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For Immediate Release
24 March 2004

Data Centres Are Mission Critical For Financial Businesses

Information, or data, is at the very heart of modern financial enterprises. How and where this data is stored and processed is critical to ensuring its availability and security, according to John Siemon, Vice President of Siemon -a manufacturer and technology leader of network cabling solutions.

The world today is very different than just a few years ago. Security threats are seemingly everywhere and as companies rely more heavily on their network infrastructure to carry critical business data, downtime costs are growing exponentially. Business continuity is essential to a company's viability, success and competitive advantage.

Figures produced in 2002 by the UK's Department of Trade and Industry show 44% of UK businesses have suffered at least one malicious security breach in the past year and several reported that it cost them over £500,000.More than 90% of European companies now have internet connections and websites. Because of this and other factors, the European Commission has recognised the need to increase awareness of data security among Member States. It is in the process of establishing a European Network and Information Security Agency that will take on this role and intensify coordination of intelligence about information security. Many countries and regions around the world are doing the same.

The U.S government has recently embarked on what is the largest security initiative in its history - earmarking billions of dollars to upgrade network infrastructures to prevent against security breaches and downtime.

John Siemon said: "Businesses and governments realise that data is among their most important assets and as such are making strides to assure its immediate availability and security. At the heart of every data carrying network is a cabling system. Companies today are focusing more attention on their cabling systems from the data centre, to the office, to the factory floor in order to prevent downtime and maximise their network investment. High quality, state-of-the art cabling systems are more important than ever to support the increasing trend in converging IP-based applications and demand for higher bandwidth, reliability and redundancy.

The Expanding Role Of Data Centres

With data availability and security at stake, the role of the data centre is more critical than ever. This is seen in the increase of data centre expenditures, new standards being established, and the increased role of the data centre.

Data centres can represent as much as 50% of an IT budget. Recent research on the North American data centre market, conducted by Infonetics Research, found that the data centre services and products market is expected to grow 47% from $10.6 billion to $15.6 billion between 2003 and 2007.

In 2004, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is expected to publish the new standard for the design of data centres and computer server rooms (ANSI/TIA/EIA-942), it is intended for use by designers who need a comprehensive understanding of data centre design and will specify the minimum requirements to support the critical nature of data centres and server rooms.

Commenting on the critical nature of data centres, John Siemon said, "A properly designed data centre should provide availability, accessibility, scalability and reliability. A goal of "five nines" reliability translates to downtime measured in minutes per year, not days or hours. Four nines, or 99.99% uptime still translates to nearly one hour down per year. A data centre is more than just a room where the servers are stored. With the world's economy being primarily transacted through electronic commerce, the data centre is a virtual bank vault that safeguards financial assets and processes transactions that add up to billions per day. A new level of security is being designed into data centres in the form of redundant, live offsite storage. This can be accomplished either with two centres owned by the same company, or by virtualization where servers are hosted offsite, but appear to the end-user as onsite.

Anticipating the increasing role of data centres, Siemon stated, "The data centre should be able to respond to growth as well as advances in equipment, standards and bandwidth demands, while remaining manageable and reliable." The infrastructure design should accommodate for growth and redundancy. The risk of downtime due to infrastructure changes is not an acceptable risk.

Data centres are comprised of a high speed, high demand networking communication systems capable of handling the traffic for SAN (Storage Area Networks), NAS (Network Attached Storage), file/application/web server farms and other components located in the controlled environment. The control of the environment relates to control of air quality, temperature and humidity, power, safety and access control. Other considerations relate to provisions for a hardened environment that can withstand and quickly recover from natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes.

The Uptime Institute rates data centres on four tier levels based on the level of redundancy of all of the above. The expectation is that in a fully redundant Tier 4 data centre with an uptime rating of 99.995% will provide not only automatic human-free fail over, but also provides servers, applications and devices that can be maintained without the loss of continuity, while the services are provided via their mirrored counterparts. Tier 4 centres also have power and telecommunications services with two totally separate ingresses to the building in the same hot-failover configuration. This also allows the data centre to provide application and processing load balances.

IP based products that allow for communication between the storage devices and network components are becoming prevalent. IP capability makes these solutions far more scaleable and reliable than their predecessors. These capabilities provide for a ubiquitous single protocol with common management, prioritisation and routing techniques to help streamline network performance and simplify management.

Electronics are also becoming smaller and more compact, thereby conserving space on the data centre floor. This can be seen in telecommunications switching equipment, blade servers, UPS solutions and various other components that now provide the same processing in a few rack spaces instead of a few racks.

The mission-critical role of the data centre has become a main focus for companies worldwide, especially those in the financial sector whose primary function is uninterrupted, error-free transactions. The data centre's cabling infrastructure is of vital importance. With SANs, NAS, and business applications now running over IP, the capacity and performance of legacy cabling systems may now be in question. Companies are realising and accepting the need for higher bandwidth cabling systems and are investing in 1GB or even 10GB for the current and future needs of their data centres. Further, minimally compliant solutions may not provide necessary stability due to lack of headroom or performance margin, which can cause down time or increased slowness resulting in lost productivity.

To learn more about the critical role of data centres please refer to Siemon's White Paper 'Siemon 10G ip™ Data Centre Solution' at: http://www.siemon.com/us/white_papers/

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About Siemon
Established in 1903, Siemon is an industry leader specialising in the design and manufacture of high quality, high performance low voltage infrastructure solutions and services for data centres, LANs and intelligent buildings. Headquartered in Connecticut, USA, with global sales, technical and logistics expertise spanning 100 countries, Siemon offers a comprehensive suite of copper and optical fibre cabling systems, cabinets, racks, cable management, data centre power and cooling systems and intelligent infrastructure management solutions.

With more than 400 patents specific to structured cabling, Siemon Labs invests heavily in R&D and the development of industry standards, underlining the company’s long-standing commitment to its customers and the industry. Siemon Interconnect Solutions (SIS) is a Siemon business unit comprised of a team of dedicated technical sales professionals supported by Siemon Labs, mechanical, electrical and signal integrity engineers committed to solving industry and customer driven interconnect challenges. Siemon provides custom network infrastructure solutions to OEMs, leading manufacturers, value-added resellers and system integrators.
For further information or supporting picture please contact:
CLEAR Communications
Susann Bladwell, PR Consultant
M: +49 (0)176 7863 4709
E: sbladwell@clearcommunictions.de

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