Monday, 17 August 2009

Box in Box in Box

Cardboard, bubblewrap, parcel tape, foam padding, plastic strapping. In IT there is excessive packaging with every item purchased. A keyboard will come in 3 boxes covered in tape and surrounded by foam. The Register recently reported about a delivery of a standard PS2 Mouse to a reader from HP which was the only item strapped to a pallet. Excessive? I think so! They also reported another reader's delivery from HP of 32 pages of information. Each 2 sheets was wrapped in foam and enclosed in its own box. These 16 boxes in turn were in a larger box. Is it all really necessary??

There is a serious point to be made though. 6-10% of all IT equipment failures in Data Centres are solely caused by dust. Cardboard dust is the worst dust as it is very fine. It gets sucked into servers by the fans where it settles. This makes the fans work harder to cool the equipment as the dust reduces airflows and the fans create more heat as a result. The cooling plant must cool a higher temperature driving up power costs.

Many facilities have dedicated de-box rooms so that cardboard never enters the operational floor, but 90% of these rooms are ignored and people unpack equipment in the facility and use any spare space for storage. A number of facilities that Migration Solutions has visited has had boxes, clothes, furniture and food on the live floor to name a few! The design of a facility makes it easier for staff to keep to tidy habits and maintain a clean environment, but it is up to the Data Centre Manager to ensure that these standards are adhered to by the entire workforce. A well run facility will as a result be a clean and efficient facility.

Migration Solutions created ERA, an environmental report and assessment to look at Data Centres and Computer Rooms and investigate what improvements could be made to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Cardboard dust cropped up on many ERAs that were undertaken which greatly effects the efficiency of a Data Centre. Over 150 points are assessed in an ERA which provide Data Centre Managers a great incite into the health of their facility, and a selection of free, small cost and large cost suggestion on how to improve efficiency and save money. For more information vist

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Web Security

Twitter, the hugely popular blogging site fell under another attack from hackers again on Tuesday night. The 30 minute outage has not had a cause linked with it yet, but many people feel that it could be related to an account hack last week. This is not the first time that Twitter has had security issues. In January, 33 accounts were hacked into, including the US President Barack Obama, gaining access to the administrators secure area where they made changes including changing email addresses and leaving messages.

The attacks on Twitter have highlighted the need for careful security at server and software level to protect private information. Since the internet went live, hackers from all over the world have been breaking into websites and breaching security whether it be with malicious intent or just for fun. No level of security is immune from these virtual threats and this has been exemplified by Gary McKinnon from the UK who managed to hack into the United States military computer system, allegedly in search of information about UFO's.

Companies spend thousands of pounds protecting their computer systems from hackers and viruses, but Data Centres are often a major weak point in IT security. Data Centres and Computer Rooms throughout the country lack the physical security that their servers virtually uphold. How many times have you held the door for someone else to enter a facility? Did you check whether they should have had access? How often is your loading bay door left open or secure doors propped open while you 'carry a box through'? In Migration Solutions experience, it is often too easy to enter a Data Centre through the back door and get someone to let you into the live floor without a pass or signing in.

It is not just having the physical security that needs to be addressed. Staff need the training to ensure that they don't let people through, that they follow procedures and maintain the security levels that your facility requires. Regular staff training can vastly improve your Computer Room or Data Centres security and maximise the potential of the the security measures, physical and virtual, that you have in place.

Migration Solutions are specialist Data Centre consultants with many years of expertise in both building and operating Data Centres. With this combined knowledge, they can advise you on the best security systems for your facility and help train your staff so that you can be as well protected as possible. For more information visit or call 0845 251 2255 today.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Connection Security

How resilient is your Data Centre? How many fibre feeds does it have and where do these feeds come from? In the news recently was a story about the majority of west Africa being cut off from the internet due to a fault in the cable that runs from Portugal and Spain to South Africa via west Africa. The initial reports suggest that 70% of Nigeria have had their bandwidth cut as the remaining 30% takes up the load. Some may view this as a good thing as those pesky Nigerians who want to transfer millions of $ into our accounts so they can make themselves and us money, will not be able to send out any more emails! On a serious note, the bandwidth blackout has had a major effect on the government, banking sectors and the mobile phone networks. The lack of communication has left the country struggling to maintain normal activity.

Does your facility have diverse feeds? Do you know the routes these diverse feeds take? It is all very well having a resilient facility that has multiple feeds, but if both feeds exit the premises together, or at any point on their journey follow the same path, there is a large point of weakness to the connectivity of your Data Centre. With the country's infrastructure being dug up over and over again as water mains burst, sewers get clogged and broadband improved, there is increasing risk of damage to the fibre optics that service your facility. Being prepared and looking into having true diverse power and connectivity feeds into your Data Centre or Computer Room is a must for any business that relies on 24/7 connectivity.

Migration Solutions are a specialist Data Centre consultancy focusing on design, build, operation and migration of facilities throughout the UK and Europe. Contact us now for advice on how to make your Data Centre or Computer Room more resilient at

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Green Repercussions

The EAC (Environmental Audit Committee) has commented today that they believe that if government departments fail to cut their carbon emissions in line with their Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) plan, that the taxpayers will have to pick up the bill. The CRC plan charges companies £12 per tonne of CO2 they release or expect to release in a year. Using energy saving technology to reduce emissions and increase efficiency will allow companies to be ranked on percentage of CO2 reduced and will then be given a rebate if they succeed or exceed the 12.5% reduction by 2012.

The government's plan is to give companies an incentive to reduce energy consumption and they expect the savings to more than pay for the £12 charge, making a net gain for the businesses involved. The EAC are suggesting that this plan could come back to bite the government if they cannot achieve their own targets, meaning the government would have to take money out of the national budget to pay for their own shortcomings.

There are widespread worries that a 12.5% reduction in CO2 emissions will be hard to attain for many companies.

In the words of Lance-Corporal Jack Jones "DON'T PANIC"!! This is far from a bad thing for Data Centres. As we all know, Data Centres consume around 3-4% of all power in the UK. 12.5% of this equates to the equivalent of a 200MW facility!

Reducing every Data Centre and Computer Rooms power consumption by 12.5% may sound like an impossible challenge, but in reality it can be a very simple to achieve.

Migration Solutions developed ERA (Environmental Report and Assessment) which concentrates on all aspects that affect the running of a Data Centre or Computer Room and advises clients on how to improve their efficiency and as a result, reduce their power consumption and costs. Using the advice provided by Migration Solutions, estimated savings that will be free to implement could save between 5-10% of your facilities power costs. With a small amount of expenditure you could expect to see a reduction of 12-20% in power consumption. So the CRC may not be as hard to fulfil as you may first think! For more information visit or call 0845 251 2255