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Spring Journal

Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

FARNBOROUGH – Datum Datacentres is delighted to announce that it has secured a Climate Change Agreement based on its energy consumption over the last 2 years and agreed efficiency targets to the end of 2020.


Climate change agreements (CCAs) form part of the UK Government Energy and Climate Change programme. CCAs are negotiated arrangements that provide an extension to the Climate Change Levy rebate for energy intensive industries in return for meeting energy efficiency improvement targets.


Commenting on the agreement, Liam Mitchell, Data Centre Manager at Datum said: “From the outset, Datum has maintained a strong focus on energy efficiency, attaining ISO 50001 and signing up to the EU Code of Conduct of data centres. Our environmentally intelligent adiabatic cooling solution supports extremely efficient, predictable cooling for high densities, whilst removing the cooling plant and associated water service risks from the IT space. The end result is complete alignment of our energy efficiency goals with those of our clients – a reduced carbon footprint and reduced cost.”


Launched in 2013, Datum delivers highly secure and resilient co-location to a prestigious client list that includes over 30 organisations from both the private and public sector, serving vertical markets from Finance and Insurance through IT Security Services and Defence, and including companies from the FTSE 250 and Fortune 500. As Liam adds: “Securing the Climate Change Agreement and the associated efficiency target will benefit both Datum and our clients and we are fully behind the initiative.”


About Datum

Datum provides highly resilient, ultra secure co-location data centres to enterprises and service providers. Connection-rich, our carrier and cloud neutral data centres support hybrid compute and connected DR, delivering always-on availability and high power densities backed by enterprise class service. Part of the Attenda IT Services group, our data centres are trusted as secure environments for content, data and business critical IT to connect with a neutral choice of networks and cloud service providers.


Datum Farnborough (FRN1) Key Features

  • Strategic, London-edge, secure campus Location
  • Pressurised free cooling providing Leading-Edge Environmental Efficiency
  • SLA backed 100% Power Availability
  • Enhanced, Government-grade Security
  • Dynamic & Flexible support for High-Density deployments (up to 30kW per rack as standard)
  • Carrier & Cloud Neutral
  • Comprehensive Accreditations including ISO 9001, ISO 27001:2013, ISO 50001, PCI DSS, DCA Class 3 Fully Operational, EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres
  • Highly Resilient infrastructure design & operations to support business critical IT


Availability of RealTime Media Engine 2.0 for its Linux-based thin clients means users can benefit from new features and HD video conferencing


READING, UK – Just weeks after Citrix announced the availability of the Skype for Business RealTime Media Engine 2.0, IGEL has integrated the capabilities into its Linux thin clients meaning users can instantly benefit from the new Unified Communications features, including HD video conferencing.


The RTME package is part of the new IGEL Linux firmware 5.09.101, which is available free for immediate download. The HDX RealTime Media Engine 2.0 allows high-quality HD video conferences as well as Enterprise VoIP telephony via Microsoft Skype for Business. With the release, Citrix is also decoupling the functionality from the backend solution used so that Microsoft Skype for Business Server 2015, Microsoft Lync Server 2013 and Office 365 (Skype for Business Online) are supported.


“The fact that the RTME package can be so quickly integrated is down to the flexibility of IGEL Linux, our open operating system,” said Simon Richards, IGEL Managing Director for UK & Ireland. “We ensure important new business features, such as Unified Communications, can be easily deployed and configured to work seamlessly with our Linux and Windows-based thin and zero clients. To achieve this we integrate the local drivers of the Unified Communications platform into the IGEL device operating system. This ensures that the Unified Communications application can be deployed quickly and efficiently using our IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) software. Alongside this we fine-tune the Citrix, VMware or Microsoft client to ensure that the Unified Communications application delivers the very best end-user experience.”


For those who rely on a VDI environment, thin clients from IGEL Technology are the ideal choice. A range of unified communication solutions, including Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI)*, Microsoft Lync and its successor Skype for Business are supported.


*Available for all Windows-based IGEL thin clients



The HDX RealTime Media Engine 2.0 for Skype for Business is fully integrated in IGEL Linux 5.09.101 and available for all IGEL Linux v5 Universal Desktop and IGEL Zero clients from today. The firmware can be downloaded free of charge from www.myigel.biz.


About IGEL Technology

A world leader in thin and zero client solutions, IGEL Technology helps organizations improve the agility, efficiency, and security of their virtual desktop and application delivery systems. IGEL produces one of the industry's widest range of hardware thin and zero clients, based on Linux and Microsoft Windows, and leads the market in software based thin clients allowing customers to access a broad spectrum of server-based infrastructures and applications. IGEL also offers powerful and intuitive management software for easy deployment and administration of thin clients throughout any size organization. Partnerships with industry leaders like Citrix, VMware, Red Hat, and Microsoft ensure that IGEL provides the most up-to-date technology and trustworthy security to clients in industries that include Healthcare, Education & Research, Public Sector, Financial, Insurance, Retail, Logistics, and Manufacturing. IGEL has offices in the United Kingdom, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, Germany, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore and is represented by partners in over 50 countries worldwide. To learn more, visit www.igel.co.uk or follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/IGEL_Technology


A crisis can occur at any time, anywhere. Every year, dozens of organizations find themselves in the news for the wrong reasons, whether it be because of a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or a scandal. Ensuring your staff is trained in crisis communication before an incident occurs could save your company and its image when an emergency situation strikes.

Every organization in any field can be susceptible to a media crisis without the proper preparation in crisis communication. Luckily, Kathryn Holloway and her company, Press Alert, having been helping hundreds of firms prepare for such crises by media training their spokespeople, and now she’s here to help you! Kathryn joined us recently for a webinar where she uses relevant current events to outline a list of best practices for interacting with the press during a crisis.



Friday, 18 March 2016 00:00

Tech Trends That We Don’t Talk About

I was asked to do a presentation on trends for a large number of IT folks. Of course, concepts like hyper-converged computing, analytics, mobile, hybrid cloud, and the move away from passwords (finally) came to mind. But at the time, I also happened to be reading a book called Moonshot (I recommend it, by the way) by ex-Apple CEO John Sculley, in which he talks about trends that really don’t have that much to do with servers, services, processors, systems or networking gear.

Let’s talk about some of the trends behind the trends this week.



Friday, 18 March 2016 00:00

BCI: Don't be held for ransom

Don't be held for ransom

The threat of ransomware is rapidly growing with 43% of IT consultants in a survey by Intermedia reporting they have had customers fall victim to an attack. 48% saw an increase in ransomware related support inquiries while 59% of respondents expect the number of attacks to increase this year.

A ransomware outbreak creates two hard choices for businesses: Either spend multiple days recovering locked files from backups (which may be old outdated versions), or pay a ransom to an organized crime syndicate who will then be incentivized to launch further attacks.

In both scenarios, organizations are likely to face significant user downtime that overshadows the cost of the ransom. The 2016 Crypto Ransomware Report revealed that 72% of infected business users could not access their data for at least two days following a ransomware outbreak, and 32% lost access for five days or more. As a result, experts observed significant data recovery costs, reduced customer satisfaction, missed deadlines, lost sales and, in many cases, traumatized employees.

Richard Walters, SVP of Security Products at Intermedia stated, “In the age of ransomware, what matters is how quickly employees are able to get back to work. Traditional backup and file sharing solutions are increasingly inadequate when it comes to addressing this growing concern, putting businesses at risk. Modern business continuity solutions that combine real-time backup, mass file restores and remote access combat threats by minimizing the crippling effects of downtime.

The report also noted that ransomware should no longer be seen solely as a threat to individuals and small businesses. Nearly 60% of businesses hit by ransomware had more than 100 employees, and 25% were enterprises with more than 1,000 employees.

IT consultants are not the only group to express fears about such attacks with the cyber threat featuring high in the Business Continuity Institute's latest Horizon Scan Report. This report revealed that cyber attacks and data breaches are the top two threats according to business continuity professionals, with 85% and 80% of respondents to a survey expressing concern at the prospect of one of them occurring. It was only recently that the BCI published an article regarding a US hospital that had fallen victim to a ransomware attack, and had to pay up in order to access their data again.

Felix Yanko, President at Technology & Beyond added, “As business IT consultants, we receive an astounding number of customer queries about suspicious emails and pop-ups. The world is becoming more cyber-aware, but ransomware’s depravity keeps it three steps ahead. CryptoLocker, for instance, will take down multiple offices in one sweep, should it infect a shared server. Trying to restore from ransomware attacks off traditional back-ups, businesses usually lose weeks of work due to lost files, plus a day or more of downtime while computers are wiped and reloaded. Companies must have the right security measures in place to mitigate the devastation of ransomware.

Software-defined data centers were originally met with suspicion. In fact, two years ago, “software-defined” anything was largely considered marketing hype. According to experts, only organizations with pre-existing homogeneous environments could take advantage of it. Times change. Today, the Software Defined Data Center (SDCC) is transforming the service provider (SP) industry.

Nonetheless, service providers still face challenges, and these issues remain thorny:

  • Resource constraints: There are not enough qualified cloud professionals to meet demand for services. This talent shortage, along with the complexity of the technology, puts a crimp in the SP's ability to provide customers with innovative solutions that effectively differentiate, compete, and attract new business.
  • Pricing pressures: IT has always been challenged to demonstrate ROI.  Even organizations with aligned IT and business capabilities continue to look for ways to reduce data center costs.
  • Service Level Agreements: There is unrelenting pressure on solution providers to strengthen SLAs across the board—just to hold onto their existing customers. Seeing a way out of the conundrum can be difficult for SPs, and makes partnering with a vendor that provides the right technical solutions, training, and support critical to helping SPs expand opportunities.



LOGICnow announced today the integration of the MAX Backup and Disaster Recovery offering into a comprehensive security solution, and its remote management software for managed services providers.

The backup and disaster recovery tool is part of the LOGICnow Layered Security suite, which can be operated as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering from the firm’s MAX Remote Management platform.

The technology is described as a holistic approach that allows IT professionals to get systems up and running “within minutes” after a data loss or cyber attack, and help companies regain access to locked data following a ransomware disruption.



DENTON, Texas – Cleaning up after a flood? FEMA has some suggestions:
•    Check for damage. Check for structural damage before re-entering your home. If you suspect damage to water, gas, electric or sewer lines, contact authorities.
•    Remove wet contents immediately. Wet carpeting, furniture, bedding and anything else holding moisture can develop mold within 24 to 48 hours. Clean and disinfect everything touched by floodwaters.
•    Tell your local officials about your damages. This information is forwarded to the state so state officials have a better understanding of the extent of the damages.
•    Plan before you repair. Contact your local building inspections or planning office, or your county clerk’s office to get more information on local building requirements.
•    File your flood insurance claim. Be sure to provide: the name of your insurance company, your policy number and contact information. Take photos of any water in the house and damaged personal property. Make a detailed list of all damaged or lost items.
There are also questions about when Federal Assistance is available after a disaster. In simple terms, here’s the process:
A disaster happens. Local officials and first responders respond. These officials see that their communities need assistance in dealing with it. They ask the state for help. The state responds. Sometimes, the state sees that the response is beyond its resources. That’s when the state reaches out to FEMA for assistance.
Typically, before asking for a Major Disaster declaration, the state asks for a preliminary Damage Assessment. This is done by teams composed of state and federal officials. They arrive in the disaster damaged area and local officials show them the most severely damaged areas that they can access.
Among the items considered are:
•    The amount of damage
•    How widespread the damages are, and the number of insured and uninsured properties involved
•    Special needs populations
•    Other disasters the state may be working.
Governors use this information to decide whether to request a disaster declaration. Once a governor decides to request a declaration, it is processed as quickly as possible.
If the President decides there’s a need, he signs a Major disaster declaration for either Individual Assistance, Public Assistance or both, for designated counties.
Individual Assistance means:
Individuals and business owners may be eligible for rental assistance, grants for repairs, or low interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)for damages to uninsured or underinsured property.
Public Assistance means:
Government entities and certain private non-profit agencies may be eligible to be reimbursed for the cost of repairs to uninsured or underinsured facilities, as well as some costs for labor and materials.
If there is a Major Disaster declaration, survivors may register for assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.
The Preliminary Damage Assessment teams often take photographs of damaged areas. After a Major Disaster declaration, photographs of your damages are accepted as documentation, in addition to your receipts.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/femaregion6 , and the FEMA Blog at http://blog.fema.gov. 

Craig Huitema and Soni Jiandani blogged  about Cisco’s latest ASIC innovations for the Nexus 9K platforms and IDC did a write up and video. In this blog, I’ll expand on one component of the innovations, intelligent buffering. First let’s look at how switching ASICs maybe designed today. Most switching ASICs are built with on-chip buffer memory and/or off-chip buffer memory.  The on-chip buffer size tends to differ from one ASIC type to another, and obviously, the buffer size tends to be limited by the die size and cost. Thus some designs leverage off-chip buffer to complement on-chip buffer but this may not be the most efficient way of designing and architecting an ASIC/switch. This will lead us to another critical point, how can the switch ASIC handle TCP congestion control as well as the buffering impact to long-lived TCP and incast/microburst packets (a sudden spike in the amount of data going into the buffer due to lots of sources sending data to a particular output simultaneously. Some examples of that IP based storage as the object maybe spread across multiple nodes or search queries where a single request may go out on hundreds or thousands of nodes. In both scenarios the TCP congestion control doesn’t apply because it happens so quickly).

In this video, Tom Edsall summarizes this phenomenon and the challenges behind it.



Helping put people's lives back together is what Interstate Restoration does every day. So when a Chicago elementary school principal found out recently her hometown of Flint, Michigan, had children without access to safe drinking water, she reached out to Interstate Restoration for help in organizing relief.

Lisa Epstein, a principal at Chicago's R.H. Lee Elementary School, contacted Interstate Restoration for help with transporting and delivering bottled water to Flint children. In February, the employees at Interstate Restoration in Chicago and Detroit immediately mobilized trucks and volunteers to transport truckloads of donated water, more than 1,500 cases, to Children’s Dream Center, a shelter in Flint. “We are always willing to help make a positive impact in the community, especially one so close to home,” said Jeff Levine, vice president of Business Development for Interstate Restoration in Southfield, Michigan. “After all, doing the right thing is one of our core values as an organization and we strive to live it out in as many ways as possible.”

Interstate Restoration is a national emergency restoration and reconstruction services provider for commercial enterprises based in Ft. Worth, Texas, and with 16 U.S. locations.