Fluke Networks spins out Visual Network Systems

Aug. 1, 2010
Fluke Networks (www.flukenetworks.com) has created a new operating entity, spun out of its Fluke Networks Systems assets.

Compiled by Patrick McLaughlin

Fluke Networks spins out Visual Network Systems

Fluke Networks (www.flukenetworks.com) has created a new operating entity, spun out of its Fluke Networks Systems assets. The new entity, Visual Network Systems (www.visualnetworksystems.com), operates independently and was established to address the market growth opportunity in the application performance management (APM) market, the company says.

Visual Network Systems offers what it describes as a comprehensive “suite” approach to demonstrate the value to IT professionals by delivering insight into individual user experience, application and network performance. IT professionals can improve end user productivity, the company says, through better application and business services delivery with visibility into how the infrastructure impacts the business.

The company is based on Colorado Springs, CO and headed by general manager Lyn Cantor. Cantor reports to Rich McBee, who oversees a group of companies under Danaher’s Test and Measurement platform - including Fluke Networks, Tektronix Communications and now Visual Network Systems.

“Visual Network Systems’ goal is to accelerate growth as a leading provider of enterprise service intelligence, which helps IT professionals and business stakeholders understand the true impact of the enterprise infrastructure for mission-critical applications and business services,” McBee said. “By creating the separate operating entity, Visual Network Systems will be able to build upon Fluke Networks’ heritage of technology while being focused specifically on enteprise-wide network and application performance, and ultimately customer experience and IT technology, for large-scale enterprise customers.”

Cantor added, “Becoming Visual Network Systems allows us to firmly establish our brand and enable growth within the APM market based on our unparalleled ability to deliver enterprise service intelligence. Visual Performance Manager, our flagship solution under Fluke Networks Systems, was recently recognized by Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for application performance monitoring. Creating a focused business unit, Visual Network Systems, underscores our commitment to our customers, delivering the comprehensive tools to give them visibility into network performance.”

North Carolina data center first to receive Energy Star rating

NetApp’s (www.netapp.com) Research Triangle Park, NC data center is the first to earn the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star rating. The facility opened in 2009.

Primarily used to further research initiatives, as well as to create and improve storage efficiency and shared infrastructure technologies for delivering cloud computing and IT-on-demand, the RTP data center reportedly has reduced carbon dioxide emissions for NetApp by approximately 95,000 tons per year. The facility scored 99 on the EPA’s 1-100 scale used to quantify a data center’s energy efficiency.

NetApp says it has implemented the following features in its RTP data center.

  • 74-degree average supply air temperature; this higher-than-normal supply air reduces cooling costs.
  • Using an airside economizer, which uses only outside air to cool the data center 67% of the year.
  • A pressure-controlled room includes modulating fans that are based on proprietary technology and regulate air volume to avoid oversupplying air.
  • Cold aisle containment, in which a cold room separates the cold and hot air streams to protect supply air temperatures from being affected by hot air returning from racks.
  • Overhead air distribution takes advantage of cold/hot air buoyancy and eliminates ductwork, which reduces the energy needed for fans.

Distributed antenna system serves retractable-roof stadium

Over a six-week period in late winter and early spring, Rogers Centre in Toronto built a wired-and-wireless infrastructure capable of providing attendees within the 46,000-seat stadium with 2G and 3G wireless service. Through a distributed antenna system, or DAS, Rogers Centre boasts clear service even when events such as concerts swell attendance to 55,000 with spectators on the field and in the stands.

The system, ADC’s InterReach Fusion DAS, was put in place in time for the Blue Jays’ 2010 home opener April 12. Though the Jays dropped the home opener 8-7 to the Chicago White Sox in extra innings, the stadium’s new DAS helped protect against dropped wireless signals thanks to the extra coverage it provides.

ADC (www.adc.com) reports that the installation at Rogers Centre, though far from its first such foray into sports and entertainment venues, offered design and implementation challenges nonetheless. Specifically, its design and multi-use (sports, concerts, etc.) characteristics mean the radio-wave environment within the facility can vary greatly depending on whether the retractable roof is open or closed. The DAS had to be designed and built to perform in both situations. Similarly, the coverage needed during baseball games when everyone is in the stands varies greatly from concerts, where spectators are on the field. ADC also says that with macro tower cell sites in close proximity, the Rogers Centre DAS had to provide stronger local signals in many parts of the facility to overcome the interference generated by those sites’ signals.

The InterReach system has also been deployed at sporting and entertainment venues including the 2010 Winter Olympics venue in Vancouver, the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, the Millennium Dome in London and the Jamrat Bridge in Mecca.

Siemon claims significant carbon negativity

Based on an extensive audit that identified Siemon’s 2009 United States and Canada-based carbon emission sources and calculated the company’s total carbon footprint using publicly available U.S. EPA data, Siemon recently announced that those operations have achieved carbon negativity. Balanced against the approximately 4,880 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the combination of 16,330 metric tons of carbon reductions and offsets brought Siemon’s total U.S. and Canada carbon footprint figures to negative 11,450 metric tons, which is a carbon reduction more than 3.3 times larger than the company’s actual carbon output.

The company’s chief executive officer Carl Siemon said, “Just about every enterprise - specifically manufacturers like Siemon - will produce carbon. But our success proves that there are economical and effective ways to offset the impact of those emissions.”

Siemon reached such carbon negativity through a program of environmental-improvement initiatives including the development of more-efficient and sustainable manufacturing processes; zero-landfill recycling; increased reliance on renewable energy sources such as solar power; and carbon offsets based on extensive forestland-conservation efforts.

The aforementioned audit focused on facility-level emissions within organizational boundaries as specified by ISO-14064-1, and included electricity and fossil-fuel usage-related CO2 output at the company’s Watertown, CT global headquarters and manufacturing facility, as well as the effects of the facility’s waste management programs. The audit also compiled fuel consumption for the company’s U.S. and Canada auto fleet and air travel.

Siemon’s carbon-reduction and sustainability programs were also analyzed using EPA data. According to the calculations, Branch Hill Farms, a 3,000-acre tree farm established and operated by the Siemon Company board of directors, as well as 900 metric tons of waste recycled at Siemon in 2009, and the company’s clean solar energy system further reduced yearly carbon output by a combined 16,330 metric tons.

Carl Siemon says his company’s approach to carbon-reduction is twofold. It adheres to longstanding continual-improvement policies that drive efficient manufacturing and business processes. Confident that carbon emissions were being reduced at the source, Siemon developed ways to cut further through better waste management, alternative fuels and offsets. The company is also working proactively with partners to identify areas where mutual improvements to upstream and downstream traffic can be made.

“We didn’t set out to be carbon negative,” Carl Siemon explained. “We just want to be as efficient and environmentally responsible as possible. Being carbon negative is the natural result of over 50 years of progressive environmental stewardship.”

6 tips for reducing cabling-installation costs

In a recent post on its Optimize IT blog, Datatrend Technologies’ (www.datatrend.com) Bill Roberts detailed six cost- and risk-reducing steps to help users avoid network cabling-installation mishaps. Roberts is Datatrend’s president of network services. The focus of this recent blog entry was data center cabling projects.

Roberts says that cabling costs are often overlooked in a data center project and that they “come stealthily along with the project as a whole. The cost to connect everything, organized and efficient, can be overwhelmingly expensive and if your data center cabling projects are not done correctly, bring a great deal of unnecessary risks.

“If you’ve ever seen a poorly cabled data center you know how many questions pop up,” he continues. “Often it is difficult and time-consuming to decipher which wires go where and to what equipment, making it extremely difficult to make even the most minor modifications.”

Roberts is evidently aiming his words at data center managers unfamiliar with, or not adhering to, the cable-plant administration standards geared to data centers.

He offers the following six tips to avoid the costs and risks associated with a bad data center cabling project. The six points are taken verbatim from the Optimize IT blog.

  1. Requirements Gathering: First, a thorough assessment of the environment, “as is” needs to be done. This includes site surveys and documentation concerning risk and your future needs as well as time and budget constraints.
  2. Implementation Planning: This is the planning stage where everything from connection issues to heating and cooling systems to even how many IT staff members will need to interface with the system is planned out.
  3. Determining a Project Time Schedule: Some components might require lengthy delivery times while others have critical dependencies that must be taken into account. This step determines how long your data center cabling project will take.
  4. Finalize the Budget: By understanding cost estimates from start to finish, you can avoid overdesigning a plan that is too costly. The cost estimates can include the physical devices as well as implementation costs.
  5. Create the Design Plan: Once the points have been resolved, the design blueprint includes the floor plans and prints, main distribution areas, zone distribution areas and equipment distribution areas. This plan makes sure everything meets the correct safety and code requirements for your site.
  6. Installation: The final step. All the planning is done, now it’s time to put it into practice according to your dates and budget.

In Missouri, data centers get political

According to reporting from Tony Messenger on stltoday.com, it’s a case of old-tech versus new-tech in an economic development battle brewing in the Missouri statehouse.

Supporters of the concept of adding tax incentives for data centers to an economic development bill continue to put pressure on Governor Jay Nixon to expand his call.

Recently the Missouri Chamber of Commerce released a study that indicates just one large data center in the state could produce $40 million in tax revenue for Missouri in its first five years.

According to the report, several major companies are considering Missouri for data centers that could cost more than $1 billion each, say those pushing to have the tax incentives added to the bill.

Governor Nixon has been unwilling to consider the incentives for data centers. The proposed bill also gives $150 million in incentives to automotive companies over 10 years.

“If the reason for calling the special session in the first place was to create jobs and secure additional state revenues, then there is a strong case for including data center incentives,” said Missouri Chamber president Dan Mehan, in a statement.

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