What should I consider when planning our office’s IT relocation, to keep within budget and meet the deadlines?
How can I determine my company’s new office’s network and cabling needs?
At what point in the project should I contact the cabling contractors?
Will I receive an ‘As Built’ drawing?
What type of testing do you do? Do you provide certification reports?
How do I know if I run an efficient Data Centre?




Q: What should I consider when planning our office’s IT relocation, to keep within budget and meet the deadlines?

A: Good planning will help your relocation go smoothly and avoid unnecessary costs and lost productivity. An IT move is more complex than simply moving furniture from one place to another. The first step in IDC Solutions’ planning is to consider three essential things:

1. Your organisation’s current technology needs.
2. Your organisation’s future technology and infrastructure needs.
3. Your budget.

Assess your new location in detail. Will the network infrastructure of the previous tenants be sufficient for you? For example, if you work in multimedia you may need to rewire the entire office if you are taking it over from an administrative company that needed only minimal bandwidth.

Ask your property manager for a detailed property plan, showing voice and data network jacks, and electrical outlets. Alternatively, draw your own plan, being careful to measure rooms accurately and show the layout of the existing infrastructure. Mark any areas where you think there may not be enough power and network access. Use the plan to try different configurations of equipment, in consultation with your co-workers and staff. And use it to plan ahead – such as adding network wiring and access points to currently unused areas, so you are ready for future office expansion.

If you plan on keeping your servers at your office, make sure you have a suitable server room. Check that your servers will fit and that it has good independent air conditioning, i.e. a supply that won’t turn warm in Winter or that air conditioning can be installed. Will the room need more data drops and is there capacity for additional servers in the future?

When it comes to installing network and phone cables, involve your installers and network professionals as soon as possible. Your pre-planning will help you to communicate your needs, both now and in the future, so that you can take advantage of their expertise when it comes to planning the implementation. A few hiccups are part of every move, but with a solid plan in place, you will reduce the potential for problems – and you will be able to resolve any that do arise much more efficiently.

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Q:How can I determine my companies new office network and cabling needs?

A: Your current bandwidth needs, your network environment, your future bandwidth needs and your budget determine the type of cabling you need.

Your network’s bandwidth depends on the number of workstations connected to it, and the type and volume of the data they use. A small network of 8 workstations will usually need a much lower bandwidth than a network of 75 workstations. However, if those 8 workstations belong to a multimedia company where designs and videos are in regular use, they will demand more bandwidth than a similar-sized company principally using Word.

You can assess your network traffic using a network analyser like the Network Monitor utility built into Windows servers, or a product such as Ethereal (available free), Network General Fast Ethernet Sniffer, Cinco NetXRay, AG Group EtherPeek, Novell LANalyzer for Windows or Intel LANDesk Traffic Analyst. Whichever product you choose, be sure to assess data over several days, or weeks, and at different times of the day to get the most complete picture.

Once you have assessed your bandwidth, you need to examine your environment to decide on the most suitable type of cabling. Optical fibre offers the fastest bandwidth and “future proofing”, but is prone to transmission problems if it gets dirty or scratched, making it unsuitable in dirty or dusty environments. Twisted copper mediums like Cat5e or Cat6 are harder wearing, but can be susceptible to high RF (radio frequency) and EMI (electromagnetic interference), so they are not advised in environments where equipment will interfere with their operation, such as hospitals.

Don’t forget to consider your future bandwidth needs. Replacing your cabling is an expensive process, so allowing extra capacity at the start can save you a lot of money. Knowing about your company’s long-term aims will help you to make a realistic estimate. More employees mean more bandwidth. More bandwidth-hungry software and files means more again.

When you’re planning and managing your budget, always remember that with something as costly and important as IT, it really is vital to get it right first time. The wrong cabling or too limited a network will end up costing you more than if you spend a little extra to get it right in the first place.

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Q: At what point in the project should I contact the cabling contractors?

A: Planning your communications cabling should be done at the same time that you plan your electrical needs, construction changes, and modular furniture. IDC Solutions can assist you in the planning of your cabling infrastructure if we are brought into the loop early in the process.

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Q: Will I receive an ‘As Built’ drawing?

A: If we can obtain a current background, we can provide a CAD cabling floor-plan for an additional charge. We use the latest versions of AutoCAD and plot in color.

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Q: What type of testing do you do? Do you provide certification reports?

A: At IDC Solutions we scan every single cable we install, using the best scanners on the market (at present these are made by Fluke). We use specific Fluke tester heads to test fibre, cat5e, cat6, and cat6A cables. These scanners are regularly calibrated, and updated to ensure we are using the latest standards. For more in-depth fibre testing we use OTDRs. Certification reports are available on disk or in binder form.

Loading cabinets from bottom to top, and closing all the remaining spaces with blanking panels will make a big difference. IDC Solutions Eziblank® panels snap into and out of place, with no need for a screwdriver, making them fast to install and easy to move if you change your equipment layout.

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Q: How do I know if I run an efficient Data Centre?

A: Data Centre efficiencies can be analysed as a function of good initial design, ongoing management and requisite upgrading as required.

The main areas of a Data Centre’s inefficiencies can be summarised into 3 defined functions:

1) Floorspace

·         should be laid out to maximise current / future usage

·         access / security

·         effective access for cabling and power

2) Power

·         sufficient power for future needs without the need for large upgrades

·         adequate distribution points with sufficient capacity

3) Air Conditioning

·         correctly established rack loading with correct orientation with respect to front to back and hot / cold aisle

·         proper hot / cold aisle configuration

·         wastage of airflow within and escaping from racks

Effective measurement of the above factors will enable you to control costs and extend the life expectancy of your equipment.

By engaging World’s best practices with respect to initial design and installation of the Data Centre and following up with a continuing management and assessment regime can identify and resolve potentially costly and interruptive practices.

IDC Solutions have the capacity, experience and design capabilities to ensure your Data Centre starts off and remains an efficient structural component of your company.

With the use of IDC Solution’s audit process, you can quickly identify any significant areas of inefficiencies and undertake structured remedial action(s).

These actions might involve the introduction of IDC Solutions Integrated Data Centre management products ie pMon for power monitoring and Eziblank® for effective air-conditioning management within data racks. With the correct remedial design and implementation of audit identified deficiencies, the efficiency gains can be maximised for your product life cycles.

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