The Stack Archive Article

Panduit Corporate Q and A

Mon 5 Jun 2017 | Tom Donovan

1. Provide us with a short background on Panduit?

Panduit was founded through innovation. In 1955 we launched our first product, Panduct Wiring Duct, a new invention that uniquely organised control panel wiring and allowed new wires to be added quickly and neatly. Since that time Panduit has introduced thousands of problem solving new products and remained committed to providing innovative electrical and network infrastructure solutions.

Today, customers look to Panduit as a trusted advisor who works with them to address their most critical business challenges within their Data Centre, Enterprise, and Industrial environments. Our proven reputation for quality and technology leadership coupled with a robust ecosystem of partners across the world enables Panduit to deliver comprehensive solutions that unify the physical infrastructure to help our customers achieve operational and financial goals.

Our mission is to leverage the full portfolio and capabilities of Panduit, and our partner ecosystem, in order to support our customers in the design, development and deployment of infrastructure solutions that enable the achievement of superior results.

Panduit Overview & Market Leadership
Panduit has sales revenue of over $1.0 Billion USD and employs more than 5,000 people globally.

– Panduit has operations in 12 countries.
– Panduit works with 91% of the Fortune 100
– Has more than 1,100 global patents
– Operates a corporate R&D facility that leads in Fibre technology and product innovation

For more information, please watch our Corporate R&D video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4apcPeRSjA&index=1&list=PLlmhdhGkedtncoK1iVl6sra7xRxybyx-A

2. An overview of the Panduit products and services portfolio?

This is an overview of our Data Centre products and services portfolio:
At Panduit, we find that our customers don’t just have to worry about designing, procuring and implementing the right IT and facilities. They must also focus more than ever on controlling costs and conserving energy usage. The bottom line is they’re struggling to deploy a data centre—whether that means reconfiguring their existing one or creating a new one—that addresses every need.

Converged Infrastructure: Panduit’s Converged Infrastructure solution offers unique value to the market by delivering a comprehensive and reliable infrastructure framework that bridges the gap between the traditional Facility and IT stacks to ensure a seamless physical to logical convergence. Given the enormous expense of operating data centres, organisations must design and deploy an architecture that is built to meet future needs, requiring scalability to meet changing business demands and optimization of IT investments – delivering value throughout the data centre lifecycle. Panduit accelerates the design cycle, simplifies implementation, optimizes operations and improves total cost of ownership.

Fibre Solution Set: Panduit High Density Fibre Solutions help customers maximize and transform their data centre space to accommodate NextGen technologies and evolve within IoT and beyond to IoE. Creating the most agile, scalable, high performance system in the market. As a cohesive set, HD Flex™ 2.0, PanMPO™ and Signature Core™ solve in tandem: network performance, system reliability, energy efficiencies, seamless integration, space and savings, installation and uptime, and data transfer speed and migration to future demands.

Cooling Optimization and Thermal Solutions: The one-size-fits-all approach of just maintaining a constant temperature to keep data centres cool no longer a relevant solution with energy prices rising and capacity concerns become more prevalent. Panduit’s energy efficient cabinets and SynapSense® cooling optimization solution allow higher data centre set points and reduce cooling system energy consumption by up to 40%. From controlling small leaks, maintaining hot/cold air separation and deploying real-time monitoring and mapping of the data centre environment, ensures optimal energy efficiency and cooling energy savings across the operations.

Panduit Converged Physical Infrastructure solutions bridge the gap between traditional facility and IT stacks in the date centre:

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3. Describe how Panduit seeks to address some of the major data centre ‘pain points’, starting with the quest for energy efficiency?

The major pain points that Panduit has encountered at the data centres we visit are downtime and saving money via energy savings. Especially in colocation facilities, these two issues are top of mind and flow directly to the business’ bottom line. By far, the largest amount of operations budgets spent in the data centre is around cooling. Energy efficiency being the greatest opportunity for cost savings, Panduit often leads with SynapSense® Cooling Optimization solutions. SynapSense is a turn-key wireless monitoring and cooling control solution that uses intelligent software, leading edge wireless nodes, and professional services to gain real-time visibility into current data centre operating conditions.

Frequently our customers tell us that they want to save energy, and they site many reasons for that – being green, good corporate citizen, operations leadership in their industry. However, it boils down to saving money without putting your data centre at risk. That being the case, one can’t manage what one doesn’t measure. With Panduit’s SynapSense product the customer participates in our simple process: Assess, Instrument, Optimize, and Control. This product enables the customer to address both pain points – energy savings and risk management.

4. Moving on to Cloud computing

Customers have more choice and more demands placed upon them than ever before. These choices span desires to retain or expand their on-premise data centre foot print with a traditional, converged or hyper converged design; To move to a Hybird cloud deployment to providing flexibily for dynamic IT loads; Finally to move to the hyperscale public cloud to reduce capital investment. We can help navigate these choices and ensure our customers are able to meet their business objectives with a scalable, stable and efficient physical infrastructure for all these design options.

5. What is Panduit’s response to virtualisation and, more recently, the software-defined era?

Virtualization has been reliably deployed in the data centre for several years now and has migrated across the various platforms (compute, network and storage). Panduit has provided infrastructure solutions that allow customers to avoid shortened refresh cycles and retain their layer one investment for longer periods of time so they can better migrate their applications and maintain high performance levels for future applications. In regards to SDN, which has become another stable and beneficial data centre technology, Panduit offers a compelling solution that naturally complements the software side of SDN deployments. Specifically, the Panduit offering helps enable SDN solutions such as Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure or ACI.

Via our long standing relationship with Cisco, Panduit has created best practice reference documents and product solutions that enable customers to confidentially deploy their SDN architectures. This approach is different that some common SDN methodologies because this approach takes into consideration not just the software and management tools to architect applications, but it also includes the hardware and physical infrastructure that really provide an optimized operating environment since all of the necessary elements are designed, implemented and orchestrated comprehensively.

6. Infrastructure management must be key for your solutions?

Panduit’s SmartZone™ DCIM software product enables our customers to better manage their data centre infrastructure. Panduit uses a consultative approach to help the customer select the modules of the SmartZone solution that are right for them. We do not require the customer to purchase the whole system. We often see that customers are at different levels of readiness in their ability to take advantage of a DCIM system.

We divide the system in modules: asset, connectivity, cabinet access, power, and environmental. Many customers are prepared to implement only one of two of these modules, and return later to implement others. Our professional services team and certified partners work with the customer to determine which modules relieve the greatest pain points for the customer.

The SmartZone DCIM system combined with our other Panduit products lead to solutions for customers that not only help them save money, but enable them to better manage their data centres. For example, SmartZone DCIM connectivity combined with active PViQ fibre/copper patch panels helps customers manage their physical network without deploying someone to inventory capacity or troubleshoot changes. The SmartZone system notifies the user of any changes to or issues with physical connections on their network. With SmartZone asset management, this extends all the way to the IT equipment level, and enables moves, adds, and changes to be tracked automatically.

7. How is Panduit responding to the increasing focus on network architecture?

There is an increasing focus on the architecture of the network and that is due to the increase speed of the network. When the speed of the network increases, for example from 10G Ethernet to 50G Ethernet, the distance that one can span with the links is reduced. Additionally, one needs to consider the number of connectors in the link the faster the speed of the network. One needs to consider what the impact of these faster network speeds will have on their network architecture today, in order to have the architecture support several generations.

8. Are there difficulties in achieving integrated infrastructure within data centres?

Interoperability and speed of deployment are part and parcel to successful data centre deployment. When physical infrastructure components are brought together from numerous manufacturers, elements such as long lead time components and system inconsistency can quickly extend the time needed for live system functionality. Provision of a preconfigured solution mitigates this potential obstacle by assuring that elements ranging from base enclosures to intelligent monitoring systems arrive complete and are 100% tested prior to deployment.

Security and access control is another challenge that aligns well with integrated infrastructure. By taking that same preconfigured model and utilizing HID card or keypad access control as part of the solution, traditionally less secure colocation deployments are immediately protected right out of the box.

9. Panduit can’t ignore the mobility movement?

The mobility movement is certainly having an impact on enterprise networks. As an example, faster Wi-Fi access points require faster links to those wireless access points (WAP) from the telecom closet. This is driving the development of 2.5GBASE-T and 5GNASE-T which can be deployed over existing Cat 5e cabling infrastructure. Using 10GBASE-T links to support WAPs would require using CAT6A, which most existing enterprise have not deployed. The trend with new enterprise deployments is to deploy cabling that can accommodate the needs of faster WAPs.

10. And of course Big Data and IoT?

The impact that Big Data and IoT is having on networks, both in the enterprise and data centres, is essentially the same impact that the mobility movement is making. However, the difference with IoT is that data is being generated at the edge of the network. This is pushing the requirement for higher bandwidth out to the edge to accommodate IoT. Aggregating all of this data from IoT devices then drives up the need for faster networks in the data centre.

11. Do you think that the ‘average’ data centre manager is truly aware of the expectations being placed on data centre infrastructure as we head into the digital age?

We think that the average data centre manager is aware of the expectations, but may not be confident in their facility’s ability to meet them. For example, most average data centres are moving from 1G Ethernet to 10G. They have not had the experience with some of the issues and problems that occurs when moving to faster speeds and more complex architectures. That is why Panduit has been very proactive with educating our customers on what they could expect when they do move into the future.

12. And to where or who can data centre managers turn to try and understand the extent of this challenge?

Panduit offers a wide array of tools for data centre managers to help them work through all of the options and avoid pitfalls. These range from whitepapers, case studies, best practices, etc. We also offer products that help data centre managers such as preconfigured cabinets. We have a services team that consults with data centre managers to help them. We have recently opened a Customer Demonstration Centre at our Schwalbach, Germany, head office, to provide the capabilities to show customers how the latest infrastructure can positively impact data centre upgrades and new build capabilities.

13. Recently, Panduit held the 400G at Light Speed event – what is the company’s positioning when it comes to data centre networks?

The Impact the immense growth in data transmission required for Big Data and IoT (internet of things/everything) is having on the enterprise and data centre is unquestionable.

The rate of change in terms of data centre networks evolution is unprecedented – reflecting a rapidly changing world, where disruptive technologies and exponential data centre traffic growth is undeniably the new normal.

In terms of high speed data transport, as more data aggregates on each network circuit that circuit becomes more mission critical. Increasing value of data to its users is intensifying pressure on the data centre to reduce costly unplanned downtime and better prepare migration strategies to higher bandwidth infrastructure to cope with exponential growth.

Annual global IP traffic has passed a zettabyte (ZB) (1000 exabytes (EB)) and will reach 2.3 ZB per year by 2020*2. The number of internet connected devices will be more than 200 billion by 2020*1, whilst IP traffic in Western Europe will reach 28 EB per month by 2020*2. The most telling metric is machine to machine (East to West) data traffic – simply put, data transactions contained within the DC itself – forecast for growth at 44% CAGR 2015-2020*2

The cost of unplanned outages has massively increased over the past few years, the maximum cost per outage has more than doubled over six years from $1 million to $2.4 million*3, see Bar Chart 1. And 91-percent of data centres will experience unplanned down time during their first two years of operation*4. With 59-percent of downtime attributed to the physical layer*5, operators and owners can mitigate the risk of expensive outages through the right physical layer infrastructure choice.

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* Ponemon Institute, January 2016

Four fundamental aspects for data centre owners and operators to consider within this ever-increasing volume of data are:
1. improving up-time
2. beating the ‘bandwidth bottleneck’ – with a strong network migration strategy
3. reducing network latency
4. improving operational efficiency

Prepare for change or prepare to fail…Evolution has taught us that those more able and agile towards adapting to ‘change’ will succeed – the data centre is no exception.

As DC networks evolve and become more mission critical there has never been a better time to invest in a quality physical layer solution that is reliable, scaleable and migratable.

A solution that promotes performance certainly, headroom and uptime and one that can be easily adapted to address the next generation of high speed data transport needs holds the key to improving ROI and beating bandwidth bottlenecks.

*1 Intel Corp forecast 200bN connected devises. Unclear if this was also a Cisco forecast/quote/reference. I will let you (Simon) check and confirm information source.
*2 – Cisco Visual Network Index 2015-2020 – Executive Summary
*3 – Ponemon Institute – Cost of Data Centre Outages Jan 2016
*4 – Ponemon Institute
*5 – Gartner

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