Schneider Electric in the News, week of 7/13/2015

July 23, 2015 Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric News

Datacenter Dynamics: Keystone NAP takes modules to industrial scale
By David Chernicoff, July 15, 2015 

A former steel mill makes a mighty impressive site for stackable data center modules

It takes a certain eye to look at an abandoned industrial building, almost a thousand feet long and six stories tall, but only 60 feet wide, and say to oneself: ”that’s the perfect location for a data center.” Yet that is just what the minds behind Pennsylvania’s Keystone NAP did, selecting the motor building at the center of a former steel works as the primary location for its new facility.

Building a data center on the repurposed steel mill site has had a lot of advantages. The entire site has significant security in place, with controlled access not just to the data center but to all of the other businesses that have moved into existing buildings and new constructions. There are no neighbors who might complain, and in an area designated for heavy industry, there are few businesses with a lighter footprint than a data center. The location also still supports the power infrastructure that could drive a huge steel mill facility.


Source: Keystone

You want power?

Though the current power capacity of the building is 32MW, there is more than 2000MW available on site, from four separate power generation facilities. Even better, those four facilities use four different fuel sources: one draws methane from an adjacent landfill site, one uses a trash to steam plant, one is dual fueled with coal and natural gas, and the last is on a natural gas pipeline that feeds across the Delaware River, adjacent to the site. There is an electricity substation next to the data center building, and Keystone actually has a contract to maintain power distribution to other properties on the site as well as its own. 

A complete network of high tension power lines runs throughout the site, allowing for power to be delivered to any location. Keystone took advantage of the existing tower network to build a fiber network for the data center and other tenants of the former steel plant.

One downside of the river and landfill is a large population of seagulls congregating around the site, but the site owner has successfully contracted for birds of prey to scare them off. 

kn aerial

Keystone NAP aerial view

Source: Google

The aerial view of the site predates Keystone’s arrival, and shows there was definitely some work to be done to get the site ready for use as a data center.

The basic appeal of the site was clear: the long open space is ideal for stacking Keystone’s signature Keyblock modular data center containers, designed in conjunction with Schneider Electric. The floor, five feet of reinforced concrete, could easily support the weight of modules stacked three high. Under that floor the basement made it practical to run the power below the surface, and both power and fiber lines are also buried locally outside the building.

UPS and backup generators are also modular, being installed externally to the main facility, in modules set up perpendicular to the building roughly 100 feet away. The facility, though it has commissioned its first data center modules, is actually still under construction.

The entire roof has been replaced, but the final 100 feet or so of the building still had open walls when we did our walkthrough. Being open to the elements hasn’t stopped Keystone from getting those first nine modules up and running with the module deployment and commissioning occurring simultaneously with the completion of the building.

Citing security concerns, Keystone was unwilling to allow photographs of the in-process construction. Images appearing with this article were provided to us exclusively by Keystone NAP.

Commission as you go

It’s the modules that allow in-process commissioning. Designed in conjunction with Schneider they are built by Schneider at a facility in North Carolina and delivered by truck to the site. The Fairless site also has a working port operation, so, should it be necessary, modules could be delivered by barge. Delivery time for a new module, from contract signing to installation of the IT equipment on site, is 90 days. Keystone has 80 acres of space available for expansion, which could hold a huge number of Keyblocks, well beyond the likely near-term demand. 

The design of the modules specifically allows them to be stacked and bolted together to make a solid structure; the facility is projected to hold up to 100 of the current modules. To place and stack the modules, a tracked overhead crane system capable of supporting up to 50 tons has been installed.

The default configuration for the modules sees a floorplan split between two sections. First is the main section with 22 racks configured for hot aisle containment with 11 racks on each side of a central aisle. The current design supports 400 watts per square foot, but customers can configure higher density solutions with some changes to the modules’ internal rack layout.


Source: Keystone

Keeping IT private

The rear of each module is blocked by an access controlled wire mesh divider, with the air handling equipment on the opposite side from the IT equipment. There is also a back door, accessible to Keystone staff who can then maintain the air handling equipment without needing to access the customer’s IT equipment. While the front of the stack of modules has a metal deck and stairs to each floor, access to the rear doors is handled by a mobile scissor lift, making casual accessibility unlikely. Future module designs look to make the air handling external to the IT load module, removing the necessity of any non-IT access to the modules.

With access to many major carriers and dark fiber, the Keystone location, with its low-latency and support for synchronous communication between both Philadelphia and New York City, as well as the region in between, is suitable for both the development of primary data centers as well as back up and disaster recovery sites for companies in that geographic region.

Walking through the building you get a curious sense of what was once there. There are with large steel plates embedded in the floors, and odd symmetrical cuts in the concrete, clearly made to anchor large machinery. With only the first nine modules installed (three stacks of three), looking down to the other end of the building you can barely make out the other end of the structure, even in broad daylight. But the entire structure gives a sense of the movement of business in the United States, from a producer of vast quantities of steel to the creators of technology and a very different path to tomorrow.


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Data Center Journal: Industry Outlook: End of Windows Server 2003
July 15, 2015 

Industry Outlook is a regular Data Center Journal Q&A series that presents expert views on market trends, technologies and other issues relevant to data centers and IT.

Windows ServerThis week, Industry Outlook asks Michael Maiello about the end-of-life for Windows Server 2013 and what companies should do about it. Michael is Senior Vice President of Home and Business Networks forAPC by Schneider Electric. He is responsible for the largest line of business, with annual revenues of nearly $2 billion. The Home and Business Networks team drives product development and go-to-market strategies for the industry’s premiere single-phase server, networking, and desktop uninterruptible power supply (UPS) lines, plus a comprehensive offering of complementary management solutions including APC’s PowerChute software. Michael has been with APC and Schneider Electric for over 20 years. In that time he has held various positions in engineering, engineering management and general management. Before being named SVP for Home and Business Networks, he was the VP for the Business Power Solutions group. Over the last five years, Michael has led the Business Power Solutions team, which focuses on single-phase power products for the availability of business applications and includes brands known worldwide, such as Smart-UPS and Symmetra. Michael holds both master and bachelor degrees in electrical engineering from Brown University.

Industry Outlook: By July 14th, 2015, Microsoft will have stopped supporting its reported 11 million servers and applications running on Windows Server 2003. What exactly does it mean for businesses?

Michael Maiello: Windows Server 2003 is a system that businesses have trusted and used for over a decade. The July 14 deadline for service support means businesses will no longer receive regular security updates or patches for any version of Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

To avoid the security risks and costs, businesses will need to move their Windows 2003 server to a more recent version such as Windows Server 2008 or 2012. Many businesses will likely opt for Server 2012 because it is the most current version available today.

IO: When should businesses begin to prepare for this change and move their servers and applications?

MM: A lot of companies have already begun, as they understand it can often be a time-consuming process taking anywhere from 9 to 15 months. Some organizations, however, may be waiting until now or even past the deadline to begin the process. In fact, a recent survey found nearly one in three enterprises plan to continue to run Windows Server 2003 after July 14th, leaving an estimated 2.7 million servers potentially vulnerable.

In any case or scenario, organizations need to start thinking about the process now if they want to maintain the availability of their IT infrastructure and avoid potential power performance issues as well as costly disruptions to business productivity.

IO: What are some of the lesser-known implications of the server changeover, and what are the potential ramifications/issues that organizations will face if they fail to update their IT equipment?

MM: Businesses that fail to change over will become vulnerable to more security threats. Without Microsoft’s updates, patches, and service packs and support, a business’s customer records, trade secrets and sensitive data will be at risk. Hackers prey on unprotected servers, so without support, they’re leaving their assets open to a security breach.

Additionally, businesses will face increased maintenance costs if they continue to run this legacy software in their environment. Aside from just the security and maintenance issues, failing to move applications and servers may be a violation of industry compliance standards, too. For businesses that are putting the change off, it will seem like a daunting task that will, of course, come with its challenges.

Although the security ramifications and costs associated with failing to switch are widely discussed, there’s a lack of awareness regarding the various power-management and converged-infrastructure implications of this changeover.

Furthermore, many businesses may fail to consider power management when moving their servers, leading to unnecessary downtime of mission-critical business applications and data loss. What is imperative for businesses to understand is that simply moving the servers to Windows 2008 or 2012 isn’t going to be enough. They will need to review their power-protection strategies to ensure availability and uptime of their business-critical applications once they’ve made the changeover.

IO: How can organizations ensure optimal power protection, as well as uptime and availability, once they’ve refreshed their IT equipment?

MM: When phasing out racks of servers, businesses will need to consider replacing their uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Legacy UPSs are not optimized for the power demands of today’s equipment. As a result, legacy they will not be the ideal backup solution for your new servers because they won’t be as efficient or they may be missing important features and capabilities that would be crucial for supporting and maintaining uptime for business-critical applications. And since the life expectancy of UPSs are about 8–10 years and can vary greatly depending on environmental conditions, refreshing UPSs in tandem with a broader IT-gear refresh can help ensure optimal network availability.

It’s also important to check batteries as well as warranties. UPS life expectancy fluctuates greatly depending on five main factors: placement, ambient temperature, cycling, maintenance and battery chemistry, and storage. As batteries play an integral role in maximizing the life of a UPS, it’s important to understand the manufacturer’s warranty (two years is common among leading providers), determine whether extended warranty coverage is appropriate and change the batteries according to the recommended maintenance schedule to prolong the life of the UPS. When upgrading servers and data center equipment, data center and IT managers should check batteries to ensure they can support new technology.

Some businesses are already thinking about compatibility as they navigate their Windows Server transition, and they understand that compatibility is critical when running a fleet of UPSs and a complex IT infrastructure. With newer firmware and other product improvements over the past several years, it is important to implement technology that can match advanced software capabilities throughout a data center.

IO: How can organizations that are planning to outsource applications maintain availability of new and critical networking equipment during this changeover and beyond?

MM: For many organizations, moving their older servers to new ones may not be the best approach for their business needs. So, rather than upgrading on-premises equipment, many businesses may choose to move their data off premises in the form of a private, public or hybrid cloud, or they may consider deployment in a colocated data center. As a result, many IT departments will need to rethink how they maintain availability of the new and critical networking equipment to ensure a constantly reliable connection to remote server data. Organizations also must keep in mind that the data they chose to keep on premises tends to be both mission critical and/or highly sensitive, so it’s imperative that it’s both protected and secured.

IO: How can organizations take advantage of vendors’ expertise to better streamline and simplify the Windows Server transition?

MM: Organizations should know that they don’t have to go about the process alone. Working with vendors like APC by Schneider Electric can ease the burden and give organizations the support they need to make the process as seamless as possible. When any changes are made to physical IT infrastructure, such as altering the power requirements by adding or removing servers, the associated power and cooling demands inherently change as well.  An expert in physical IT infrastructure can help a company adapt to new requirements.

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IT BusinessEdge: New Life on the Network Edge
By Arthur Cole, July 14, 2015 

Data centers are getting very expensive to build and maintain. At the same time, though, data latency is hampering the advanced analytics and sensor-driven workflows that are the hallmarks of Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

This is adding up to be a perfect storm for the centralized, on-premises data center and is forcing data professionals to rethink their views on the way data infrastructure should be optimized for an increasingly diverse set of user expectations.

This is why many organizations are turning to edge-based processing and analytics capabilities. By keeping the entire data stack on the edge, the twin problems of latency and complexity in the broader data environment can be addressed, because centralized resources are spared the overwhelming flood of data coming in from tens of thousands, and perhaps millions, of data points.

These all-in-one “micro data centers” are already evolving along a number of diverse paths to meet a range of specialized deployment options and use cases. Schneider Electric’s SmartBunker family is available in three versions: a traditional IT room solution, a module optimized for branch offices and a ruggedized field device. As well, the company has released the SmartShelter multi-rack model capable of functioning in multiple environments. The portfolio is due to be launched into global channels later this year, with the expectation that by 2018, it will play a central role in the roughly 40 percent of worldwide data traffic produced by IoT applications.

Meanwhile, a wave of start-ups is taking direct aim on the edge by completely re-imagining modular data infrastructure. Vapor IO recently emerged from stealth with a new “hyper-collapsed” design featuring a cylindrical configuration that packs power, cooling, compute, storage and networking within a 9-foot form factor. At the same time, the company is contributing its Open Data Center Runtime Environment (Open DCRE) to Facebook’s Open Compute Platform initiative as a way to track operational metrics across hyperscale environments. In this way, the company hopes to provide the foundation for the myriad processing entities out on the edge as well as the truly large-scale centralized facilities that provide regional services to what is expected to be a largely data center free enterprise industry.

The need to push resources out of the traditional data center is helping to fuel demand for cloud and colocation services, according to Enterprise Tech’s George Leopold. The advent of software-defined networking (SDN) is allowing entire data stacks to be elevated to the virtual plane, making it easier to integrate disparate resource sets into a working environment. At the same time, increased use of hybrid and all-Flash storage solutions are fueling the rise of real-time application performance that leverages the IoT to drive point-of-sale applications and other time-sensitive functions.


None of this is lost on the growing legions of cloud providers, of course. In fact, many are targeting edge services as a key growth area and are rapidly building out infrastructure to meet demand. Within two years, EdgeConnex has gone from two facilities to 20 and is expected to add another 10 by the end of 2015. These are not simply modular edge devices, says Data Center Knowledge’s Jason Verge, but facilities measuring up to 40,000 square feet. The idea is to provide a quick way for clients to extend infrastructure to where it is needed while providing a higher level of service than a standard content delivery network.

Regardless of whether data processing remains centralized or pushed to the edge, many of the traditional management rules apply. You still need broad visibility, systems monitoring and a means to remotely configure and reconfigure operating elements to adapt to changing conditions, and there must still be a way to coordinate the activities of these disparate entities to create an integrated data environment.

But increasingly, the edge is where the action is and enterprises that hope to remain relevant in the new data economy need to start placing their trust in the digital ecosystem that is emerging beyond the data center walls.

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Mission Critical: Report: Containerized Data Center Market Growing At 20% CAGR To 2019
July 14, 2015 has added a Global Containerized Data Center Market 2015-2019 research report that forecasts a 20.91% CAGR for the market highlighting introduction of containerized green data center as one of the key industry trends.

The complete report on containerized data center market spread across 86 pages, talking about eight major companies and supported with 27 data exhibits is now available here.

The Global Containerized Data Center Market 2015-2019 research report highlights cloud service providers, large enterprises, government agencies, and telecommunication service providers as the endusers of containerized data center. The research has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects in the coming years for Americas, APAC, and EMEA regions. Need for additional capacity in existing data center is one of the major market drivers while single point of failure is a key challenge faced by the players of this industry.

Containerized data center market companies discussed in this 2015 research report include Cisco Systems, Dell, Emerson Network Power, HP, Huawei Technologies, IBM, Schneider Electric and SGI. Other prominent vendors of this industry are Blade Room, Bull, Cirrascale, Elliptical Mobile Solutions, MDC Stockholm, Rittal, and ZTE.

Data exhibits provided in this containerized data center market 2015 report include:

  • Market Research Methodology
  • Global Containerized Data Center Market 2014-2019 ($ billion)
  • Shipment of Containerized Data Center 2014-2019
  • Segmentation of Global Containerized Data Center by Geography 2014
  • Cisco Systems: Business segmentation by revenue 2013
  • Cisco Systems: Business segmentation by revenue 2011-2013 ($ billion)
  • Cisco Systems: Geographical segmentation by revenue 2013
  • Dell: Business Segmentation by Revenue 2013
  • Dell: Business Segmentation by Revenue 2011-2013 ($ billion)
  • Dell: Sales by Geography 2013
  • HP: Business Segmentation by Revenue 2013
  • HP: Business Segmentation by Revenue 2012 and 2013 ($ million)
  • HP: Geographical Segmentation by Revenue 2013
  • Huawei: Business Segmentation by Revenue 2014
  • Huawei: Business Segmentation by Revenue 2013 and 2014 ($ billion)
  • Huawei: Geographical Segmentation by Revenue 2014
  • IBM: business segmentation
  • IBM: business segmentation by revenue 2013
  • IBM: business segmentation by revenue 2013
  • IBM: business segmentation by revenue 2012 and 2013 ($ million)
  • IBM: geographical segmentation by revenue 2013
  • Schneider Electric: Business Segmentation by Revenue 2013
  • Schneider Electric : Business Segmentation by Revenue 2012 and 2013 ($ million)
  • Schneider Electric: Geographical Segmentation by Revenue 2013
  • Silicon Graphics International: Business Segmentation by Revenue 2014
  • Silicon Graphics International: Business Segmentation by Revenue 2013 and 2014 ($ million)
  • Silicon Graphics International: Geographical Segmentation by Revenue 2014

A containerized data center is a portable data center pre-installed inside a shipping container. This data center is a part of the modular data center, where each module is a container; the container can host IT, and power and cooling equipment. This data center is available in 20 ft- and 40 ft-long sizes and is delivered to end-users on demand. A wide range of racks and computing equipment are hosted within a containerized data center facility. The deployment cost of a containerized data center facility is less compared to building and renovating a new traditional data center facility. This data center is easy to relocate from one location to another and can be managed centrally.

The second research titled, Containerized Data Center Market by Container Types (20 ft by 40 ft, customized), by Application (Greenfield, Brownfield, Upgrade and Consolidation), by Deployment size, by Vertical, and by Regions - Forecasts and Analysis (2014-2019) expects the government and public, healthcare, and education verticals to show tremendous growth throughout the forecast period. It says the major challenge faced by vendors in this market is low awareness of customers about the benefits of containerized solutions. This research forecast the containerized data center market to grow from $2.27 billion in 2014 to $7.47 billion by 2019. In terms of geographical regions, North America and Europe are expected to be the biggest market in terms of revenue contribution, while APAC, MEA, and Latin America are expected to experience increased market traction, during the forecasted period. The major driving factors for containerized data center market are need for mobility; need for scalable data center solutions; lowering of CAPEX, OPEX, TCO and deployment time; disaster recovery; and lowering of PUE. Major challenges faced in the containerized data center market are vendor lock-in, lack of knowledge, and High Performance Computing (HPC). Containerized data centers address the challenges of enhancing the data center capacity within reduced time frame without disturbing the existing data center functionality; and also address the challenge of requirement of mobility which can only be resolved by such innovative designs.

Companies profiled in this containerized data center market by container types, by application, by deployment size, by vertical, and by regions - forecasts and analysis research report include Cisco, Dell, Emerson Network Power, HP, Huawei, IBM, Johnson Controls, Power Distribution Inc. (PDI), Schneider Electric and SGI. The research supported with 82 tables and 59 figures is spread across 146 pages.

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