exactly what you have in your data center. The wrong time to be surprised by servers, hardware, or storage and networking equipment that you were unaware of is during the middle of the migration.

 

Assign Specific Roles and Responsibilities: Everyone in the data center will have a critical role to play during the migration or relocation phase of the project, so have a meeting to review the roles and responsibilities of each person before you begin. If you have a small IT team and you’re planning to enlist the help of a professional consultant during this transition, make sure the consultant is included in these planning meetings.

 

Prioritize the Migration: Identify which servers house what information so you can plan to migrate the business-critical data first and minimize the impact on business operations.

 

Understand the Risks: Even if you have a perfect plan there are still things that are bound to go wrong. The key to overcoming these risks is knowing what they are and creating backup plans in case of a problem.

 

Outline Your Budget: Every project has a budget and in order to stay within those constraints, it is important that your team understands and reviews the numbers. You may not need to include everyone in this planning phase, but having leaders from different areas of your team and your company will ensure that everyone is aware of the constraints.

 

By following these steps and having a plan in place, you are prepared to migrate or relocate your data center with minimal interruption.

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Malls and Retail Stores Are Being Converted to Data Centers

What happens when that big box store that was built several decades ago goes out of business? What about malls or other retail complexes that hit hard economic times and go under? In some communities mall and retail stores are being converted to data centers and they are finding new ways to repurpose these buildings for the benefit of companies and citizens.

 

The Expansion of Data

 

As we become more and more dependent on computers, databases, and other technology for our everyday business and personal lives, the volume of data storage is increasing as well. Companies from a wide range of industries have huge data storage needs; for some it makes sense to build their own data centers, but for others the cost and upkeep is just too much. In those situations it’s beneficial to have a colocation space like the ones springing up at former retail centers.

 

What’s Required for a Data Center?

 

Data centers are unique from other industrial or office space because they have some very specific requirements. Big box stores and former retail spaces can often meet many of the specifications with expansive floor space that can be retrofitted for server racks. Retail centers that previously housed several different storefronts are now ideal for colocation or shared server sites because different companies can be housed in different areas of the building without the need to build partitions or worry about servers from one company getting mixed up with those from another.

 

Some of the additional needs for a data center include quality fiber connections, reliable utilities, and dependable heating and cooling systems. Fortunately these retail centers are already have many of these things built in, which can be upgraded or customized for the data center’s needs, but generally won’t require a complete overhaul.

 

Data Centers Make Good Neighbors

 

City officials and residents know that the closure of a massive retail complex can often leave buildings and neighborhoods vulnerable—when the stores fail and business move out, it leaves the area economically depressed and can negatively impact the entire surrounding area. When new retail establishments don’t want to lease the space it leaves the door open for data centers. In fact, in many cases the property owners can make more in monthly rent from a data center than a retail establishment (and certainly more than if it were empty), so it’s good for the economy and for the building. Having data centers occupy the space means a reliable tenant, regular income, and tax revenue for the city.

 

For many communities the choice to have a former retail space renovated as a data center makes a lot of economic sense, which is why the trend will likely continue.

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Utility Incentives and Rebates can Increase your Data Center ROI

Utility IncentivesData centers have become an integral part of every business operation, from small local businesses to major corporations. As the volume of data increases every year, the amount of space required for data centers is also increasing. Whether you are building a data center for the first time or investing in infrastructure and improvements, it is important that you know about and work on improving data center ROI with utility incentive and rebate programs.

 

Finding Rebate Programs

 

For most companies the biggest hurdle in taking advantage of available rebates and incentives for new data centers is not knowing what the rebates are and how to find them. In cities and states throughout the U.S. there are programs for utilities and energy efficiency offering rebates and incentives for reducing energy usage, plus there may even be federal programs to encourage energy efficiency as well.

 

Not all of the rebate programs are specifically customized for data centers, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the savings. The N.C. Solar Center at North Carolina State University has created the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), with support from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. This comprehensive database provides extensive information about all the state and local rebates available in an easily searchable format by state.

 

It includes a variety of information about rebates and incentives, including:

  • Corporate tax credits and financing opportunities
  • Personal and business tax credits
  • Sales tax incentives
  • State bond programs
  • Utility rebates
  • Rules and policies regarding energy building codes and standards
  • Additional information on programs and initiatives for energy efficiency, green power, and more

 

Keys to Maximize Your Data Center ROI

 

For many companies a data center is a huge expense, and it can be a significant drain on resources over time, but there are a few things that you can do to prevent it from becoming a financial burden. Many tax rebates and incentives are helping companies achieve this goal with high-tech energy efficiency initiatives that help reduce costs and preserve resources. Whether it’s data center consolidation and virtualization to earn rebates and reduce energy consumption, or innovative cooling technologies that reduce the largest cost for many data centers by keeping servers at a steady temperature, many companies are working to improve efficiency.

 

Many utility providers are also implementing efficiency programs that are more tailored to data centers, and organizations like the Consortium for Energy Efficiency is addressing the topic. Making the switch to more energy efficient data centers might seem like a big task, but overall it will save you money, lower your carbon footprint, and can generate additional cash to offset those costs through the strategic use of incentive and rebate programs.

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