How We Do More with Less at Eaton

You're short on time and resources. Yet you're being asked to do more than ever. We're here to help with the information, advice and high-efficiency IT solutions you need.

Battle of the growth budget

Every successful small business on the planet has change in common. Expansion is a blessing… and a curse. It’s great that the company’s doing so well, but growth also means your IT department will need to negotiate for more equipment to scale with the business. Get ready to rumble. When it comes to lobbying for more budget, it never hurts to be the smartest IT guy or gal in the room. The more you know about power planning and the return on investment from that planning, the better you’ll position yourself for upcoming change while reducing risk.
Bring core knowledge to the table during the battle of the budget.
Identify your current power consumption requirements.

Add up all your equipment that’s consuming power in your environment on a per-rack basis.

When planning, focus on ROI.

IT investment isn’t a given so present the business case. Calculate cost of downtime for your business.

Underutilized zombie servers needlessly consume power.

Review the efficiency of the IT environment to make sure servers are provisioned efficiently. Consider consolidation versus growth based on today’s virtualized environments to determine if it’s time for an upgrade.

Analyze your growth projections.

Over the next three to five years stay in the know about upcoming changes and if you’ll need to refresh or add to your IT equipment.

Be sure your electrical infrastructure supports growth.

Additional electrical wiring or rewiring of current outlets might be required.

Have an onsite power review to walkthrough your environment.

Analyze current strategies and do a SWOT analysis.

Deploy properly sized UPSs and rack PDUs.

This is based on electrical infrastructure capability and IT power requirements. More than four smaller UPS systems in a room? It might be time to consolidate into a larger, more efficient centralized power management solution. Also, evaluate what type of rack PDUs may be required for power distribution.

Look at scalable offerings.

You may want to grow even more in the future.

Identify the proper power management software that’s required.

If you’re managing multiple environments, locations and pieces of equipment, you’ll want to communicate with your UPS and rack PDU equipment 24/7/365.

Integrate power into your virtualized environment.

Know what’s going on with power and act if something goes awry. When evaluating your power management software options, consider how each integrates with your hypervisor to automate VM migration, safe shutdown and reboot. This will save you some time when a power interruption occurs.

Don’t forget a robust disaster recovery plan.

Power outages, severe weather and human error events happen so it’s important to consider these events upfront, test the plan and optimize it as you grow and change.

Put a lifecycle management plan in place.

Doing so helps to prepare for expenses and reduce unnecessary costs. Setting up a redundant infrastructure and staggering replacements help balance your budget.

A new build, AKA, the new kid in town.
Unexpected growth: AKA, it's about to get crowded.
Infrastructure updates: AKA, let's turn it up a notch.
A new build: AKA, the new kid in town.
Let's say you're new to the company or maybe to the workforce altogether. Here's what you need to know to get the IT department off the ground.
  1. Understanding the business needs.

    Sit with the leadership team (if there is no CIO or CEO) and other senior leadership to understand what it will take for the company to succeed. Discuss current and future needs based on growth projections.

    Identify the budget and define IT infrastructure build outs. Go beyond upfront costs – consider an on-going budget and plan that includes disaster recovery, maintenance and upgrades.

    -What installation and warranty services do you need? It's important to get it done right the first time.

    -Don't forget to register your hardware and document warranties.

  2. Look to innovate

    Consult with colleagues and look online to Spiceworks, the r/sysadmin Subreddit and TechTarget community forums, among others. Events and trade shows like Cisco Live! and VMworld can also keep you in the know, and there may be local events (possibly free!) for peers in your area as well.

    With a firm grasp on your IT equipment builds, measure power consumption of the individual components and determine the best way to power them.

    Ask yourself how you will monitor ongoing power needs and power trends. With a new build, eyes will likely be on you to keep costs down. Power management software, for example, can help you watch and receive notifications from afar about costly power consumption and unsafe temperatures in your racks.

    Inspect your building’s electrical infrastructure to make sure it supports your growth rate. You may determine that additional electrical wiring or rewiring of outlets is required.

    Are you (and your team if you’re lucky enough to have one) able to handle this totally in-house? There may be a local Managed Service Provider that can act as an extension of your team and provide procurement, installation and ongoing reporting.

Unexpected growth: AKA, it’s about to get crowded.
The company’s growing like gangbusters and there’s an acquisition around the corner.

Here’s how to integrate an acquired company’s IT infrastructure with yours.

Start by identifying growth requirements and form an integration plan knowing what led to growth (acquisition, new product, sales force expansion, etc.) can help you plan for additional growth in the future.

Have your power needs changed? Perhaps you need a larger UPS and more runtime, which then may affect the equipment connected to it. Or, perhaps you now have more equipment than necessary and have an opportunity to reduce footprint.

This event may have been unexpected, but you can prevent surprises in the future via ongoing monitoring. Power management software and other IT software allows you to remotely manage your equipment so you don’t have to leave one building to tend to a UPS issue in another.

Meet with stakeholders to review the implementation plan and determine if on- or off-premise IT services are best. Consider leveraging a Managed Service Provider or farming out your IT to colocation or shared data center providers. (Short- or long-term based on requirements).

Based on your on- or off-premise decision, review the resiliency plan of the colocation and determine SLA to ensure an always-on infrastructure.

While time may be of the essence, make sure your decisions take the future into account. Document everything and stay organized.

Infrastructure updates: AKA, let’s turn it up a notch.
Out with the old, in with the innovative.

Here’s how to implement a five-year IT infrastructure refresh plan.

Know your top infrastructure pain points. Identify the low-hanging fruit – the improvements you implement first with your available budget.

Meet with key stakeholders to understand the growth plan and phases of implementation.

Set the electrical infrastructure groundwork to be sure you have enough power to run your environment effectively. Switches and server power consumption are power hungry, and that hunger is sure to grow.

  1. What hardware refreshes do you need?
  2. Are your batteries over three years old?
  3. Have they been properly stored?
  4. Is your equipment under warranty?

If you don’t know when equipment was installed or the details about its previous usage consider an onsite power review.

Remember, newer UPSs have more advanced connectivity and management capabilities. If yours is a modern UPS, you should leverage software to add significant value to your hardware investment.

If you feel pain during this update, consider service contracts for IT equipment. If your UPS is 5kVA or above, we recommend a service plan. If not, make sure you routinely check UPSs, inspect racks and run visual and battery self-tests. While batteries typically need replacement every four to five years, battery health is not always predictable, so ongoing service checkups and monitoring can save you in the long run.

Recycle. Look to trade-in existing power and IT equipment; many vendors offer discounts for used equipment; many vendors offer discounts for used. This is a great way to save money.

Innovations make your life easier. Look for new technologies, such as a converged infrastructure.

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