UK Government Breathes Life Back Into UK’s Essential Data Centre Industry

Steven Norris, President of Data Centre Alliance

The UK Government has finally recognised the economic importance of the Data Centre sector – one of the few industries where UK plc has a world lead – by their inclusion for the first time ever in a Government announcement.

(Data centres are the giant computing factories that drive industry, commerce, the cloud and social media.)

 

Said Data Centre Alliance President and former Minister of Transport Steven Norris, “The Chancellor of the Exchequer finally recognised Data Centres in his Autumn Statement as the major industry and economic wealth creator that they are, by removing the punitive tax regime that had been making the UK non-competitive in this business and forcing companies to off-shore their data centres.

 

“Britain is a world leader in the Data Centre industry and the Climate Change Levy had been wrongly applied to it because the Government, and indeed the public, were totally unaware of its existence! Something we at industry body the Data Centre Alliance (DCA) have been working hard this year to change. The Chancellor’s Autumn statement plus the winning of the first ever European Strategic Research funding for Data Centres now demonstrates that DCA has succeeded in bringing this previously unseen industry onto the Political agenda.”

 

Norris went on to explain that the Data Centres are buildings full of computer servers that power things like Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, the Banks all big businesses. Airline booking systems, Air Traffic Control, the NHS, city traffic lights and in fact just about every part of our lives are controlled by these massive data centres.

 

“The UK was one of the very first countries to develop Data Centres out of our world-class telecommunications and mainframe computing industries,” Norris said, “and we were in serious risk of loosing what are effectively the UK’s only remaining ‘factories’.”

 

We refer to them as ‘factories’ because they store and make information out of raw data. They are massive – often the size of five or six football pitches – and can consume as much electricity as a small city. “What the Government is now starting to understand is that it is essential to protect and grow one of the few industries where UK plc still has a world lead,” said Norris, “and we are delighted that DCA’s efforts in representing the industry to them have, in such a short period of time had such significant results.”

 

As recently as June 2013 when the DCA in conjunction with the UK’s foremost political magazine New Statesman produced the UK’s first mainstream expose of the hitherto ‘hidden world’ of data centres, no Government Minister could be found to write a contribution, because they were unaware of this massive sector.

 

The publication of that Special Report and a personal briefing by DCA to Greg Baker Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change brought about an instant interest. So much so that by the time of the second DCA/New Statesman Data Centre Special Report in August 2013 Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willets wrote a leader article recognising the importance of the sector and noted that Government Ministers Vince Cable, Michael Fallon and Ed Vaisey had all now been to visit Data Centres!

In the New Statesman/DCA special report, Willets wrote:

“Data centres are a crucial part of that infrastructure, and are an area that the government needs to understand better. They are the physical, tangible manifestation of the somewhat invisible and ethereal concept which is the internet. They are absolutely fundamental to a successful and vibrant information economy in the UK, supporting some of our biggest global companies, and our research institutions. London’s successful financial sector could not function without the state-of-the-art data centres in areas like Docklands, enabling computer-based and low-latency trading.

Data centres are the tangible manifestation of the ethereal internet

Moreover, in the UK we are good at putting together data centres – and this is expertise we can export to the world at a time when global spending on data centres is predicted to reach $149bn next year.

Concluded the DCA’s Executive Director Simon Campbell-Whyte, , “We are delighted that the UK Government has now recognised the imperative to grow and support this sector. And, although as an organisation we represent the industry globally we believe that this is a major milestone in the success of UK plc and are proud that we were able to achieve this on behalf of our members.”

 

“It is of course only a first step, and we are standing by to assist UK Government and Governments worldwide as they come to terms with understanding and supporting the digital factories that now power the global information economy.”

ABB Joins Data Centre Alliance – To Contribute To ‘The Good Of The Industry’

Simon Campbell-Whyte, Executive Director at Data Centre Alliance

Simon Campbell-Whyte, Executive Director at Data Centre Alliance

ABB, a world leader in power and automation technologies has joined industry representative body the Data Centre Alliance (DCA) at its highest level of membership – as a Platinum Partner.

 

Explaining why the company has joined, ABB’s head of the data centre sector for ABB in Europe Ciaran Flanagan said, “We at ABB see the Data Centre Alliance as a trusted advisor to the datacentre industry in terms of standards, innovation and research for the future. It is also rapidly becoming ‘the voice’ of the industry. Membership represents a great opportunity for ABB to better understand end-user requirements and focus our research and development appropriately for our mutual benefit.

 

“We look forward to working with the peer vendors and end-users to discuss future technologies and trends – and how these might help the industry better contribute to the common good. Also to help develop the human capital required to address the challenge.

 

“The format and objective of the Data Centre Alliance, in our opinion, promotes the sharing and benchmarking of concepts and performance amongst the members”.

Flanagan continued by explaining that ABB had decided to join at the Platinum Partner level because: “We clearly see and understand the value of the Data Centre Alliance to the industry and we want to participate at a significant level”.

 

ABB’s major focus will be on contributing to the DCA, he said. “We intend to share ABB’s vision for the future of the sustainable data centre. We will support the DCA by sharing new understanding that results from our corporate R&D efforts and we will invite the DCA members to engage with us as we assess new opportunities for improving datacentre performance.

 

“Our global network of data centre professionals can be leveraged by the DCA to share experience, best practices and standards from our customers who are willing to engage,” said Flanagan.

 

Commenting on ABB’s membership, Simon Campbell-Whyte, executive director of the Data Centre Alliance said, “We are delighted to have ABB on-board and that their focus is on contributing for the greater good of the industry. That exactly mirrors the aims and objectives of the Data Centre Alliance.

 

He continues, “I know that by ‘giving’ in this way they (and many other members who give their time and efforts so selflessly) will reap significant rewards in the long-term both by recognition in the industry and by being able to profitably align their R&D programs to the true and energy needs of the global customer base.”

 

ABB’s success in world markets is attributed to its very strong focus on Research and Development with 17 corporate research centres and an unflinching determination to invest in R&D whatever the market conditions.

 

ABB is able to boast that many of the technologies underlying our modern society – from high voltage power transmission to revolutionary ship propeller systems – come from their R&D and commercialisation efforts.

 

The most recent such technology being a completely new DCIM (data centre infrastructure management) solution called Decathlon®. This has been deployed by Green Datacenter AG initially at its Zurich West data centre and shortly to be installed by them company-wide.

 

Concluding, ABB’s Ciaran Flanagan said, “I very much hope that all of the major players in the sector who’ve not yet joined DCA will take our example and join – to contribute to the greater good of the industry”.

 

To find out more about the Data Centre Alliance or join please visit www.datacentrealliance.org/join

Siemon, Cisco, Intel and Aquantia team up to discuss 10GBASE-T adoption in the data centre

At a recent Emerging Technology Forum in Portland USA, experts from leading network infrastructure companies Siemon, Cisco, Intel and Aquantia addressed key advances and considerations in the trend towards increasing market adoption of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GBASE-T) technologies in the data centre.

Topics covered were key 10GBASE-T market drivers and projections, the evolution of server connectivity, decreasing power needs and cabling design options with 10GBASE-T, and others. This event offered actionable advice for networking professionals on critical 10GbE decision points across the data centre infrastructure.

An online video of this expert panel discussion is available at siemon.com/expertpanel .

Panel contributors included Dave Chalupsky, Intel Network Architect, Carl Hansen, senior product manager with Intel’s Data Centre Standards group, Carrie Higbie, Siemon’s global director of data centre solutions & services, Sudeep Goswami, product line manager of Cisco’s Server Access and Virtualization Business Unit and group chair for the Ethernet Alliance 10GBASE-T committee and Sean Lundy, director of technical marketing at Aquantia.

According to Siemon’s Carrie Higbie, category 6A and higher connectivity is being planned in new data centres, “85% of the new data centre designs we see are cabling for 10GBASE-T.”  Higbie also noted a continuing upswing in the global use of shielded cabling for 10GBASE-T, including the traditional UTP dominant markets such as the US.

Siemon has been marketing and selling 10GBASE-T ready cabling since 2004 and now that 10GBASE-T equipment and power consumption is becoming more economical, the time has come for customers to take full advantage of their category 6A and higher cabling investment.

Among the event highlights were Aquantia’s Sean Lundy and Intel’s Carl Hansen and Dave Chalupsky providing insight on how chip innovations from their respective companies were expected to significantly drive down 10GBASE-T power requirements for more energy-efficient 10GbE networks.  According to Lundy, “The current 40nm generation can already achieve power of a couple of watts for connectivity within the rack in data centres and will trend to 1 watt or less with energy efficient ethernet and migration to finer geometries. We have now achieved a power, area, density envelope that has enabled dual-port LAN on Motherboard (LOM). Between LOM and 48-port high density switching, in 2011, we will see the beginning of the hockey stick growth curve for 10GBASE-T”.

Regarding widespread commercial availability of 10GBASE-T equipment, Cisco’s Sudeep Goswami stated that Cisco is serious about 10GBASE-T and projected that the company’s flagship Nexus product family would join its Catalyst line in supporting 10GBASE-T in 2011.

For more information and insight from the Aquantia, Cisco, Intel and Siemon expert panel, please view the event video at siemon.com/expertpanel .

About Siemon

Established in 1903, Siemon is an industry leader specialising in the manufacture and innovation of high quality, high-performance copper and optical fibre network cabling solutions. With offices and partners throughout the world, Siemon offers a global service and has a reputation for delivering market leading performance with systems that maximise efficiency and return on investment.

Siemon’s products include the most comprehensive suite of copper available, in both unshielded and shielded twisted-pair, for category 5e, category 6 (Class E), category 6A (Class EA) and category 7/7A (Class F/FA) standards performance.  The company’s optical fibre range includes both multimode and singlemode cabling systems.  In addition to cabling systems, the company has developed specific and specialised products for network provision in both enterprise and hosted data centre environments, often partnering with other global industry leaders in delivery of complete solutions for these markets.  With over 400 patents specific to structured cabling, Siemon Labs invests heavily in R&D and development of industry standards, underlining the company’s long-term commitment to its customers and the industry.

www.siemon.com/uk

Follow Siemon on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/siemoncabling

Join Siemon on Facebook: http://www.siemon.com/go/facebook

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Data Centre Cabling Warnings from Siemon

Global infrastructure expert Siemon has today launched two warnings: 1) Category 6 may well fail to deliver 10 Gb/s in data centre. 2) Beware of using non-Standards compliant 26AWG conductor cabling.  To ensure 10GBASE-T capability, Siemon recommends standards compliant category 6A or higher for data centre environments.

Siemon’s warnings come on the heels of ISO/IEC, TIA and other telecommunications standards organisations giving clear messages that the minimum grade of cabling to be deployed in the data centre is category 6A.  ISO/IEC 247643 states that main distribution cabling systems supporting data centres shall be designed to provide a minimum of class EA (equivalent to TIA category 6A) channel performance.  The working draft of ANSI/TIA-942-A2 explicitly states that category 6A is the recommended grade of horizontal and backbone cabling to install in new data centres.

This alert from Siemon is likely to concern a large number of data centre sites that have already adopted category 6:  Industry market research firm IDC recently reported that one million 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports were shipped during the second quarter of 2010 and a proportion of these switches are highly likely to have been deployed in the data centre.  As 10GBASE-T network equipment becomes increasingly available, data centre decisions makers will want to take advantage of the cost savings, convenience and flexibility provided by deploying 10 Gb/s technology over twisted-pair copper cabling.  Whilst previously installed legacy category 6 systems may provide limited support of 10GBASE-T in some environments, category 6 cabling is not recommended for new data centres and smaller 26AWG cabling is not recognised by the Standards.

Moreover, legacy category 6 installations for 10GBASE-T are significantly distance limited.  According to Standards, category 6 channels of less that 37 metres (121ft) in length should support the 10BASE-T application and channels between 37 metres and 55 metres (180 ft) may or may not support the application, depending upon the alien crosstalk environment and mitigation steps.  However, Siemon points out that supporting 10GBASE-T over installed legacy category 6 requires alien crosstalk field tests on every channel, which can be time-consuming and not fully conclusive.

Compounding the concern for category 6 cabling, Siemon points out that there are no applications under development for this standard.  Both TIA and ISO state that the cabling systems specified in their standards are intended to have a useful life in excess of 10 years.   Since the category 6 and class E cabling standards were published in 2002, these systems are already beyond the halfway point of their targeted lifecycle.    Furthermore, application development groups such as IEEE 802.3 or ATM are not investigating the development of new Ethernet or other data transmission solutions for deployment over category 6 cabling.

Adding to the justification for the category 6 data centre warning, Siemon concludes that, as category 6 UTP or 26AWG cables cannot support a full 100 metre 10GBASE-T channel, it limits design flexibility.  The standard cannot support power-saving short reach mode (data centre mode) and these cables, having reduced diameter conductors, cannot dissipate heat as well as category 6A or higher systems.   These factors add to the reasons to specify category 6A or higher grade in the data centre, says Siemon.

About Siemon

Established in 1903, Siemon is an industry leader specialising in the manufacture and innovation of high quality, high-performance copper and optical fibre network cabling solutions. With offices and partners throughout the world, Siemon offers a global service and has a reputation for delivering market leading performance with systems that maximise efficiency and return on investment.

Siemon’s products include the most comprehensive suite of copper available, in both unshielded and shielded twisted-pair, for category 5e, category 6 (Class E), category 6A (Class EA) and category 7/7A (Class F/FA) standards performance.  The company’s optical fibre range includes both multimode and singlemode cabling systems.  In addition to cabling systems, the company has developed specific and specialised products for network provision in both enterprise and hosted data centre environments, often partnering with other global industry leaders in delivery of complete solutions for these markets.  With over 400 patents specific to structured cabling, Siemon Labs invests heavily in R&D and development of industry standards, underlining the company’s long-term commitment to its customers and the industry.

www.siemon.com/uk

Follow Siemon on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/siemoncabling

Join Siemon on Facebook: http://www.siemon.com/go/facebook

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Siemon products support new IEEE 802.3ba Ethernet standard

The recently ratified IEEE 802.3ba Standard specifies 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet applications for deployment over optical fibre cabling and high speed interconnect assemblies.  Siemon supports the newly ratified 802.3ba Standard with a comprehensive product offering consisting of:

  • 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s support of up to 100m over Siemon’s XGLO® OM3 multimode optical fibre and MTP connectivity in short reach mode
  • 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s support of up to 150m over Siemon’s XGLO OM4 multimode optical fibre and MTP connectivity in short reach mode
  • 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s support of up to 10km over Siemon’s XGLO® singlemode optical fibre and LC connectivity in long reach mode
  • 100 Gb/s support of up to 40km over Siemon’s XGLO singlemode optical fibre and LC connectivity in extended reach mode
  • 40 Gb/s support of up to 5m over Siemon’s QSFP+ passive copper high speed interconnect assemblies
  • 40 Gb/s support of up to 4km over Siemon’s Moray™ QSFP+ active optical cable assemblies

“Siemon has always been on the cutting edge with our twisted-pair and optical fibre cabling solutions and our new high speed interconnect technology enables us to support Ethernet deployment across the entire breadth of possible data centre configurations,” explains John Siemon, Chief Technology Officer of The Siemon Company.  “The decision to develop high speed interconnect solutions was based on global market drivers and technical studies that clearly demonstrate increased adoption of direct connections between servers and switches located in the same rack or in adjacent racks.  By extending our family of cabling products, we are able to support both traditional structured cabling as well as factory pre-configured unified architecture deployments to meet our customer’s data centre needs.”

While the current 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s copper deployments are limited to short length twinaxial cable assemblies, this emerging technology is anticipated to drive advancements related to the support of next generation Ethernet applications over twisted-pair cabling.

“Unfortunately, some manufacturers are taking advantage of the lack of information regarding the IEEE 802.3ba standard by making claims regarding support of 40 Gb/s applications with twisted-pair cabling,” says Robert Carlson, Siemon’s VP of Global Marketing.  “In the absence of a call-for-interest by IEEE, application support claims cannot be verified.  Any such claims are misleading.”

Until objectives for a new Ethernet project are adopted, assessing headroom to published standards and selecting products with stable transmission performance at extended bandwidths is the only way to differentiate performance capability between manufacturers.

Based on its industry leading performance and bandwidth capability, Carlson notes that Siemon’s TERA® category 7A cabling system is ideally prepared to support applications beyond 10GBASE-T. TERA systems provide performance up to at least 1.2 GHz, deliver guaranteed transmission headroom for improved signal-to-noise margin and have been deployed globally for more than a decade.

For more information on Siemon’s comprehensive line of 10 Gb/s, 40 Gb/s, and 100 Gb/s-ready solutions, including category 6A UTP, category 6A shielded, category 7A S/FTP (fully-shielded), laser-optimised multimode and low water peak singlemode optical fibre, visit www.siemon.com.  Information on Siemon’s QSFP+ and passive copper cable assemblies and Moray QSFP+ active optical cable assembly products can be found at www.siemon.com/sis .

*IEEE 802.3ba is a trademark of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

About Siemon

Established in 1903, Siemon is an industry leader specialising in the manufacture and innovation of high quality, high-performance copper and optical fibre network cabling solutions. With offices and partners throughout the world, Siemon offers a global service and has a reputation for delivering market leading performance with systems that maximise efficiency and return on investment.

Siemon’s products include the most comprehensive suite of copper available, in both unshielded and shielded twisted-pair, for category 5e, category 6 (Class E), category 6A (Class EA) and category 7/7A (Class F/FA) standards performance.  The company’s optical fibre range includes both multimode and singlemode cabling systems.  In addition to cabling systems, the company has developed specific and specialised products for network provision in both enterprise and hosted data centre environments, often partnering with other global industry leaders in delivery of complete solutions for these markets.  With over 400 patents specific to structured cabling, Siemon Labs invests heavily in R&D and development of industry standards, underlining the company’s long-term commitment to its customers and the industry.

www.siemon.com/uk
Follow Siemon on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/siemoncabling/

Join Siemon on Facebook: http://www.siemon.com/go/facebook

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About Turtle Consulting Group

Turtle Consulting Group is a PR Company that specialise in Tech PR.

Why do MOST small businesses fail?

What is a small business?

A good definition would be … less than 20 employees for non-manufacturing industries, and less than 100 employees for manufacturing industries.

Key features of small business

  • Independent from outside control
  • Smallness compared with other firms in their industry which inevitably means that many have major resource problems at two critical points – in the first few months (and even the first year or so) after start-up, and as they start to grow at more than a casual rate.
  • Owner managed whereas larger organisations are managed by professional executives who are salaried employees.

Typical small business profile

People

  • A close and loyal work team
  • Low employee turnover
  • Education, experience and skills: practical but narrow
  • Lack of specialist employees
  • Lack of promotable staff
  • Age and health of owner(s)

Management

  • Owner managed
  • Strong desire for independence
  • Centralised power and control
  • Leadership: personal but task oriented
  • Owner idiosyncrasies
  • Intrusion of family interests
  • Reluctance to take risks
  • Informal and inadequate planning and control
  • Decision making: more intuitive than rational
  • Responses:  reactive rather than innovative
  • Major resource problems during first few month
  • Major resource problems during growth

Operations

  • Labour intensive work
  • Limited process and product technology
  • Multifunctional work and management roles

Market

  • Narrow product/service range
  • Product dedicating rather than customer orientation
  • Limited market share and heavy reliance on few customers
  • Lack of control over environment

Finance

  • Limited ability to obtain funds


Small businesses fail in early years

Alan Williams study of 41 000 new firms between 1973 and 1994 (22 years) 26 564 (64.5%) sample firms failed.  Of the firms that failed just over 10 percent qualified as long term survivors.

 The first two years are the most dangerous with nearly half failing.  In the first two years poor management takes its toll. Many new owner/managers have made the wrong decision.  However as small firms survive each year generally their ability to survive the following year improves.

The number of early failures is increasing

There is no reason given for this increase.  It may be due to factors such as changing economic situation and the fact that more people are being made redundant and are going into business without the appropriate management skills.  Interestingly total failure rate of about 70 percent has remained fairly steady over the 20 year period.

Non-financial reasons for failure

According to Alan Williams’s studies nearly 15 percent (approximately 6,000) close down for “non-financial” reasons.

How many businesses fail?

Estimated about 40,000 small firms fall in Australia each year.

Our failure rate is close to 4 percent of the small and medium sized business population with estimated average loss of over $115,000.  Loss to economy of about $45 billion per year.

Financial problems of some kind are the direct cause of the great majority of most business closures, and also contribute to personal problems that interact with other problems areas (such as family/marital discord and poor health) and hence lead indirectly to decisions to close down.

Reported reasons for business failures

Study revealed:

  1. Lack of business/management experience skill and ability 62.3%
  2. Inadequate records 56.2%
  3. Inadequate sales 47.7%
  4. Inflation and inability to operate with fluctuating costs and prices 39.3%
  5. Union interference and problems 28.7%
  6. Excessive private drawings 24.4%
  7. Under capitalisation (especially at start up) 23.4%
  8. Overuse of credit (slow collections and bad debts) 21.6%
  9. Inventory problems (slow stock turnover, dead stock, poor records) 20.8%
  10. Inability to use/understand financial reports and statements 18.0%
  11. Rapid rate of technology change (affecting product knowledge, skill requirements,
  12. staff training, work quality, customer expectation, etc) 17.7%
  13. Failure to seek and use external advice 17.6%
  14. Lack of financial planning (no budgets, inadequate cash reserves, tax payment problems, etc) 17.5%
  15. Industry-wide downturns 14.9%
  16. Problems with staff supervision, motivation and productivity 13.5%
  17. Inability to get and keep good staff 11.9%

Major reasons for failure

Major reasons for failure of small enterprises in Australia, in order:

  1. Poor financial management and liquidity (cash flow) problems
  2. Overall management inexperience and incompetence
  3. Sales and marketing problems
  4. Problems coping with inflation, recession, and other economic conditions external to the firm
  5. Poor or non-existent books and records
  6. Staffing difficulties
  7. Difficulties with unions
  8. Failure a to seek and use expert advice

Conclusions

Management capability

An inability to manage a business is by far the most significant underlying reason for at least 95 percent of all small business failures.

Failure can be prevented

Virtually all the reasons are controllable, preventable or avoidable.

The next step:

Contact Turtle Consulting Group for advice and help phil.turtle@turtleconsulting.com

Read widely on management related subjects. You can find all the relevant books at www.managementbooks.co.uk