Preconfigured, DCIM, cloud ready, virtual, modular … these buzzwords aren’t bad, but they aren’t always used truthfully.
To be seen as part of the “in crowd” (or sometimes just to sound smart), people use these terms or spout them off in long sentences without knowing what they’re really promising.
As with any industry, in the data center world, all companies are not created equal – and neither are their products, unfortunately. That can make it difficult for data center managers to conduct real research and separate the best solutions from those that are trying to fake it by using the right language and buzzwords in their marketing.
With some manufacturers concerned about selling you on ideas the market has created – by developing solutions to problems that aren’t real, or repackaging products and saying they’re “new solutions” – it’s smart to formulate criteria to use when doing your due diligence.
Buying data center products shouldn’t require you to guess where your data center might be in five or 10 years. Or necessitate a magic crystal ball that tells you what new technology you’ll be using. Instead, data center solutions should truly be flexible. Scalability is all the rage right now, but what does that phrase really mean to you?
For example, having to replace not just a component, but a whole system, to change from Base12 to Base8 fiber shouldn’t be considered scalable. But some manufacturers may lead you to believe that it is. If you’re running Base12 connectivity and want to get on board with Base8, some companies offer a solution that involves only a single part that needs to be changed instead of having to tear out all your fiber hardware, cables and patch panels – you simply change out one part of a patch panel and you’re done. That is true scalability without requiring a big time or financial commitment.
As Henry Ford famously said, “You can have any color you want – as long as it’s black.” To make the Model T car as affordable and reliable as possible, he limited production variation. Henry Ford cut costs by using a type of quick-drying paint that was only available in black back then, allowing for faster assembly.
Statements like this hold true in the data center world as well. When manufacturers can’t support solutions that solve your specific problems, they don’t offer true customization. They may use the phrase, but you basically get the same package as everyone else. Taking the time to manage real problem-solving, and working with data center managers to understand underlying business goals and the pressing issues that must be addressed – that’s true customization.
Another clue that you’re working with a data center pretender instead of a data center contender: The manufacturer can talk all day long about the products it offers, but struggles to tie them back to how their products will help you improve business by reducing operating costs, increasing efficiency, improving availability, enhancing security or supporting the latest technology.
You don’t want to settle on a data center product just because it’s the only thing available from a particular provider – for example, you want a patch cord that will not only connect one electronic or optical device to another for signal routing, but also one that saves you time and reduces downtime by helping you quickly find patch cord connections within densely populated patching areas. A solution like this isn’t just a product – it helps you solve a problem that may result in time waste and poor availability.
Data center contenders don’t make excuses or exceptions. Belden provides Data Center Ready solution sets that are assembled and pre-built to your spec, packaged and delivered to your site – well-labeled and under a single part number.
Belden also takes time to truly understand what your business faces when implementing a data center – not just in the data center space itself, but also its impact on the overall business. We have outlined 10 steps to achieving holistic data center design that take into account all business requirements, technology innovations, and energy and operational savings while identifying and eliminating ineffective decisions and operational waste.
What are your thoughts? Have you been burned by a data center pretender before? Leave a comment and let us know what happened!
Mike Peterson joined Belden from 2014 to 2016. As the technology and applications manager, Mike monitored major industry technology activities and kept tabs on up-and-coming data center trends. He was also instrumental in developing relationships with industry standards organizations and trade alliances.