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A time for obligatory reflection

As the year draws to a close, we, like most people, like to reflect on what we’ve learned in the past 12 months (after the necessary lament over how quickly the time passes). Though a year’s worth of lessons naturally encompasses a lot of information, we’ve managed to whittle it down.

From the details of setting up data center leak detection and environmental monitoring systems to the grand global costs of water inefficiency (with a few stops in between), these six articles were the ones that best held our attention in 2013.

And, not surprisingly, these topics are also the ones that RLE will carry forward into 2014.


Take a look:

1. Study: Data Center Downtime Costs $7900 Per Minute

A joint study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Emerson Network Power revealed that, as major industries grow ever more dependent on intricate IT systems, they also become more reliant on their data centers.

And as data centers become more valuable to their operators, the cost of a breakdown in the system skyrockets. The $7900/minute figure is up 41% from a similar study conducted in 2010, an increase that surprised even the experts. The monetary figure was a distillation of the direct, indirect, and opportunity cost of damage to critical equipment, organizational productivity, legal repercussions, and lost trust among the stakeholders.

This article really made an impact here at RLE because data centers are a prime example of a critical facility that is vulnerable to any kind of leak or environmental hazard. The increasing cost of downtime is one the strongest arguments in favor of early detection and prevention of threats. It’s a whole lot cheaper to detect a problem early and resolve it quickly than it is to clean up even just one mess.

2. Hot or not? Know your data center’s environment

InfoWorld’s Paul Venezia sounds a clear and detailed reminder that data centers are more than the equipment they hold. They’re also rooms with walls and ceilings and pipes. He lays out the absolute bare necessities for an environmental monitoring system that will ensure that gear doesn’t overheat or that burst pipes don’t cause catastrophe.

Not surprisingly, we couldn’t agree more, with the added note that, to be really secure, you should focus on getting the best possible leak detection solution (we’re partial to our leak detection cable, personally). Liquid leaks are a huge culprit in facility damage and data center downtime, as demonstrated by events like Hurricane Sandy or this year’s Colorado floods.

Instant remote notification of the presence of even a small amount of water keeps small leaks from turning into big problems over weekends and holidays.

Plumbing nightmares

3. 5 Plumbing Nightmares

An interview with facility management experts Larry Snow and John B. Giacoma highlights the top five causes of leaks that are costly, even if they don’t escalate to major floods:

  • Water treatment chemicals can build up and cause corrosion in the pipes.
  • Irregular maintenance can cause necessary valves to freeze up.
  • The wrong hose will give out unexpectedly.
  • Slow build-up of pipe blockages can go unnoticed until they become a hazard.
  • Pressure regulators need to be checked at least once a year.

When any of these five problems go undetected – even if no disaster occurs – you will find your water bill steadily creeping higher as small leaks lower your plumbing efficiency.

It’s always good to be reminded that major property damage and flooding aren’t the only cost of undetected leaks. Even the elevated cost of utilities and repairs can add up and be financially inconvenient for businesses that rely on a steady flow of water for any reason, from office bathrooms to industrial kitchens.

4. 10 Key Considerations for a Successful DCIM Project

A Raritan whitepaper explores 10 common sense recommendations for ensuring that, in an era of evolving data centers, your infrastructure management and monitoring remains not only functional but profitable.

The concepts considered range from your approach to the problem and solution alike to the personnel you’ll need and their ongoing education.

The successful evolution, management, and monitoring of data centers is important to us on a number of levels. Not only because monitoring is our business but because, again, events like hurricanes and floods remind us of how increasingly dependent we are as a society on data center hubs.

Efficient DCIM, early detection of threats, and reduced downtime benefit literally everyone.

5. 9 Trends for 2014 and beyond

IT expert and prognosticator Eric Knorr takes a stab at guessing what will happen in the next year to the enterprise IT industry as the online profile of the business world changes with the times.

Dealing largely with the implications of a cloud-based and mobile world, Knorr points out some of the opportunities and pitfalls that IT experts will likely face, including an emphasis on new software, fluctuations in system usage based off customer apps, overreaching big data, managing remote access, and the continued ascendance of developers.

We deal with a lot of  IT personnel responsible for setting up monitoring systems. We like to keep an eye on the industry and see what their concerns are and how we can better integrate with their systems and tend to their needs.

big water-big data

6. Big data for big water

The Economist takes a look at the effect that developments in a tech-type industry like big data can have on real-world problems and solutions.

According to studies done by the World Bank, mismanagement of the water infrastructure is causing nearly $14 billion globally in lost profits. Data developments in both hardware and software are helping to track and resolve the leaks more quickly in both developed and developing countries, benefiting both utility providers and the people that depend on them.

It is always fascinating to see the broader picture of what we do and the intersection of global affairs and our little corner of the world. Though, for example, the country of Nigeria is a little beyond our scale, seeing the ingenious ways in which the technology we understand is being used to solve global issues and improve individual lives is both a reminder and an inspiration.

And that’s all folks…

Of course, this is just a brief recap of what we’ve learned this year (the full list would be ridiculously long), but this selection gives you an idea of where our thoughts are as we look to the future.

How about you? What did you learn this year? What’s your inspiration going into 2014? Add your comments below with thoughts for 2014 and beyond.


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