Application Briefs: Remote Office Environment

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1 Overview Remote offices are a definite sign of growth, but it can constitute an immense challenge from an IT infrastructure standpoint. Remote offices may include a wide variety of wiring closets and small server rooms including a wide mix of open frame racks, small cabinets, and even full size cabinets. Generally speaking, remote offices can include a wide variety of company sizes as well, from very small business to small branches or retail outlets of large enterprises. Within this document, we will generically discuss the environments of remotely located small offices of middle market and large enterprise companies. However, much of the discussion can be applied to any size remote office. Mostly, these small remote sites will have rack mounted server, network and telecom gear, but no IT support personnel on site. Some examples would include small branch bank locations, small doctor office branches, large retail store chains, remote government offices, and similar ventures. Though remote offices may come in any shape or size, the general idea behind them is to generate operational efficiency. The ultimate goal is to reduce total cost of ownership through simplifying IT operations, reducing energy consumption and streamlining business processes. Industry Trends Some level of data communications and networking equipment is a requirement in nearly every size of small office today. While much of the core information systems are located in the primary enterprise data center of even in cloud hosted sites, small branch offices nearly always require some level of IT equipment to successfully support their business needs. Fundamental to the next generation branch office solution is an integrated LT A1 1

2 hardware platform that is built to last and supports networking, collaboration, storage, compute, operating systems both real and virtual, and an application environment. With this hardware footprint, remote offices can administer nearly all aspects of their branch networking, communications and IT services. With limited local IT resources and staff available at branch office locations, IT leaders have centralized data in data centers and distributed applications and transactions between branch and data centers to simplify operations and reduce cost. There is a next generation of branch office IT solutions emerging. We provide guidance for IT leaders to consider as they look to either upgrade or equip branch offices with IT solutions that reduce operational spend, increase customer experience and deliver a platform for innovative business applications. LT A1 2

3 PDU Requirements Power distribution architecture in a branch office is typically quite different than the enterprise data center. From an environmental standpoint, server racks are often crammed into an existing standard office space or even small closet, rarely equipped with specialized cooling or power systems found in dedicated data centers. Typically there will be no centralized enterprise UPS system, however, localized rack-mounted UPS backup power will be used instead. These UPS are often connected to standard wall power receptacles; very often at lower input current levels. In some instances, the rack-mounted UPS includes a small number of outlets, although often less than needed for the environment. In this case, a rack PDU is attached directly to the local UPS. Power density is typically low and nearly universally single phase type inputs are utilized. Branch office locations typically require a higher variety of telecom and IT systems within their locations. Unlike the enterprise data center with more homogenous deployments of like equipment types in segregated racks, branch offices might include a wide mix of POS, telephone systems, AV equipment, routers, local networking gear, servers and storage mixed within a single consolidated rack cabinet. Some of these systems are either not designed to be rack mounted and subsequently are often provided without the typical IEC power plugs. For some equipment, these input power cords are fixed with local plugs; often permanently fixed (not removable and replaceable). For this reason, branch office environments have a need for rack PDUs with a mix of IEC and localized outlets to provide sufficient output flexibility for their rack environment. Since these environments are typically remotely located, at a minimum, users should demand metered rack PDUs to provide active monitoring of power loading and provide alarm warnings of potential overload situations. Since most of these small environments do not have local IT support, the use of switched rack PDUs can be compelling for medium and large organizations. Typically, the central IT support personnel are not located at the remote site. In fact, the personnel within the small office are often completely unfamiliar with servers and IT gear and are usually not reliably able to perform the most simple of tasks such as unplugging a specific device. In the case of servers and equipment which will not respond to normal network communications, remotely located personnel can safely and reliably use a switched PDU outlet on/off function to perform hard reboot of attached equipment to restore operation. The small spaces used for IT racks and gear in small office environments can includes small closets and rooms without even normal occupancy air conditioning. These spaces are most normally not designed to accommodate the amount of heat generated by the rack mounted IT equipment. As a direct consequence, some small offices experience severe cooling problems and sometimes operate their equipment in conditions that are not optimal from an environmental standpoint. When hot air from server exhausts is drawn into server intakes instead of being properly vented, it will overheat the equipment at the top of the racks. When hot and cool airstreams combine, they increase rack intake temperatures, which causes server failure. In many small offices, simple environmental monitoring is essential to ensure the conditions are suitable for the equipment. Here the use of temperature and humidity monitoring at minimum is appropriate to guard against accidental overheating and resulting early failure of the IT gear. Additional monitoring such as entry door monitoring is an LT A1 3

4 appropriate method to track entry into these IT storage spaces and even fluid leak monitoring is also appropriate to provide advance warning of potential building leak problems in these spaces. Enlogic Key Product Advantages 1. Wide variety of single phase input model PDUs including models with localized outlets to meet need of a variety local plugs often found in smaller office environments 2. Comprehensive environmental monitoring capability embedded into the rack PDU allows for addition of temperature, humidity, leak, door open/close, and other environmental attributes that should be monitored in these environments 3. Large switched PDU portfolio which allows users remote on/off access, but also includes circuit breaker on/off status monitoring, an excellent monitoring addition versus most competitors 4. Daisy chain feature to allow up to 4 PDUs to communicate via a single IP address to simplify management and need for external management software for remote sites. 5. Half-height zero-u models with removable input cord allows for fit in larger variety rack types and local input power connectors 6. Field rewireable input cord allows users to modify input cord and plug as necessary to meet local requirements such us unique input connector on local UPS How to Sell Early in the selling process, understand the local conditions to select the optimal PDU solution. What/where will the PDU be plugged into (small rack UPS, wall outlet, other) to ensure selection of correct input type. Explore with the customer the need for localized outlets for the mix of local equipment; some data center focused IT personnel might be thinking about the IEC outlet standard in the data center, not realizing that smaller equipment in remote offices often utilize local plugs. Here Enlogic has a potential competitive advantage with models including local outlets. Focus on real-time monitoring, alarms, and on/off switching capabilities. These environments are unmanned ; providing the real-time alarms can bring peace-of-mind to the IT personnel who will not be on the local site. At minimum, metered PDUs provide load and environmental monitoring including network and alarm warnings of potential problems to give the remote managers advance warning to take action. Make a Push for environmental monitoring needs. Is the customer considering that the remote office environment was probably not specified with appropriate cooling? Could there be small leaks that introduce damaging water into the same area (i.e. inwall piping or fire sprinkler systems which might not be present in enterprise data centers)? Would the remote manager like to have open/close monitoring on the entry door to the small IT space? All of these concerns together can influence customer to recognize the need for environmental monitoring. Advance warning of high temperature which could result in premature failure or of slow leaks which could damage the equipment, and warning alarms when unauthorized local personnel enter LT A1 4

5 the small IT area are great tools to prevent larger scale disasters for the remote office. All of this monitoring capability is embedded into every Enlogic rack PDU which eliminates the need for a second redundant environmental management system. On/off outlet switching brings another key problem solving feature to remotely located managers. These IT personnel can be located very far away from the remote office equipment and as such fear small local problems that might require a trained person to make a site visit to resolve any issues. These remote office environments often include a large variety of equipment installed in the rack/cabinet which can be very confusing to nontrained personnel. In the case of locked (frozen) servers or other gear which cannot be restored remotely, one option is a hard reboot (i.e. unplug the equipment and replug); however, the remotely located manager is afraid to utilize untrained employees at the remote site to perform this manual task. Switched PDUs allow the remote manager to perform hard on/off rebooting without human intervention. The insurance of selling the switched PDU feature for this purpose is compelling as just a single site visit could cost well in excess of the upfront cost of the switched PDU. LT A1 5

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