Panduit Gets Physical with Data Centers, Enterprise Networks and Industrial Applications

Cover Story

Panduit Gets Physical with Data Centers, Enterprise Networks and Industrial Applications

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  February 04, 2013

The article originally appeared in the Jan./Feb. edition of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

Data centers and enterprise networks have become the center of the universe for many organizations in recent years. Ethernet-based communication has even made its way onto the factory floor. To help businesses and their partners efficiently house, interconnect, organize, power, and secure the gear that enables communications within data centers, enterprise networks, and at industrial plants, Panduit provides a broad array of solutions.  

The 55-year-old, privately held company got its start providing electrical products for routing, termination and organization of physical assets, explains Panduit CTO Jack Tison. Years later, when Ethernet moved into the mainstream and token ring started to fade, Panduit expanded its portfolio to address Ethernet enterprise networking products. Since then, the company has worked to apply its product set to a broader range of applications involving Ethernet and to address the ever-growing transmission speeds required by today’s communications.

Panduit understands that today’s economic climate requires businesses to be flexible and scalable. But being able to address real-world changes or challenges in a quick and efficient manner can be problematic if the physical infrastructure runs on different systems that operate in silos.

That’s why Panduit developed the Unified Physical Infrastructure, or UPI, approach.

The UPI approach takes typically disparate and segregated systems — communication, computing, control, power, and security — and aligns them into a single, agile unified physical infrastructure that minimizes risk, increases flexibility and delivers maximum performance throughout the network—and the business.

The solutions portfolio that Panduit provides is extensive, with offerings for data center, enterprise, and industrial applications. A wide range of Panduit product systems support these solutions, including cabinets, racks and cable management; fiber optic systems; copper transmission systems; electrical solutions; grounding systems; outlet systems; overhead/under floor cable routing; physical infrastructure management; power over Ethernet gear; power and environmental management solutions; safety and security products; surface raceway systems; terminals; toolkits; wiring duct; zone cabling systems; and more.

To help enterprise customers quickly and easily address data center best practices, Panduit has partnered with leading technology providers such as Cisco (News - Alert) Systems, EMC, and VMware to deliver pre-configured solutions, which Tison calls the most highly engineered private cloud infrastructure offerings on the market. The various pre-configured solutions include compute, storage and networking infrastructure managed by a single orchestration platform – in a prepackaged format that can consist of a single or multiple cabinets.

“The breadth of our products is what allows us to understand the application a lot more in depth and much more broadly,” says Tison, adding that Panduit was able to put together the cabling, containment and interconnect portion of pre-configured solutions entirely from the company’s own products and in a way that could scale.

Panduit is doing something similar in the industrial sector.

In collaboration with Rockwell Automation (News - Alert), which is the largest company in the world dedicated to industrial automation, Panduit has designed a pre-configured Micro Data Center (or MDC) to enable rapid installation of industrial-grade switching, server functionality, storage and a demilitarized zone (which offers integrated communications between a business’s enterprise network and plant floor, while keeping data on both separate and secure).

Panduit and Rockwell Automation also recently demonstrated an upcoming solution based on Augmented Reality technology, which allows a user to point a camera-enabled device at a control panel to get readings on temperature, network traffic and other parameters from the gear inside the unit. This solution is slated for general availability toward the middle of 2013.

On the software front, Panduit is focused on providing businesses with solutions to allow for better visibility, asset management, efficiency and power management. Panduit’s first software-based solution enables organizations to manage and authorize moves-and-changes related to physical interconnects remotely from a terminal.

More recently, Panduit has expanded into power management, so its customers no longer have to over-provision power and cooling. The August acquisition of Unite Technologies Ltd. helped further Panduit’s power management strategy. Now Panduit delivers software tools to enable customers to do centralized tracking of IT infrastructure assets on a single platform; get power consumption and energy management reporting; see proactive capacity trend analysis; gain insight into capacity limitations and stranded capacity; conduct access control, security and environmental monitoring; process documentation of IT assets, moves, adds, and changes; get visibility into under-utilized assets and resources and unauthorized patch field changes; perform root cause analysis of physical network problems; and achieve interoperability and integration with leading network, storage and power systems.

This data center power management space, known as data center infrastructure management, recently has become an important industry area of interest. Research and consulting firm MarketsandMarkets forecasts that the DCIM space will grow from $307 million in 2011 to $3.14 billion in 2017 as the global push for energy efficient data centers expands.

The connective thread that runs through many of Panduit’s solutions addresses the fact that real estate is pricey, as is the cost to power equipment. So Panduit provides solutions that help customers make the most efficient use of the space and power in the data center and throughout the enterprise.

In fact, Panduit offers assessment and advisory services to help organizations get a better handle on their current physical infrastructure assets and how they can more closely align them with industry best practices for more efficiency and better reliability. Panduit points out that requirements related to physical infrastructure concerns such as thermal management, power, telecommunications bonding, space utilization, cabling and cable management frequently change over time in light of company and technological consolidation, the introduction of new technologies like 40GBase-T and virtualization, and other factors.

Another connective thread that runs throughout Panduit, says Tison, has to do with the high performance and high-quality solutions it offers. Organizations can purchase and deploy Panduit solutions with “absolute confidence” – regardless of the size of the project or global location, he says. Panduit’s global value chain combines manufacturing, distribution, technical support, and service in order to streamline procurement and delivery, as well as to ensure a consistently high level of quality and customer service worldwide.

“Our founder was an electrical engineer, and he set very, very high expectations for the company and for each person employed,” says Tison, referring to Jack Caveney Sr. “His rigorous approach and his demand for the best-performing products at the highest quality level – we carry that forward today.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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