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Server Room Energy Consumption

17 Sep

Every month we receive an energy bill and we think, “How can the energy consumption be that much?!”  The second thought is, “How can we reduce the amount of energy we are consuming?”

serverroomEarlier this year we were able to identify equipment in our server room which was contributing to the overall energy consumption.  We were in need of updating our main server – so we looked a step further to see how we could also reduce our energy costs while meeting the requirements we had set forth for the new server.  After considerable analysis, we opted to acquire a new Dell server which would allow for future expansion and allow us to continue our Virtualization initiative.  With VMware we have been able to simplify our server hardware requirements and increase infrastructure efficiency.  By implementing VMware, we have increased overall utilization of our servers since we can load multiple operating systems on one physical server allowing us to take advantage of the hardware capabilities.  The virtualization initiative has also reduced capital and operating expenses, minimized potential lost revenue due to downtime, outages and failures.

Prior to cutting over to VMware we had multiple physical servers running in our server room producing heat and drawing energy every day. With the acquisition of the new server built to support virtualization, we were able to reduce the amount of physical servers from four (4) to one (1) server.  Our server room cooling costs have been reduced drastically because the amount of heat one efficient server puts out is considerably less than our four (4) old servers which were 6 plus years old.  Here is the quick math on cost avoidance.

  • Electricity to run old inefficient servers (3 physical server reduction)
    • A 350W server running 24/7 would directly consume 3,066 kWh of electricity annually.
      • At the current WE Energy price average of $0.126/kWh cost ~ $386.32
  • 3 servers cost $1,158.96 per year
  • Annual savings on physical server energy consumption $772.64 this is a 66% energy savings.
  • Air Conditioning
    • The cost avoidance relating to AC is difficult to pinpoint exactly. However, the cost of cooling the server room has also been reduced because the AC unit is cooling one efficient Dell server instead of 4 servers.

In conclusion, continuing our virtualization initiative has not only improved our server performance, infrastructure efficiency and decreased capital cost – it has also allowed us to reduce our monthly energy cost.

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LinkedIn Connector

26 Mar

Outlook ConnectorMore and more business professionals of all industries are moving over to the social media site LinkedIn. What they’re finding is that the people they work with, people they want to work with, companies they want to work for, and a wealth of information on or about their industry is all there. LinkedIn is undoubtedly the number one social media website currently on the market for the professional user. So what to do with all that information? Or, more importantly, how can you integrate it into your daily agenda without having to constantly check the LinkedIn website?

One way is to download the LinkedIn app to your smart phone, which will give you instant access to your connections, home page with industry information, and all activities going on in your network and groups. This is a convenient way to stay in contact with LinkedIn, but it is a battery drainer. It is also not very fast (depending on your connection and availability of Wi-Fi hotspots) or easy to search for specific connections and their information.

A better option is to download the Outlook Social Connector that LinkedIn provides at no cost. Simply download the connector, agree to allow permissions within your Outlook and go from using both the LinkedIn website and Outlook independently to running LinkedIn within your Outlook – in real time.

Having all of your LinkedIn connections and contacts accessible through your mobile device can be very valuable, even more so when you are out of the office and need to find information fast. As a bonus, all of the up-to-date information that your connections have put on their profiles, including their activities, mail message history, attachments (if any), meetings, and status updates will be displayed. Not only does this information build into their contact tab in your outlook, it also populates as a preview when you write them an email.

Toner – Not So Bad Once You Get to Know It

8 Jan

My prints are getting light. I need to add toner, right? Saying that is much like saying that your car goes slower as it gets lower on gas. Why would your printer get light prints when it gets low on toner? This is a common misconception with toner and how it is distributed during normal printing operations. Your modern day large format printer may have a toner bottle that is usually left to change by some seemingly unlucky individual in your workplace, but this is only your printer’s toner “reserve.” The production toner is set away from sight in, what is referred to as, your developer unit. There is usually a sensor or a series of sensors that determines when your developer unit is getting low. When the sensors give off a signal that the toner level is low, the toner bottle has been put in, what would be referred to as, the “Toner Add Mode.” The toner from that bottle then goes to the storage area of the developer unit and will do so until the sensor is satisfied.

So what do you do when you spill toner? No need to run in fear or tape off that room and call a hazmat team. Simply grab asHazmat much of it as you can with a vacuum and the rest will easily clean up with a damp cloth. Just make sure the cloth is not damp with anything hotter than lukewarm water. Toner is nothing more than a finely filtered plastic polymer that bonds to things when it is heated to more than 140°C/284°F. Next time your friendly service technician is in your office, you can nicely ask them for a “toner dust cloth” and they would be willing to accommodate you. Toner dust cloths are what BPI’s Service Team uses to collect lightly spilled toner; they work great for cleaning toner off of clothes and carpet. So next time you spill a bit of toner on your nice khakis, have no fear–it will come right out in the wash on a cold water cycle.

Why is my older model printer using more toner than usual? If you have a printer that is more than10-15 years old, it may have, what is referred to in the service repair world as, a “dual component” system. What does this mean for you, other than it may be time to upgrade to something more current and less expensive to run? Well, older developer units use a metallic powder that was always inside the unit itself. This powder holds a static charge that the toners bonds to until a higher charge from the printer’s drum/photoreceptor says, “Hey, I’ll take some toner.” That is how the image goes from the developer unit to the drum, eventually to the paper, then out towards the fuser unit. The fuser unit melts the plastic component (toner) into the crisp image you see when the print exits the the large format printer. The developer powder eventually loses its ability to hold a static charge and needs to be replaced.

So, next time one of your coworkers takes issue with having to change the copier’s toner, tell them to not fear because you are now the go-to expert on how toner works and why it’s not so bad.

Bid Your Project Digitally

7 Aug

“I’ve got a project coming up, and I’m going to need to print approximately 30 sets of 100 architectural ‘D’ sized (24”x36”) prints to bid out. What are you going to charge me? Can I get a deal or a volume discount? Also, I am going to want you to keep track of who took a set. Oh, by the way, we’ll also need you to collect and manage deposits payable to our company as well.”

In today’s marketplace, this scenario is still very common, and with the technology we have at our disposal, it boggles us as to why. The best answer we can come up with is that we haven’t done a good enough job of sharing new technology tools with you, our partners.

At BPI, we have a very fast, convenient, organized way of managing your bidding process while reducing your printing costs. The service we are referring to is our BPI Planroom. The first step we take is getting you connected with one of our very knowledgeable Construction Information Managers, hereafter referred to as a CIM. Your CIM is your own personal BPI representative allocated specifically to your project information management needs. Your CIM will assist you in taking your bid documents and Ad for Bid or Invite to Bid to one of these web portals: BPI’s Public Portal; BPI’s Private Portal; or a Custom Portal, branded specifically to your project.

Within the portal, you can specify a number of things through permissions, including opening the project up for bid to the general public or locking it down to your very specific “invite only” list of recipients. The Bid Notification can be distributed to your recipient list via the internal notification system. When your recipient receives an email notifying them of the bid opportunity, they can simply click a link taking them directly to your project. Once they’ve viewed the bid documents and determined they are going to bid on a portion of the work, there are a number of ways to get the bid documents into their estimating team’s hands, including digital downloads, prints ordered and delivered by a shipping company, or from the friendly BPI staff in your area. All actions taken within the portal are tracked. This allows for multiple reports to be generated within BPI Planroom. There is no need to keep a separate planholders list, because your CIM can quickly run a real time report providing you with information such as who the plan holders are and whether they ordered hard copy prints or digital downloads.

If you have any addenda, they also can be loaded into the portal and managed with the notification tool, thus providing you with a considerable advantage over your competitors. You will have the ability to get your addendum notification out within a very short amount of time. Time is always of the essence. Your CIM updates your portal with the accompanying documentation and your bids get back to you fast.

Finally, once you’ve awarded work and you no longer need the portal, your CIM will close it out for you by archiving it to our secure backup. Or, you can continue to manage the construction phase via the BPI Planroom. A closeout of the project data is available, providing you with a reliable digital record of the bid process, which may come in handy if  litigation were to arise later in the project life cycle. What a great way to keep your organization protected from “he said, she said” or  “we’re not sure” scenarios! In addition, it gives you a very tech savvy professional method of delivering this information to your management or owner team.

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