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When Patch Cords Attack!

We had fun with last week’s post, I Saw What You Patched Last Summer, viewing the horrors that are the entries to Cisco’s recent Crazy Cabling Contest  Fun because, as humorist Will Rogers famously noted, everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else.

You obviously don’t want such cabling mayhem in your Data Center.   Tangled cables greatly increase the risk of accidental downtime.  They also inhibit airflow, forcing a Data Center’s cooling system to work harder to deliver chilled air to hardware and thereby increasing energy consumption and operational costs.

For those keeping score at home, here’s the winning submission as voted by visitors to Cisco’s Facebook page:

The top vote-getter from Cisco's Crazy Cabling Contest.

Messy cabling is also bad because it leads to more messy cabling.  Have you ever walked into a Data Center with just one sloppy server cabinet?  In my experience, server environments are either neat and tidy throughout or messy throughout.

So, what can be done to prevent tangled cabling in your Data Center?

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I Saw What You Patched Last Summer

Cisco recently hosted a Crazy Cabling Contest, inviting people to share photos of the most disorganized, rats-have-obviously-nested-here cabling within their server environments.

See what turned up:

Read More »

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You Can’t Stop Compute, You Can Only Hope to Contain It

Don’t put away the party favors yet.

Cisco a few weeks ago opened a new Data Center in Allen, Texas to fanfare that included media coverage and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Texas Governor Rick Perry.

We’re now opening a Data Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  The facility features water-cooled cabinets, supports up to 25 kW per rack and has sophisticated monitoring and management tools for controlling power and cooling systems.  The Data Center can be configured with different levels of redundancy (up to tier 4), has a calculated PUE below 1.25 and is modular, allowing for rapid expansion.

Oh, and it’s tucked into a 40 ft. long box that can be delivered to your doorstep.  That’s right, Cisco’s newest server environment is a containerized Data Center.

The Cisco Containerized Data Center at Cisco's Research Triangle Park campus.

A formal grand-opening isn’t scheduled until August when an in-building Data Center opens its doors on the Research Triangle Park campus as well.  But you can watch the video below for a sneak peak at how it was installed as well as catch further discussion about Data Center container capabilities.

Additional information about the Cisco Containerized Data Center is available at

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Parting Clouds and Being Real About Virtualization

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years – and perhaps even then – you have undoubtedly heard someone touting the merits of virtualization and cloud computing.  Chief among the advantages are reduced costs and the capability to do more with fewer resources.

Although the terms are often used simultaneously, cloud and virtualization aren’t the same.  Click below for a brief discussion of each.

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Rocket Science in the Data Center

I have been involved in a lot of Data Center projects over the years and during the design discussions someone almost invariably observes:  “it’s not rocket science.  We’re just building a Data Center.”

It turns out there is rocket science in some Data Centers after all.

A handful of server environments now incorporate hydrogen fuel cells, the same technology that helped U.S. spacecraft reach the moon as part of the Gemini and Apollo space missions in the 1960s and are still used in space shuttles today.  Data Center industry publications have in recent years reported fuel cells helping power server environments belonging to the First National Bank of Omaha, Fujitsu and Verizon.

Hydrogen fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity and produce heat and water as byproducts.  They typically run on natural gas, which although not a renewable energy does emits less carbon, sulfur and nitrogen than other sources.  Probably the best known fuel cell on the market is Bloom Energy’s “Bloom Box” that was profiled by 60 Minutes in 2010.

So, are we at Cisco using fuel cells in Data Centers?  Watch below to see why or why not.

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