AFCOM Data Center World 2016

Brian Mitchell at AFCOM Data Center World in Las Vegas

Brian Mitchell at AFCOM Data Center World in Las Vegas

A huge push towards cloud services means major investment in data centers. Our own Brian Mitchell visited AFCOM Data Center World 2016 in Las Vegas to find out where the industry is headed and how we can leverage our data center investments to better provide cloud services.

This is how AFCOM’s website describes Data Center World:

The speed of change is outpacing traditional infrastructure systems, legacy processes and mainframe mindsets. Legacy applications and current speeds for deployment can’t support the growing performance demands on digital enterprises. Data Center and IT Infrastructure professionals are facing increasing pressures from the C-suite to gain efficiency, add resiliency and become ever more agile – and with greater security! Are you prepared to tackle these challenges?

There were many new and improved data center solutions to see and hear about at AFCOM DCW this year. From racking and cabling solutions, to power and cooling solutions. Brian noticed two main themes that would apply to our clientele:

Many vendors were focused on putting IT equipment in non-traditional spaces.

There were several vendors showing ways to mount servers, switches and patch panels in offices and small closets. There is a new Schneider rack that is intended to be used in office environments. It is soundproof and uses room cooling.


This Schneider rack is soundproof and uses room cooling.

There is also a pull-down patch rack from Chatsworth that mounts in place of a ceiling tile. Patches can be made overhead and then tucked away out of sight.


Chatsworth in ceiling patch panel enclosure

Hammond Mfg displayed two different styles of wall mounted racks. The more novel one mounts servers vertically so it is low profile against the wall.


Hammond vertical wall mount for servers

Color coding power and data distribution

In redundant power systems, there is opportunity for errors during the original installation in which both PDUs are plugged into the same utility feed or server power supplies are plugged into the same PDU. This defeats the redundancy and drops the reliability significantly. It is also extremely difficult to diagnose and troubleshoot in a network of all black equipment/cords.


Color coded PDU units

Vendors including Schneider Electric, Raritan, Server Technologies, Geist and Enlogic all showed color coded PDUs. A host of cord and cabling manufacturers also displayed their color capabilities. They all had anecdotes about customers requesting separate colors following lessons learned after a bad experience. Similar situations and stories came from fiber and connector manufacturers. For most, there is no obvious or industry accepted convention. There is a general trend of red and blue for the A and B power feeds, but even that is widely varied. One vendor described a customer specifying green and yellow because he was a Green Bay Packers fan. Whether you are building out your data center or looking for creative ways to place your equipment in-house, AFCOM DCW had a lot to offer this year.

Here are more pictures Brian took of the event.

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