ISC   Information Support Concepts, Inc
A Certified Woman Owned Business Enterprise (WBE)

Issue 16

Publisher:  Jack Burlin                                Editor:  Patti Hammonds

October 5, 2006

IN THIS ISSUE
Your success story            Monthly product special            Kevinisms            Trivia         

Articles of Interest:  Rackmount Power Distribution Units and UL 60950-1            Part 16:  "When is a toilet like a salt shaker?"

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Your Success Story

"Jack Burlin of ISC was able to work with me to customize a rack solution which helped me save my company hundreds of dollars over the proprietary setup provided by our vendors."

 

Jerry R. Jones

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Technical Support Team

 

Monthly Product Special


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Information Support Concepts is introducing the Minuteman line of Power Distribution Units (PDUs) specifically designed to the latest UL 60950-1 certification.  This month's article explains why this UL listing is important to IT managers and data center managers.

 

Compare these PDU Features:
  • 19" rackmount
  • 15' cords
  • 1U or ZeroU configurations available
  • Certified to UL 60950-1 standards
  • 8 or 14 outlets for 15Amp 1U versions
  • 10 or 14 outlets for 20Amp 1U versions
  • Switchless design
  • Higher MTBF for higher reliability
  • Receptacles both front and rear
  • Higher number of outlets than comparable PDUs
  • NEMA receptacles and plugs for US standard systems
  • Black powder coat


Call 800-458-6255 for more information. 
Mention the October newsletter article for 5% off*!

*The 5% discount  will be applied to retail customers only, and cannot be combined with other offers. 
 Valid through October  31, 2006. 


Rackmount Power Distribution Units and UL 60950-1
by Gene Adams, Director of Business Development, Minuteman Power Technologies
 

Overview

 The intent of this document is to define UL-60950-1, and provide an overview of this standard as it applies to rackmount power distribution units (PDUs).  In addition the document will discuss the impact of products that may
or may not comply with this standard as they relate to end-user implementation.

 Introduction

 As data centers become more complex and as more companies invest millions of dollars into data center integrity and safety, the need for equipment that has been tested to applicable standards is widely recognized.  These standards ensure uptime, network and human safety.  Standards such as UL 60950-1 are beginning to make an impact on design and implementation of IT equipment in the data center, yet products are still widely available that have not been redesigned to be compliant with this standard or have not been tested to this standard.

 What is UL 60950-1?

 UL 60950-1 Information Technology Equipment - Safety - Part 1. This standard is applicable to mains-powered or battery-powered information technology equipment, including electrical business equipment and associated equipment.
(Click here to see the general overview of the specification.)

UL-60950-1 is a relatively new Underwriters Laboratory (UL) standard that applies to Information Technology Equipment installed and implemented in the data center. “Rackmount powerstrips", analogous to some as power distribution units (PDUs), fall into this category of equipment as defined by UL.  Potentially the most impacting piece
of the standard, as it applies to PDUs in relation to data center safety, is the branch circuit protection.  Branch circuit protection requires that all outlets and receptacles be protected by an Overcurrent Protection Device such as a
circuit breaker or fuse rated at or set at no more than the rating of the outlet or receptacle.  This allows for compliance with
the National Electric Code and engenders one of the main characteristics of differentiation between PDUs that comply with the standard vs.PDUs that may only be UL Recognized, comply with legacy standards, or may have no UL Certification.

 Why is UL-60950-1 important when implementing PDUs in data centers?

 It is important to note that non-UL certified PDUs, and PDUs that do not comply with applicable standards, may
work for specific applications and within certain environments.  However, it is equally important to understand that if approved branch circuit protection is not used within the data center environment, the following may happen:
 

  • Claims Payment: Fire or damage contributed to or created by a rackmount PDU that is not certified by an applicable agency in compliance with its intended use may be denied or reduced by the provider issuing
    property and/or casualty insurance.
  • Local Code Violations: Building inspectors who seek to enforce compliance of NEC codes and local or state civil codes may find PDUs that have not been designed to UL 60950-1 standards in violation of branch circuit protection safety requirements.
  • Insurance Risks: An organization that installs, sells, manufactures or distributes PDUs that do not meet UL 60950-1’s requirements for branch circuit protection and/or have not sought the appropriate listing to verify compliance may increase limitations of liability, may face reductions of coverage, may incur higher premiums or may face losing general liability insurance altogether.

 The Technicalities of UL 60950-1 

  • All products utilized for Information Technology Equipment, submitted for UL certification, must meet the standards of UL 60950-1.  PDUs fall into this classification.
  • PDUs certified to the standard & the National Electric Code (NEC) must have branch circuit protection for
    the receptacles.
  • The standard requires that all outlets and receptacles be protected by an Overcurrent Protection Device such
    as a circuit breaker of fuse rated at or set at no more than the rating of the outlet or receptacle.

The standard does not allow for the use of “supplementary" Overcurrent Protection Device for the branch circuit.  Supplementary Overcurrent Protection Device is defined as any
  • device not integrated into the PDU or upstream of the PDU, between the primary distribution panel and the PDU, that is intended to provide some type of overcurrent protection to multiple branch circuits.
  • The Overcurrent Protection Device such as a fuse or circuit breaker must be compliant with the NEC, ANSI/NFPA 70.
  • For PDUs with multiple branch circuits, an overload protection device such as an approved fuse or circuit breaker must reside inside the PDU for each branch circuit.
  • 30Amp PDUs must have a UL 489 breaker or a UL #248 fuse complying with JDDZ categorization.  This coupled with the need for individual branch circuit protection intrinsically adds more component cost to the
    PDU itself.

Why are many rack and enclosure manufacturers demanding that their ODM/OEM suppliers of PDUs now be compliant with UL 60950? 

In order to provide insight prior to developing an answer to this question, one must first understand the difference between UL recognized and UL Listed.  UL recognized is a component to be used in the construction of another product.  A UL Listed product is complete in its entirety and can be used by the purchaser.

An example of this may be the purchaser of an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) who examines the UPS and finds
a UL Listing Mark on the product indicating the product meets the standards outlined in UL 1778, Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPS). (Click here to see the general overview of the specification).

 The same customer may purchase another brand of UPS and after careful evaluation notice the unit does not have a UL Listing mark, however, recognizes the fan inside the unit and digital display have the UL Recognized Component marks.  The purchaser decides to contact the manufacturer to inquire about the safety of the product and the manufacturer claims that the product was built with UL Recognized components, therefore “must" meet the requirements to be UL Listed.  But this is not necessarily the case, because the UL Recognized component means the component alone meets the requirement for a specific, limited use.

This concept has impacted many data center enclosure manufacturers who have obtained and/or are seeking UL 60950-1 certification for their newest products.  In the ultra-competitive data center enclosure industry, many manufacturers are starting to differentiate by offering value-added services such as installing PDUs into the cabinet
prior to shipping, which benefits the customer by decreasing the mean time of installation.  Thus, if
installed in the unit prior to shipping, the PDU becomes part of the UL 60950-1 enclosure “system."

Herein lies the crux of the issue:  Does the enclosure now have to remove its UL Listed label if the PDU, that has been installed prior to shipment, is not UL 60950-1 Listed?  Arno Zandbergen, Product Manager for Great Lakes Case
and Cabinet believes so:

“We have spent considerable time and effort pursing and obtaining the most applicable data center safety standard for our enclosures, UL 60950-1.  We have discussed this with our UL liaisons and have been advised that installing PDUs without the associated UL 60950-1 listing would require the removal of the UL Listing sticker from the enclosure prior to shipment.  Not only does UL 60950-1 offer improvements in branch circuit protection that directly affects safety,
we believe our customers should be afforded the ability to know that the enclosure has obtained this standard by viewing the UL Listing mark.  We believe in providing the added value of installed PDUs and it would not make sense for us to offer anything other than a PDU that has obtained this listing.  Therefore, we now require and have obtained this certification for our entire PDU offering."

This demand by these enclosure producers may not only be based solely on the attraction to the extra branch circuit protection afforded by the standard, but may also be because the producers are desirous to be in complete compliance with UL and its guidelines at all times, regardless of local interpretation.

 Why aren’t many manufacturers offering power strips or PDUs with the UL-60950-1 certification? 

  • Cost – Redesign costs  may include new UL fees, potential case redesign, more costly component costs associated with branch circuit protection requirements, and the need to utilize UL 489 breakers are potentially viewed as decreasing product margins.
  • Market Awareness/Complexity – Many companies find it difficult to navigate through the maze of design and safety standards, therefore applicable certifications may not be pursued, may not be understood, and may not
    be required.
  • Timing – Many products may currently be undergoing development and testing to the standard, however, they may not be available for shipment to customers.

Summary and Availability 

The market is still flooded with PDUs that are UL Recognized Components and may only be compliant with UL 1363 or may have no certification at all.  Based upon safety requirements for branch circuit protection and potential
avoidance of liability, it may be prudent that UL 60950-1 PDUs be required.  Minuteman Power Systems, manufacturer of a variety of power technology products,  offers a full line of vertical, horizontal, amp-metered and
non-amp-metered PDUs in various amperages that are UL-60950-1 listed and provide the industry-leading “cost to features ratio."  

ISC distributes the entire Minuteman Power Systems product line of Uninterruptible
Power Supplies and Power Distribution Units.  Call 800-458-6255 for help
in selecting the correct product for your application.

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Kevinisms

A Kevinism is a funny or intriguing statement or idea from our Vice President of Sales, Kevin Hunt.  Kevin is a big fan of Sandra Bullock, Pizza Inn black olive pizza, and Dr. Pepper (not necessarily in that order).  He is not a big fan of Chinese food, seafood, or other types of "dead" stuff.

Kevin is an avowed vegetarian.  However, there are a large number of things you would expect vegetarians would love to eat, yet Kevin won't touch them.  Kevin actually divides his food into three groups:

  • Things that he likes and that are good for you
  • Things that he likes that are not good for you
  • Things that he does not like that are good for you

Kevin limits himself to one meal a day of the things he likes that are good for you.  I guess the rest of the time he has to eat things he does not like but that are good for you.  So this makes me wonder why he won't eat certain vegetables.

So far I have been able to develop a fairly large list of things that Kevin does not like:

  • Spinach
  • Beets
  • Lima Beans
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Cabbage

Kevin will eat these "under protest."  Yet Kevin has to eat things that are good for him that he does not like.  It seems to me everything on this list would qualify. 

Here are the things Kevin will not eat at all:

  • Tofu
  • Hominy
  • Turnips

Hominy is white corn, and Kevin really likes corn, so this one puzzles me.  He loves veggie burgers made out of all kinds of things, but has evidently had bad experiences with the Tofu version of either the veggie burger or the veggie hot dog.  I guess Tofu is one of those things that is so disgusting that even vegetarians won't eat it.  Who can blame them?  Turnips is questionable, since Kevin readily eats Okra, and I know from management training at General Dynamics that Okra is widely hated!

When Kevin orders the veggie plate at Cheddars, he gets the Broccoli, the Broccoli and Cheese Casserole, Corn (with Broccoli), Green Beans (with Broccoli) and Carrots (sometimes with Broccoli).  Yet he won't order the Broccoli with Broccoli.  It might confuse the waiter.

Kevin has a love-hate relationship with Onions.  They seem to be OK sometimes and horrible at other times.  Why he won't take the cheese enchiladas at El Chico with onions is beyond my comprehension.  You can't really taste them anyway.  Yet he will get onions on the weekly Pizza Inn pizza.

Kevin's problem with Spinach seems to stem from childhood memories of Popeye cartoons.  Kevin says "Spinach makes you strong, but it also makes you stupid.  If Popeye's regular diet of Spinach really enhanced his abilities, he should know to eat the Spinach first!  Yet Popeye always waits until he is just about dead before remembering the Spinach."  Also, I think Spinach has gotten a bad rap from Popeye.  It does not taste bad, but Kevin seems to think it does.  He has convinced himself, and therefore won't eat it.  The recent problem with E-Coli contaminated spinach has just increased Kevin's diatribe against the hapless vegetable.  It is not the fault of the spinach that it got contaminated. I am sure once the outbreak is over, that spinach will rebound with a vengeance. Then Kevin better be on the lookout.

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Trivia Question

Here is a question from the glory days of rock and roll.

Q:  Who sang "The man who shot Liberty Valance?

All correct answers will be placed into a pool for a random drawing at the end of the month.  The winner will receive a free 25 foot reel of reusable velcro cable ties (part number MD88-25RLBK), plus free ground shipping.  Send your answers to: 
Jack Burlin

See next month's newsletter for the winner and the correct answer.

Answer from September's Newsletter.

Q:  What were the names of the two ghosts (man and wife) who were only seen by Topper (played by Leo G. Carroll) on the Topper TV show? 

 A:  The ghostly couple haunting Cosmo Topper were George and Marion Kirby.

There was no winner this month. Only company employees came up with the correct answer.
 

 

When is a toilet

 like a salt shaker?

 

Part 16  Continued from September

     Since the October 2005 issue the following personality types have been defined:
 

The men who prefer the toilet seat up are: Macho Men
The women who prefer the toilet seat up are: Fairy Godmothers
The men who prefer the toilet seat down are: Men of Leisure
The women who prefer the toilet seat down are: Queens of the Realm
The men who prefer the lid down are: Paleolithic Men
The women who prefer the lid down are: Interior Decorators
The men who have no preference are: Philosopher Kings
The women who have no preference are: Warrior Princesses


     In the July issue, we used the chart below to address the conflicts that can arise when different personalities interact within the same household.  Conflict is inevitable when multiple personalities interact, although the level of conflict differs depending on which of the four types of men are interacting with which of the four types of women.  We have already gone over the intersections where no conflict exists (NC).  This month we are going to cover the instances of possible conflict, represented below by the + OR - symbol.

  Macho Man Man of Leisure Paleolithic Man Philosopher King
     Fairy Godmother NC + OR - + OR - + OR -
     Queen of the Realm ++ NC + +
     Interior Decorator ++ + OR - ++ +
     Warrior Princess NC NC NC NC

     Here is what the symbols in the above grid represent:

     NC = no conflict,     + OR - = possible conflict,     + = minor conflict,     ++ = major conflict
 

     Conflict Analysis - Major Conflicts

     There are three areas of major conflict.  Of the three, the most surprising is that the Interior Decorator has a major conflict with the Paleolithic Man.  The thing that makes this unusual is the fact that both like the toilet lid down.  However, since their are significant differences in the "secondary" uses of the toilet, and how each person views the role of the toilet in these secondary uses, this is the source of conflict between the Interior Decorator and the Paleolithic Man.  The other two areas of conflict revolve around the Macho Man.

     Interior Decorator and Paleolithic Man

     If you think about it, these two types are about as close to polar opposites as possible.  The Paleolithic Man can be imagined to be existing in the forest, never bathing, eating roots, berries, and any small animals he is able to kill.  As a rudimentary tool user, utility and functionality are his keys to survival.  The Interior Decorator lives be surrounded by beauty.  She needs to have everything perfectly placed, spotlessly clean, and looking beautiful.  Utility and functionality are secondary (and maybe even less important than that).  So the two types have radically different views of how the toilet should be used, and what the local "toilet environment" should look like.  This is typically what sparks arguments between the Paleolithic Man and the Interior Decorator.  He uses the toilet as a tool/stool/step ladder, and she cannot stand the fact that he is messing up her "decor." 

     Interior Decorator and Macho Man

     The Interior Decorator goes to a lot of effort to ensure the toilet environment is beautiful.  Part of the effort involves actually decorating the toilet, and frequently the toiled lid.  Sometimes the toilet lid is a special design, being carved wood, embroidered vinyl, or some other special material.  If the toilet lid itself is not "special," then the Interior Decorator takes pains to make sure it is appropriately covered.  The covering can be like a shag rug material, or a lace material, or something equally "decorative."  What sparks the anger of the Interior Decorator is when the Macho Man leaves the toilet seat up and destroys all her hard work.  Who wants to see the toilet with the seat up?

     Queen of the Realm and Macho Man

     Here is the cauldron that creates the ultimate toilet seat argument.  Here in its rawest form is the source of conflict between many, many men and women.  This is the quintessential argument that has existed from the time toilets evolved seats, and will probably exist for all time.  The Queen of the Realm wants the toilet seat down, and the Macho Man wants the toilet seat up.  This seemingly small difference is in fact a huge chasm, and is great enough to spark heated arguments that are never resolved.  As long as neither side budges, there will always be a conflict.

Continued next month with steps towards conflict resolution.
 

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ISC, Information Support Concepts, Inc. offers an Extensive Selection of Quality 19

ISC, Information Support Concepts, Inc. offers an Extensive Selection of Quality 19" and 23" Rackmount Enclosure Computer Racks, Server Cabinets, Server Racks, 2-Post and 4-Post Racks, LAN Racks, Portable Racks, Power, Rackmount LCD TFT Monitor Keyboards, Accessories and Much More for IT-Network-Telecom Professionals.