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

Issue 37

Publisher:  Jack Burlin                                Editor:  Lori Schriver

July 3, 2008

IN THIS ISSUE
Your success story            Monthly featured product            Kevinisms            Trivia         

Articles of Interest: Buying an Effective Monitoring System                      Attention!!

Back to ISC Main Page
 

Your Success Story

To: Lori Schriver

Subject: orders

Hello,

I just wanted to say how happy I have been in dealing with your company, easy to order, prompt delivery and no problems at all....will be back again and will happily recommend your company to others.

Thanks!

Cheers,

Michael Hennig
 

Monthly Featured Product

 

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Information Support Concepts (ISC) has discontinued the monthly product special. Since we are now running weekly specials with much deeper discounts, it made sense for the monthly special to be replaced.  We will now have a featured product each month, and direct our customers back to the weekly special for discounted items.

You can click on this link to see the current weekly product special! 

Being summertime, this month we discuss one of our newest product lines that is now shown online.

ISC is a dealer for the Cool Cube modular air conditioner.  The Cool Cube provides up to 10,000BTU/hour spot cooling, or can be the permanent air conditioning unit for a room, a row, or an individual rack.  Common accessories to make the Cool Cube perfect for your application include the wheels, rackmount kit, handles, stacking kit, heat rejection package, and other components.

As always, ISC personnel are ready to answer your questions, and can confirm what product will work for your specific application. If you have a question, just call us at 800-458-6255.

 

Buying an Effective
Monitoring System

by Curt Harler

February 8, 2008 • Vol.30 Issue 6

Popular wisdom says not to put all your eggs in one basket. However, most data centers do have all of their computing resources in one place. So it’s best to keep a close eye on that basket. Buying good monitoring equipment allows small to midsized enterprises to do just that.

“If you are in the market for data center monitoring gear, there are differing levels of equipment that must be addressed," says Mike Stout, vice president of engineering at Falcon Electric (www.falconups.com). “The best use of these monitors is for critical or problematic locations."

What should you keep in mind as you’re looking to purchase a monitoring system? We spoke to some experts to find out.

Simplicity Is Key

When an SME wants to purchase data center monitors, it should look for something simple to implement and use, says Brad Wilson, chief technical director with Geist Manufacturing (www.geistmfg.com). “SMEs may not have the personnel to spare for someone to learn a complex monitoring system," he says. “Products should be plug-and-play. Software should be embedded in the unit with nothing external to load." He adds, “Look for products that are affordable and without expensive service contracts."

Wilson points to Geist’s RacSense Environmental RSMINI163 unit as one example of an environmental monitor that’s easy to implement. It offers 16 sensor ports for temperature, airflow, and humidity sensors and a trio of I/O ports for door, water, and contact closure sensing. “These units are simple to set up, easy to use, and very reasonably priced," he adds. The products run on any Web software (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) with no external software.

Greg Ratcliff, marketing manager for Liebert Monitoring (www.liebert.com), recommends using the software system offered by your vendor, whichever company that is. “If you use a particular vendor’s products, then use their software," he says.

Ratcliff recommends Liebert’s Nform 2.0 for Liebert customers. It is a classic SNMP manager, fully integrated into cooling, power, and distribution. Its dashboard gives IT managers a snapshot of all of their IT support systems.

Start With Temperature

Wilson says that temperature sensing is the place to start when considering a monitoring system. “Temperature is the No. 1 killer of IT equipment," he says, adding that it’s not enough just to monitor general data center temperatures. “Each cabinet and each AC unit should be individually monitored."

“Cabinet monitoring ensures early notification of critical cabinet temperatures. Early warning of rising temperatures can save equipment," Wilson notes. “Additionally, monitoring the ins and outs of AC equipment not only tells you the AC is working, but by using trend data, you can determine if preventative maintenance is needed."

By The Numbers

As you’re buying monitoring equipment, a good rule of thumb is to spend in the range of 8 to 10% of the value of the equipment being monitored. Two factors come into play: the value of the equipment (and what it runs) and the pain threshold of the budget.

Another suggestion is to get started by using affordable equipment to monitor data in as many places as possible. Like a good physical checkup, the ROI of monitors often is in “soft" dollars—horrific situations prevented.

“Problems can occur at many points within the data center, and creating a mesh of sensors allows not only early detection, but trend data over time can point to growing issues that may not otherwise be obvious," Wilson says. To increase ROI, he recommends equipment that can be monitored by central console software so aggregate views from all units give the big picture at a glance. “Monitoring software needn’t be expensive to do the job. It needs to be effective at gathering pertinent data and delivering warnings and alarms with as little latency as possible," he says.

Ratcliff says it costs no more to use the data gathered by monitoring software. “When you see trends, you don’t have to react to emergencies. You can predict needs ahead of time," he says. “Monitors can’t be the end of the line for the data they collect." He warns against buying a product that manages everything but will not export data to other systems.

Make It Manageable

SNMP-enabled hardware devices automatically notify an IP-specific remote computer or workstation of hardware failures, critical warnings, and alarms using a “traps" feature, so keep those options in mind when buying a system. Network management software, such as HP OpenView (www.hp.com) or IBM NetView (www.ibm.com), is available to manage any SNMP-enabled hardware from any remote computer. This is accomplished by installing a hardware-specific, industry-standard interface software called the MIB (management information base) into the network management software.

RFC-standard MIBs are available for most hardware. Committees consisting of the manufacturers from each device industry developed them. Printer MIBs are specific to printers, UPS MIBs are specific to UPS systems, etc., Stout says. Other software products, such as CA’s Unicenter (www.ca.com), facilitate more advanced hardware management and monitoring, even providing remote management and monitoring capabilities at the operating system level, whatever the operating system type.

“Using these tools, the hardware composing the data center infrastructure can be monitored and managed from a single central location, drastically reducing the overall management costs," Stout says. Companies with multiple sites can monitor most of the hardware located at corporate IT and data center installations throughout the world from one spot at corporate headquarters.

Ratcliff says lower-end operations will use SNMP, midsized operations (10 to 50 racks) will usually integrate with a building management system, and the largest sites (100-plus racks, a 5,000-square foot room, and dual-bus systems) will have independent monitoring.

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, The Washington Redskins, and Dr. Pepper (not necessarily in that order).  He is not a big fan of Chinese food, seafood, or other types of "dead" stuff.

Since our move to Mansfield, Kevin has had to finally give up his weekly visit to Pizza Inn.  The one in Arlington is just too far away to visit during lunch.  There are other pizza places close by, and the one we have settled on is called Double Dave's.

Robin likes Double Dave's much better than Pizza Inn, because they have a much larger variety, a nice salad bar, and are more than willing to do any kind of pizza required.  Kevin always has them make a thin crust black olive pizza, but Robin branches out with the Alfredo pizza (white sauce and cheese) and maybe an all vegetable pizza.  Of course Double Dave's has Dr. Pepper as this is a serious prerequisite, although Robin has been known to try the Barq's Root Beer.

Kevin says if Pizza Inn is a ten, then Double Dave's is a 7.5 or 8.  Everyone else thinks if Double Dave's is a 7.5 or 8, then Pizza Inn is a 4.

We all enjoy going to Double Dave's on Monday, but the constant whining from Kevin about it not being in the same league as Pizza Inn is getting annoying.

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Trivia Question

Here is a question from classic television.

Q:  Can you name all seven of the original "not ready for prime time players?"    

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 laptop cooler, plus free ground shipping. Send your answers to: Jack Burlin

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

Answer from June's Newsletter.

Q:  Where is this statue and what is it called?

 

A:  This is the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro.  The site is the mountain called Corcovado, and the statue is called Cristo o Redentor (Christ the Redeemer).  You can see Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf mountain) across the bay.

The winner was Michael Kies.  Congratulations!

 

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Don't put your hardware in danger!
Call the Rackmount Ranger!
800-458-6255.
 

 

 

                                                                              Attention!!
 

 

In Undergraduate Pilot Training, there are basically three phases of instruction.  The first is all accomplished during the first few weeks, and covers things like survival training, parachute training, altitude chamber training, spatial disorientation training, etc.  During this period, you cover all the things you need to know before you start flying.

The second phase is the T-37 trainer.  At least it was during my era, which was 1973.  The T-37 (see below), which  may have long been phased out by now,  was where you learned to fly a jet aircraft, and develop basic pilot skills.   You also had to learn how to enter, and recover from, the dreaded “spin" maneuver.  The third phase was the T-38, which was the pressurized, supersonic, high performance jet trainer. 

When you got to the T-38, everyone assumed you knew how to fly.  The instructors still did not treat you with a lot of respect, but things were significantly better than in the T-37 phase.

In the T-37, there were lots of techniques the instructors would use to punish poor performance.  Some of these were additional duties related to the operation of the squadron.  Things like working in the snack bar, manning the phone (dispatch duty), helping the scheduler (posting missions on the board), or working at the Runway Supervisory Unit (RSU).  In our flight, which was called Raindance, they also had the wheel of misfortune and the Doofer book. 

The wheel of misfortune was like the wheel of fortune in Las Vegas.  It hung on the wall and you spun it.  It was divided into sections and depending on the section the pointer landed on, you would get to perform certain actions.  There were about sixty sections in all, and the wheel was probably about 4 feet in diameter.  A couple of these sections were “get out of jail free,"  where if you landed on them with your spin, you were absolved, and any punishment being contemplated by the instructors was waived.  Other sections had things like “dispatch x 5," which meant you had dispatch duty for five days in one week.  There were other, equally repulsive things you could get with your spin.  You usually had to spin the wheel if you screwed up in the flight room, on a mission, or just in general.

The Doofer Book was a large journal in the flight room.  Anyone could write anything they wanted in the Doofer Book, but it had to be marginally humorous, or instructive, or both.  The instructors would write the accounts of particularly stupid mistakes in airmanship or judgment, or anything else if they thought it met the criteria.

There were three classes going through T-37 training at any one time.  There were four classes going through T-38s, and usually one class in the very first phase of training.  The freshman (youngest) class in each phase always had the worst station times, and the worst duties.  Each class was divided into two sections, and the sections alternated weeks as either the early section (morning flights) or the afternoon section.  The other, non-flying portion of the day was dedicated to academics, physical training, study, etc.

As the freshman class in both T-37s and T-38s, you had to man the snack bar in the squadron building.   You also had the worst hours.

When I was part of the freshman class in T-37s, we usually had to arrive to work very early in the morning.  There was one week in particular where you had to be in the squadron for the morning briefing at 3AM.  The sun came up before 6AM, and the first flights took off just after sunrise.

Another tradition you need to know about to fully appreciate this story is calling the room, or building to attention.  When a senior officer (usually Major or above) enters the room, the first person to recognize the fact calls the room to attention.  The phrase used, and spoken loudly so everyone can hear it above the general chatter is, “Flight, Ten-Hut!" or possibly “Room, Ten-Hut!"  In addition, when the Squadron Commander or Wing Commander came into the squadron building, the whole building was called to attention.  However, this only truly affected the people in close proximity to the door.

Flights were called to attention in the morning when the Flight Commander and other instructors entered the room to begin the morning briefing.  Throughout the day, as other senior officers entered the room, we were all called to attention.  It was usually the dispatch officer’s job to call the room to attention, since he sat at the phone right beside the entry door to the flight room

One morning while we were on the 3AM shift, many of us were finding it very hard to stay awake.  The huge swing in schedules made it tough to get to sleep early enough to be really rested when you had to be at work at 3AM.  So when not flying, trying to read manuals or study for a test posed problems in staying awake.  One of my fellow students was having a particularly rough time.

This guy’s name was Jim Stalke.  He sat at a table with another friend named Gary Poole.  These two guys became best friends, roommates, and liked to play practical jokes on each other.  On this particular morning, Gary came in from his flight and found Jim with his head down on his desk.  This was about 7:30AM.  The first flights were just returning, and there would be about an hour of debriefing before the instructors were available to start briefing the second round of the day’s flights.  Seeing Jim resting, Gary got up very close to him.  He was able to tell he was sleeping, and thought it would be funny to startle him awake.  So Gary leaned over close to Jim’s ear and quietly whispered, “Flight, Ten-Hut!"  However, Jim did not wake up.  So Gary repeated the process but a little bit louder - still without the desired result.  So then Gary got loud, and right in Jim’s ear yelled, “Flight, Ten-Hut!"  Finally the desired affect was achieved!  However, as Gary was laughing at Jim who had shot straight up to attention, he looked around the room.  Naturally, everyone else – students, instructors, the Flight Commander, and anyone else within ear shot, was standing at attention too.

I think Gary had to spin the wheel of misfortune quite a few times to atone for calling the room to attention for no apparent reason.

 Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter. 
Please direct your comments to Jack Burlin.

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      T-37 with minimal paint (like I flew in) from 1973 (Above)

  T-37 with the mostly all white paint scheme from 1975 and later

 

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ISC   Information Support Concepts, Inc