Archive for May, 2012

The Seven Types of Power Problems

Posted by on May 29, 2012  |  No Comments

White Paper 18

Our technological world has become deeply dependent upon the continuous availability of electrical power. In most countries, commercial power is made available via nationwide grids, interconnecting numerous generating stations to the loads. The grid must supply basic national needs of residential, lighting, heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, and transportation as well as critical supply to governmental, industrial, financial, commercial, medical and communications communities. Commercial power literally enables today’s modern world to function at its busy pace. Sophisticated technology has reached deeply into our homes and careers, and with the advent of e-commerce is continually changing the way we interact with the rest of the world.

Intelligent technology demands power that is free of interruption or disturbance. The consequences of large-scale power incidents are well documented. A recent study in the USA has shown that industrial and digital business firms are losing $45.7 billion per year due to power interruptions. Across all business sectors, an estimated $104 billion to $164 billion is lost due to interruptions with another $15 billion to $24 billion due to all other power quality problems. In industrial automatic processing, whole production lines can go out of control, creating hazardous situations for onsite personnel and expensive material waste. Loss of processing in a large financial corporation can cost thousands of unrecoverable dollars per minute of downtime, as well as many hours of recovery time to follow. Program and data corruption caused by a power interruption can create problems for software recovery operations that may take weeks to resolve.

Many power problems originate in the commercial power grid, which, with its thousands of miles of transmission lines, is subject to weather conditions such as hurricanes, lightning storms, snow, ice, and flooding along with equipment failure, traffic accidents and major switching operations. Also, power problems affecting today’s technological equipment are often generated locally within a facility from any number of situations, such as local construction, heavy startup loads, faulty distribution components, and even typical background electrical noise.

“The Seven Types of Power Problems” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

Many of the mysteries of equipment failure, downtime, software and data corruption, are the result of a problematic supply of power. There is also a common problem with describing power problems in a standard way. This white paper will describe the most common types of power disturbances, what can cause them, what they can do to your critical equipment, and how to safeguard your equipment, using the IEEE standards for describing power quality problems.

Contents:

  • Transients
  • Interruptions
  • Sag/undervoltage
  • Swell/overvoltage
  • Waveform distortion
  • Voltage fluctuations
  • Frequency variations

Conclusion:

The widespread use of electronics has raised the awareness of power quality and its affect on the critical electrical equipment that businesses use. Our world is increasingly run by small microprocessors that are sensitive to even small electrical fluctuations. These micro-processors can control blazingly fast automated robotic assembly and packaging line systems that cannot afford downtime. Economical solutions are available to limit, or eliminate, the affects of power quality disturbances. However, in order for the industry to communicate and understand power disturbances and how to prevent them, common terms and definitions are needed to describe the different phenomena. This paper has attempted to define and illustrate power quality disturbances as outlined in IEEE Standard 1159-1995, IEEE Recommended Practice for Monitoring Electrical Power Quality.

Reducing equipment downtime and production expense, therefore increasing profit, is the goal of any size business. Communicating by understanding the electrical environment, and equipment’s susceptibility to power quality disturbances, will help in the discovery of better methods to achieve business goals and dreams.

White Paper Written By:

Joseph Seymour

Universal Networking Services brings a comprehensive solution from the utility pole to the server and assists with navigating the complex waters of most size and scope of projects. Whether you are upgrading, retrofitting or developing a new design-build, UNS and its partners generate efficient, scalable, reliable and manageable critical infrastructure solutions to your organization. Our holistic, common sense approach lowers our clients Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and maximizes efficiencies offered by the advancements in critical power and cooling infrastructure.

Please feel free to contact us to learn more.

“What is Datapod?” Series-Part 3

Posted by on May 17, 2012  |  No Comments


We would like to follow up our latest blog “Accounting and Tax Benefits of Modular, Portable Data Center Infrastructure” with the benefits of cost segregation and the Datapod™ System.


Cost segregation is a strategic tax savings tool that allows companies and individuals, who have constructed, purchased, expanded or remodeled any kind of real estate to increase cash flow by accelerating deprecation deductions and deferring federal and state income taxes. Because the entire Datapod system (everything in the container and the container itself) is not considered to be a building, you would capitalize the total cost of the system (including the installation costs) and depreciate it over five years for tax purposes.

Attached is a benefit estimate that takes 100% of a $1,000,000 cost and moves it from 39 years to 5 years.  You can see that the Datapod system–compared to a million dollars of traditional new data center costs–will provide you with an improved cash flow of over $65,000 in year 1 and nearly $290,000 in years 1-5, cumulatively.  This analysis assumes a 35% federal income tax rate. Consideration of state income tax will enhance the results.  Note: This is provided purely for illustrative purposes; the fees and yields are merely examples and are not meant to be indications of actual fees or results.

Sample Benefit Estimate and Fee Quote (Click Here To Download Larger View)

Universal Networking Services works closely with a dedicated cost segregation team that includes engineers and tax experts that have performed thousands of tax projects resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits.   The initial assessment to determine qualification is free.  If you think you may qualify for cost segregation and want to increase your cash flow please feel free to contact us to learn more.

Specification of Modular Data Center Architecture

Posted by on May 17, 2012  |  No Comments

White Paper 160

Modularity is loosely defined as a technique that builds large systems out of smaller subsystems, where the subsystems have well defined rules for interfacing to each other. Modularity also suggests a simplified approach to installation or replacement, ideally with “plug in” of modular elements that require simplified commissioning.

Recent reports by Gartner reflect the growing realization that “The first two generations of data center designs are no longer appropriate for current and future needs. New data centers should be perceived less as a static structure and more as an agile, living organism that evolves as the server and storage infrastructure changes.” In response, Gartner suggests operators should “Include flexible, modular, virtualized design principles in new data center designs.”

Major suppliers of data center equipment and complete data center solutions are promoting the benefits of their modular solutions. Yet the definition of modularity remains vague and can be applied to a single device, such as a UPS, or it can be applied to complete data center buildings. In the case of so-called containerized data centers, the data center itself is can be viewed as a module.

Data center operators are faced with a confusing number of poorly defined terms describing modularity including terms like pods, containers, clusters, zones, rows, rooms, busses, etc.

Clearly, modularity within a data center does not refer to one specific ideal design, but rather to an approach that can yield many different types of design. Furthermore, while some data centers may be said to be “more modular” than others, there is no threshold where a data center becomes modular.

When a modular approach is chosen, the degree to which the data center is cut up into modules must also be considered. Should a specific subsystem in a data center have three modules or forty-seven modules? Modularity does have some costs, so making everything as modular as possible is not always effective.

A recent analysis by Tier 1 Research validates the advantages of modularity for data centers but suggests that the industry impact of modularity will only be maximized when modules become “industrialized” and standardized to reduce their costs and speed the supply chain.

In this paper, we will define what is meant by modularity and define terms used for describing and specifying modularity in relation to the physical infrastructure of data center including space, power and cooling. Modularity in relation to the IT architecture or IT hardware is not discussed in this paper. A graphical method for describing a modular architecture will be presented. The feasibility of standardizing and industrializing modularity will be examined. We will show how data center modularity can be effectively applied and specified, and how the approach should vary with the application.

“Specification of Modular Data Center Architecture” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

There is a growing consensus that conventional legacy data center design will be superseded by modular scalable data center designs. Reduced total cost of ownership, increased flexibility, reduced deployment time, and improved efficiency are all claimed benefits of modular scalable designs. Yet the term “modular”, when and where modularity is appropriate, and how to specify modularity are all poorly defined.

This paper creates a framework for modular data center architecture and describes the various ways that modularity can be implemented for data center power, cooling, and space infrastructure and explains when the different approaches are appropriate and effective.

Contents:

  • Problems solved by modularity
  • Elements of modular architecture
  • Defining modular architecture for data centers
  • One or many modular architectures?
  • Documenting a modular data center architecture
  • Specifying a data center project using modular methods
  • Containers, skids, and other form factors

Conclusion:

The benefits of modular architecture are becoming widely recognized. This paper has only briefly summarized these benefits. The move toward modular data center is inevitable because the overwhelming improvements in performance and TCO that accrue. This form of advancement can be seen in many industries such as the automotive industry and the IT equipment industry. For data centers the only questions are how quickly this transformation will occur and what form it will take.

This paper defines what is meant by modular data center architecture, so that operators, engineering firms, construction firms, and suppliers can begin to have productive conversa- tions about modular data center design using a common language. This paper has also gone further in describing how modular architecture can be formally specified. The industry will only obtain the benefits of modular data center architecture when the standard specification system described here, or one like it, becomes a commonly accepted way for vendors to describe data center offers, and for customers to use in requesting quotations.

White Paper Written By:

Neil Rasmussen

Universal Networking Services is proud to partner with Datapod™ to deliver an unique alternative to the traditional bricks and mortar data center installation. With Datapod we can provide the data center community an alternative solution that maximizes their investment and increases the reliability and availability of their mission-critical facility.  Datapod is an unique, modular data center system that incorporates innovative design and cutting edge mechanical and electrical engineering. It has extended the concept of containerized data centers to include critical site infrastructure such as modular generators, chillers, and deployment services thereby providing a complete infrastructure solution for data centers. By enabling data center users to deploy when they like, where they like and for how long they like, the Datapod system offers performance superior to that of  a “bricks and mortar” data center facility, deploys faster and at a more cost-effective price point.

Please feel free to contact Waite Ave at w.ave@apcdistributors.com or contact us to learn more.

Accounting and Tax Benefits of Modular, Portable Data Center Infrastructure

Posted by on May 11, 2012  |  No Comments

White Paper 115

This white paper is provided to highlight the opportunities and benefits of involving a finance or tax professional who is knowledgeable in the acquisition and deployment of data center physical infrastructure (DCPI) assets. Applying the accounting options available within the framework of what is known as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), DCPI assets may be better aligned with the goals and objectives of a particular business, institution, or organization. This document is not intended to provide or offer advice on tax planning, as only a qualified or certified financial professionals may actually provide tax advice.

Among the difficulties faced by owners of DCPI assets, is the absence of perceptive financial treatment of the individual portions of mission critical systems. Frequently, the UPS, power distribution unit (PDU), and branch circuit panels installed in the construction of a building (or as a major “improvement project“) will be booked as a “building improvement” and depreciated along with the concrete, steel, boilers and pipes of the building. The “building” will likely have a long depreciable life, which may be upwards of 30+ years. However, DCPI equipment typically has a relatively short useful life, even though the UPS, PDU, and related branch circuits may remain on the books long after they are declared obsolete. For many companies, improper booking of high technology DCPI such as UPS systems and PDUs routinely causes substantial problems in the form of overstated “real property” asset value, and the obligation to take a “write-down” in the year that the UPS and related parts are “retired”. A glossary is provided in the appendix of this paper to define various terms used throughout.

Recent improvements in the design and manufacture of DCPI equipment, particularly UPS systems, PDUs, and (to some extent) air conditioning, has opened up the opportunity to treat DCPI as “business equipment”, rather than a part of the building in which the equipment is installed. This achievement is the direct result of scalable, modular, and fully manufactured systems requiring little or no field wiring other than the connection of the input power (which may be accomplished through “cord and plug connected” means).

This improved DCPI works well in a dynamic business climate where technology changes frequently and economic cycles and leaseholds may be substantially shorter than real estate investment periods. The integration of this DCPI into a corporation, institution, or organization’s economic model is not difficult, because nearly all corporations, institution, or organizations have experience with the management of business equipment, including computers, copy machines, production machinery, and company owned vehicles.

“Accounting and Tax Benefits of Modular, Portable Data Center Infrastructure” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

Well-informed accounting treatment of data center physical infrastructure (DCPI) assets provides significant opportunities to contribute to improving the financial performance of a business, institution, or organization. Design and manufacturing improvements in modular, scalable UPS systems, power distribution units (PDUs), and computer room air conditioners have not only created technological benefits, but provide entirely new DCPI asset management opportunities with direct and measurable financial benefits.

Contents:

  • “Traditional” vs. factory-built solutions
  • Understanding property taxes and related government fees
  • Financial planning for DCPI assets
  • Implementation of an asset management strategy for DCPI (Steps 1-7)
    • Step 7:  Cost segregation

Cost segregation:

By applying different depreciation rates to different components of a building, a business, institution, or organization may lower its corporate income taxes and thereby make available more cash flow. Cost segregation, as practiced by financial professionals with experience in corporate income tax accounting, is largely an exercise in recognizing and separately accounting for the costs of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 year property from the 30 or 39 year property classifications. The property in the each of the classifications from 5 to 20 years, in addition to being properly separated from the 30 or 39 year categories, once properly identified, are eligible for accelerated depreciation. Accelerated depreciation allows a business, institution, or organization paying corporate income tax to further increase deductions during the early life of the equipment.

Businesses, institutions, and organizations that own high technology assets can benefit the most from employing cost segregation methodology, so long as each asset can pass the so called function and use test and the inherent permanency test. The function and use test is intended to determine whether an asset serves any purpose in the operation of the building, as carefully differentiated from the business conducted within the building. If the asset is determined not to serve any purpose in the operation of the building, it is then subject to the inherent permanency test, where ease of removal and the complexity of the removal process are evaluated. Modular, scaleable, factory built DCPI performing the work or mission of a business, institution, or organization, routinely pass both tests easily.

Conclusion:

The impact of tax and tax related asset management strategies on the total cost of ownership of DCPI can be significant. These savings are entirely separate to gains in energy efficiency and the cost of maintenance, compared to an old, oversized legacy or traditional UPS system, with high electrical energy consumption, escalating repair, deferred maintenance, and real estate costs. Personal property, real estate, and corporate income tax savings, and tax related savings (such as the tax component of rent) can produce direct financial benefits, in excess of 20% of the installed cost of a properly sized, installed, and “booked”, factory-built UPS and PDU solution.

The key to successful implementation of a tax and tax related asset management strategy is involving a financial professional along with the IT professionals, and facility managers involved in the deployment of DCPI, and:

  • Consider treating all factory-built DCPI solutions as business equipment
  • Consider declaring factory built DCPI as personal rather than real property
  • Create realistic depreciation schedules
  • Avoid life cycle errors creating stranded asset requiring a “write-down” against earnings
  • Reassess permit and inspection requirements for factory built DCPI
  • Plan for asset portability and asset reassignment; and incorporate tax related savings including
  • Plan for reduction in construction costs for a dedicated UPS room
  • Lower monthly or annual rents or allocation cost associated with dedicated UPS rooms, hallways, and common areas required to access the dedicated UPS rooms

Modular, scalable UPS systems, PDUs, and computer room air conditioners have not only created technological benefits, but provide entirely new DCPI tax and asset management opportunities with direct and measurable financial benefits. While this white paper is intended to highlight these opportunities, its primary message is the benefit of involving a tax professional in any team planning improvement to a data center or network room DCPI. The results will be dramatic.

White Paper Written By:

Barry Rimler

Organizations that own high technology assets can benefit the most from exercising cost segregation strategies, so long as each asset can pass the function and use test and the inherent permanency test.  Modular, scaleable factory built Data Center Physical Infrastructure (DCPI) performing the mission of a business routinely pass both tests with ease.

Tax and tax related asset management strategies create a significant impact on the total cost of ownership of DCPI.  These savings are entirely separate to gains in energy efficiency.  Successful implementation of cost segregation strategies involves a financial professional along with the IT professionals and facility managers in the deployment of DCPI.

Universal Networking Services works closely with a dedicated cost segregation team that includes engineers and tax experts that have performed thousands of tax projects resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits.   The initial assessment to determine qualification is free.  If you think you may qualify for cost segregation and want to increase your cash flow please feel free to contact us to learn more.

Essential Standby Generator System Requirements for Next Generation Data Centers

Posted by on May 8, 2012  |  No Comments

White Paper 90

Standby power generation is a key component of a high availability power system for data centers and network rooms. Information technology systems may operate for minutes or even a few hours on battery, but local power generation capability is key to achieving high availability. In locations with poor utility power, local power generation may be needed to achieve even a minimal requirement of 99.9% availability.

Generator systems with diesel or natural gas engines are, in most cases, the solution for standby power generation. A generator system includes not only the standby generator, but also the automatic transfer switch (ATS), the output distribution, and the communication or management system as shown in Figure 1. The ATS is fed by two sources, the utility and the generator, with the utility the preferred source. When the preferred source is unacceptable, the ATS automatically switches to the generator. White Paper 93, Fundamental Principles of Generators for Information Technology, provides a detailed explanation of the operational principles of generator systems.

Standby generator systems are typically used in conjunction with UPS systems. There are several issues that need to be considered when choosing, installing and operating a generator system that operates seamlessly with a UPS. This paper outlines the key problems and requirements for effective selection and operation of a generator system to support today’s mission critical data centers.

“Essential Standby Generator System Requirements for Next Generation Data Centers” Full White Paper (Download Here)

Executive Summary:

Effective standby generator system installations must address the known problems and challenges relating to current and past designs. This paper presents a categorized and prioritized overview of generator system challenges and the requirements needed to overcome them.

Contents:

  • Inadequacy of current generator systems for IT managers
  • Generator system challenges in mission critical installations
  • Standby generator systems for mission critical installations

Conclusion:

A systematic analysis of customer problems relating to generator systems provides a clear statement of direction for next generation systems. The most pressing problems related to generator systems today stem from the custom approach to their design, installation and maintenance. Legacy systems require site specific engineering and installation expertise that not only increases capital costs but also increases operational costs due to their unique management and service requirements.

In many industries, a maturity level is reached when new advances in reliability, cycle time, and cost lead to standardization and pre-engineered solutions. Designers of mission critical installations, designers of the power equipment used in them, and owners should consider whether this point has been reached.

The findings of this paper suggest the time has arrived for a new generation of integrated standby generator systems for mission critical installations.

White Paper Written By:

Matt LePard

Find out how Universal Networking Services (UNS) brings a comprehensive solution from the utility pole to the server and assists with navigating the complex waters of most size and scope of projects. Whether you are upgrading, retrofitting or developing a new design-build, UNS and its partners generate efficient, scalable, reliable and manageable critical infrastructure solutions to your organization. For the power your operation depends on, UNS and Caterpillar (MacAllister CAT – Generator Division) has diesel generator sets (12kW to 17,460kW) and natural gas generator sets (11kW to 81,050kW).  Our holistic, common sense approach lowers our clients Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and maximizes efficiencies offered by the advancements in critical power and cooling infrastructure.

Please feel free to contact us to learn more.

“What is Datapod?” Series-Part 2

Posted by on May 1, 2012  |  No Comments

Article “Photos: Inside Datapod’s container data centres”
Click Here To Download Article


Universal Networking Services is proud to partner with Datapod™ to deliver an unique alternative to the traditional bricks and mortar data center installation. With Datapod we can provide the data center community an alternative solution that maximizes their investment and increases the reliability and availability of their mission-critical facility.  Datapod is an unique, modular data center system that incorporates innovative design and cutting edge mechanical and electrical engineering. It has extended the concept of containerized data centers to include critical site infrastructure such as modular generators, chillers, and deployment services thereby providing a complete infrastructure solution for data centers. By enabling data center users to deploy when they like, where they like and for how long they like, the Datapod system offers performance superior to that of  a “bricks and mortar” data center facility, deploys faster and at a more cost-effective price point.

Please feel free to contact Waite Ave at w.ave@apcdistributors.com or contact us to learn more.


Fundamental Principles of Generators for Information Technology

Posted by on May 1, 2012  |  No Comments

White Paper 93

A standby generator system is composed of two basic subsystems: (1) the generator, which is made up of the prime mover, the alternator, and the governor, and (2) the distribution system, which is made up of the Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) and associated switchgear and distribution. Figure 1 illustrates a typical standby generator. This paper explains these major subsystems and their basic function, however, it is an introductory paper from a suite of related APC papers on more advanced generator system topics, and provides references for readers interested in a more complete treatment of the subject.

When investing in a generator system one should be aware of the technological advantages afforded by today’s systems, and the significant advances in reliability and functionality that have been made over the past 10-15 years. Older generator systems can often be retrofit to meet current requirements. See APC White Paper #90, “Essential Generator System Requirements for Next Generation Data Centers” for a further discussion on essential generator system requirements for today’s mission critical facilities.

“Fundamental Principles of Generators for Information Technology” Full White Paper (Download Here)

Executive Summary:

Every Information Technology professional who is responsible for the operation of computing equipment needs to ensure their data center or network room is prepared for extended utility power outages. Understanding the basic functions and concepts of standby generator systems helps provide a solid foundation allowing IT professionals to successfully specify, install, and operate critical facilities. This paper is an introduction to standby generators and subsystems that power a facility’s critical electrical loads when the utility cannot.

Contents:

The Prime Mover:  Internal Combustion Engine

  • Fuel
  • Exhaust, Emissions & Noise
  • Combustion Air Intake
  • Cooling Lubrication
  • Filters:  Air & Fuel
  • Starter Motor

The Alternator:  The Electrical Generation Component:

  • Brushless
  • Self-excited
  • Main Stator or Armature Windings
  • Grounding
  • Temperature Rating

The Governor:  AC Output Frequency and Regulation

Voltage Regulation

Switchgear & Distribution

Multiple or Parallel Redundant Generator Systems

Overall System and Compatibility Design

Conclusions:

The prime mover supplies the energy to the generator system, and requires an accurate governor to produce stable frequency under changing loads. The alternator, voltage regulator, and other controls are required to create and deliver quality AC to the transfer switch to be fed to the critical loads. Traditional generator systems can be complex in nature, leading to more costly engineering work and greater potential for failures. Alternative pre-engineered systems provide increased reliability through standardized manufacturing techniques.

White Paper Written By:

Robert Wolfgang

Find out how Universal Networking Services (UNS) brings a comprehensive solution from the utility pole to the server and assists with navigating the complex waters of most size and scope of projects. Whether you are upgrading, retrofitting or developing a new design-build, UNS and its partners generate efficient, scalable, reliable and manageable critical infrastructure solutions to your organization. For the power your operation depends on, UNS and Caterpillar (MacAllister CAT – Generator Division) has diesel generator sets (12kW to 17,460kW) and natural gas generator sets (11kW to 81,050kW).  Our holistic, common sense approach lowers our clients Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and maximizes efficiencies offered by the advancements in critical power and cooling infrastructure.

Please feel free to contact us to learn more.