NO. 04  VOLUME 01 - March 31, 2004



1.   We have placed a 45-page sample document containing the architectural and engineering program requirements that you need for YOUR new data center.  Just revise to meet your needs and SURPRISE your design team.  This is truly intellectual property from our firm.  It's in .pdf format so that it is not too easy for you to duplicate.  After all, we get paid to do this stuff.  You can find this document under ABR's Fabulous Links.  Look under Facilities.  We will begin revising and updating this document to reflect what we are seeing in the emerging ANSI/TIA/EIA-942 data center standard.  
2.   Systimax's latest announcement on the new code structure for ordering their fiber optic patch cables.  Includes the new code structure and a complete list of their revised fiber patch cord material IDs.     


Over the past two years, our computer room designs are producing ever increasing environmental requirements per square foot.  As part of our design, we provide the information on what type of equipment is going into the cabinets and how much power will be required.  We call this deliverable a "power and cooling" profile.  We have two areas that are causing heartburn for the electrical and mechanical engineers.  First, the nameplate design (design load) for a cabinet full of new Dell or Compaq systems is approaching 6.0 kW.  That's 6,000 watts - 3 times what is was 3-4 years ago.  The big secret, of course, is that the equipment never runs at the design load.  It runs about 20%-25% of that load.  This second figure is called the "connect load" and there is no accurate way to know the correct percentage.  Second, the newer data cabinets are being ordered with dual power supplies so that equipment with dual-power supplies have an "A" and "B" circuit in each cabinet.  It is not uncommon for these power supplies to require L5-30 or L6-30 receptacles.  The SUN Rack 900 cabinet requires four L6-20 circuits.      

You're after receptacles.  You may not need all of that power but you do need all of the receptacles you can get into the cabinet.  Put 20 1U servers with dual power supplies into a cabinet and you will need 40 receptacles.  Compounding the problem is that these new Dell and Compaq power supplies don't provide true 20-amp receptacles.  Many new Cisco, Sun and other systems do have systems that require true 20-amp receptacles.  Further, some of these power supplies are high-voltage (L6-30) and do not have receptacles for normal 110 volt devices such as KVMs, monitors, modems.  This means that you may have to order a 110 volt 5-20 quad receptacle for these 110 devices.    

Now the problem.  Electrical engineers will design the UPS and generator equipment based on 80% of all of the circuits you specify.  Add up the full amp rating for each circuit and multiply by .80.  For the above, this means 80% of 60 amps or 48 amps per cabinet.  That's a lot.  This then translates into much larger UPS, generator and HVAC systems than you may need.  This possible over-design is not inexpensive.  Add in an N+1 or N+2 design and you're talking about serious money.    


The recent Northeast blackout and memories of the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco area (1989) brings to mind interesting stories about maintaining operations during these events.  The interesting part of this article is how the public hot sites (i.e SunGard and formerly Comdisco) are set up to return the critical information you need to run your operations during an emergency.  

In Ohio, one of our government clients had a generator that energized properly as the blackout began.  However, eight hours later, the generator went down as it ran out of fuel.  The problem is that their diesel supplier didn't have back up generators for their fuel pumps and the supplier was left with just the fuel in their trucks.  This fuel went to essential sites such as hospitals, police and fire stations and other sites that must operate during an emergency.  We confirmed this situation with Cummins Diesel in Cleveland, OH.  In the California earthquake, we had customers go to Comdisco only to be told that there was a pecking order in who gets their data first and who doesn't.  Essential services sites first, military and national railroads second and so on.  Our banking customer was not as high on the list as they thought.  

Here's the lesson.  If your emergency plan includes having a diesel truck service deliver fuel after a certain amount of hours to your tank (and it should), make sure your supplier has emergency generators for their fuel pumps.  Also make sure that they are not in a flood zone.  After all, you were smart enough to make sure you had a long-term fuel supply, your fuel supplier should be smart enough to have backup generators for their pumps and not be located in a flood zone.  If you are in a flood zone and a fuel truck may not be able to get to you, you have more work to do on your emergency plan.  Secondly, if you use a public hot site for your computer operations, you may want to inquire as to the rules they have set up for providing access to YOUR data.  In a localized emergency, this may be insignificant.  However, in a much larger emergency, you may or may not receive your data as soon as you expect.    


In our last newsletter, we reported that Dell had shifted a good deal of their technical support to Bangalore, India.  It appears that this move has not set well with many corporate customers who have expressed dissatisfaction with the expertise of the Indian staff responding to their calls.  As a result, Dell announced just before Thanksgiving that it is bringing back some of its technical support for corporate clients to its U.S. call centers.  We had indicated in our last newsletter that the expertise of the Dell support in Bangalore was no match for the superb domestic Dell technical support that we have experienced over the years.  Additionally, try as they might, the Banalore staff are sometimes very hard to understand.  We now ask the big question - what's more important, saving a few dollars (probably a lot of dollars) or being rated #1 in customer service?  Does Dell think that they can achieve both?  We're betting they can't.  We'll provide updates on this topic as we see new data.   

Now we move to reports in the news that IBM will be moving 4,700 highly-paid programmer jobs overseas primarily to India and China.  To add insult to injury, the current job holders reportedly will train their replacements and then have 60 days to find another job inside the company or be let go.  Irreversible globalization on the march.   


Just as we close off this issue, we hear that Avaya has selected the Berk-Tek/Ortronic cabling solution known as "NetClear".  Reportedly, Avaya's PBX sales team will be trained on the specifics of the cabling system and will be marketing both as a complete solution.  Incidentally, we have the NetClear cabling RFP.  Just send us an email or give us a call.  It's free.  (We also have the cabling RFPs for Avaya, NORDX/CDT and Krone).  Let's see -- Sell Systimax to Commscope and then partner up with Berk-Tek/Ortronics.  Both are great product lines but we don't get it.  All-in-all, we think Commscope is the big winner here.  


They're coming fast and furious (not the movie).  Belden is partnering up with CDT.  We are uncertain at this time on the impact with the long-standing NORDX/CDT partnership.  We're also uncertain on what will take place with the other long-standing product partnership of Panduit/Belden.  Next. Belden is selling their communications cable assets to Superior Essex (Levition's favorite cable).  This begs the question - Warranty, warranty, where is my 25-year manufacturer's warranty.    


Systimax has just announced that they are initiating a new flexible code structure for ordering their fiber optic patch cords.  They have also changed their patch cord material IDs.  It's very similar to code structures that we have seen for other cabling manufacturers and will make it easier to order Avaya fiber patch cords.  We have placed a .pdf file containing the announcement, new code structure and the full list of new material IDs on our website.  Simply go to our website www.abrconsulting.com and look down the left column.  You will see a hyperlink about this subject under NEWS.  Note that the Avaya Systimax cabling solution will soon give way to just the Systimax Cabling Solution.  As you may or may not know, Avaya sold the Systimax product line to Commscope a few months back.  


In our recent newsletters, we informed our readers as well as visitors to our website about the new requirement in the 2002 National Electric Code (NEC) that stipulates that all abandoned electrical and telecom cable must be removed.  Seems that the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), a national association of commercial property owners, is so alarmed at the probability that this new code will be strictly enforced, they have been meeting to see who will pay to have years of abandoned cables  in their building removed.   

We have been receiving calls from tenants who are receiving notifications from their property owners that they will have to pay for the removal of all of the cables they have installed since occupying their premises.  They wanted to know how the building owners can do this when the requirement to do so is not in their lease.  Our first response is that the code went into effect during the term of their existing lease so if the appropriate language is not in the lease, the tenant should not have to pay for the removal of the abandoned cable when they move.  Our best advice is to talk to your company attorney and have that person scour your lease language to see if a requirement is enforceable.  

We now discuss some reality about this problem.  First, we normally see a complete gutting of much of the electrical and all of the telecom when a company leases new premises and goes through a re-furbishing project.  All that's left is what will be re-used in the new project.  No abandoned cable here.  In essence, the new lessee pays for the demolition of the previous lessee.  Next, the one area where we see a lot of abandoned cable is in older State and Federal buildings where older 3270 coax cables were just cut away in the risers to make way for the newer cables.  Some state and city buildings are leased and these sites are potentially part of the problem.  With respect to private multi-tenant buildings, the abandoned cables we see the most is in the risers that the property owner owns and not in the customer areas.  In some cases, the risers are stuffed with old cable.  This should not be a customer expense (unless it's theirs).  

What's going to happen now?  Easy answer.  The property owners will now place language in the lease requiring the customer to pay for the demolition of their cable.  How these owners will become compliant with regards to any older abandoned cable will probably vary widely.  Two things for certain. First, the owners will make any kind of move to get somebody else to pay for the removal of the older cable.  Second, building inspectors and fire marshalls will not provide and slack.  They will enforce the new code.   


We are constantly being approached by brokers and other intermediaries who are in possession of "in-the-box" Liebert, APC and other pieces of electrical and mechanical equipment.  This includes generators, UPS systems and other large systems.  In many cases, these systems were acquired for the dot-com industry and are still in the box.  They were acquired at auction.  In other cases, these systems were installed, tested and possibly run for a very short period of time and have not run since.  We were involved with two web hosting sites that installed five 2,500 kVA diesel generators, four 750 kVA UPS systems, 24 HVAV systems and about the same quantity of Liebert PDUs.  As soon as the buildings were built, they were immediately "mothballed".  The systems were tested but never put into production.  The sites were built by Global Crossing and purchased by Exodus.  Both are bankrupt but the systems remain in place with one nervous building owner.  We don't market or sell any type of equipment, we were just emphasizing what's out there.  

The problem that we see is that business is beginning to pick up again and nobody is willing to jump on acquiring these available systems at an 80% discount.  Everyone wants brand new stuff directly from the manufacturer.  This includes two government customers that we have that could sure use the savings.  One group very resistant to this possibility (at least in our situations) is the electrical and mechanical engineers on our projects.  They don't want to be bothered.  They are solidly recommending all new systems.  The government customers, knowing the possibilities, simply go alone.  Go figure.  


We are beginning to run into difficulties in bidding on data center relocation projects.  We are currently preparing a proposal to relocate a very large data center.  We are not even permitted to see the data center because of "Homeland Security".  On a second project, we have to surrender our driver's license upon entering the building.  We can't see their data center either because of "Homeland Security".  More and more places are prohibiting cameras.  And, speaking of cameras, we did years of work for the world's largest chip maker (you know who it is) and the worst thing that you could ever bring into the building was a camera.  Any camera had to have a sticker on the bottom that said exactly where that camera could take pictures.  Most photographers were escorted.  Most understandable when you understand that drawings of chip designs were in fairly accessible printer rooms.  We can give up the camera stuff but we sure would like to see what we are bidding on.    


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