news

November 06, 2015

Energy Efficiency Project Shows Off Power Of Networking

by Joseph F. Kovar on November 6, 2015, 1:14 pm EST

You might not readily associate networking with energy sustainability, but last month in Southern California, a sophisticated Wi-Fi network – built and operated by a local solution provider – proved to play a critical role in The U.S. Department of Energy’s biannual Solar Decathlon.

The event, held in Irvine, Calif., brought together 14 teams from universities from around the country and the world to show off their designs for homes of the future.

The homes were designed and built with several goals, particularly energy efficiency, and had to meet such criteria as the ability to produce at least as much electricity as they consume and find new ways to recycle water. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), part of the energy department, managed the event.

The responsibility for building and running the Wi-Fi network – which also helped students and mentors stay online while they were away from home – was given to Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider, which took CRN for a behind-the-scenes tour of the temporary project.

To look at what it takes to build a huge Wi-Fi project, and for a peek at what the home of the future might look like,

The 14 homes were, in the end, designed to be real homes with fully-working kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms, and everything else a family would expect. Indeed, “Home Life” was one of the judging criteria.

While the homes were livable, the students were required to live in hotels, and were not allowed to stay on-site at night.

Because the homes were designed to be habitable, a reliable Wi-Fi solution was a must. And that’s where Consiliant Technologies came in.

Jon Garcia (pictured), senior account executive at Consiliant, told ITBestofBreed.com that his company has a long-term partnership with the City of Irvine, Calif. Consiliant had recently helped the city move its entire network from Cisco to Brocade gear, a connection that helped Consiliant land the networking contract for the Solar Decathlon, Garcia said.

Networking for the decathlon was a complex project, Garcia said. Requirements included providing isolated wireless technology for each team so that an array of sensors in each home could provide metrics to judge their sustainability. Each team also required wireless connectivity for its members. And Wi-Fi was also provided free to visitors.

Consiliant relied heavily on networking gear from its vendor partners, including switches and routers from Brocade, based in San Jose, Calif. and wireless equipment from Aerohive Networks, of Sunnyvale, Calif.

The Solar Decathlon opened to the public Oct. 8. That’s also when judging of the homes began. However, Garcia said, the timeline for installing the networking infrastructure began Sept. 21, which is when Schneider Electric, one of the sponsors of the event, started powering the site.

Consiliant engineers were allowed on-site starting Sept. 24, and the student teams began four days later. “We opted for a wired and wireless network,” he said. “We weren’t sure how many people would be there, but we needed to support them all.”

The organizers said that past events saw up to 10,000 visitors a day, Garcia said. “We were thinking (that) everybody has a smartphone or tablet,” he said “We had to be ready. So we ran fibre combined with dense wireless.”

Part of building a sustainable home requires constant monitoring of power and cooling. For that, some homes used equipment (pictured) from Nest Labs, which Google acquired in early 2014.

All these devices had to be connected to the Consiliant-built network before the judging began.

The City of Irvine provided the primary network feed via a microwave relay from a building across the road from this trailer. In keeping with the sustainability theme of the event, this trailer and a couple others like it took advantage of the Southern California sun to run on solar power, with propane tanks as backup.

The trailers were also handy for Consiliant, which mounted wireless antennas on the mast, such as the Aerohive antenna sitting between the panel and the microwave dish, as part of its networking project.

“The City of Irvine handled the microwave lines,” Garcia said. “From there, it was all us.”

Inside the Consiliant command center, located in a trailer parked at the back of the site, Consiliant ran its own management software along with the Brocade Network Advisor application on one of its own Cisco UCS servers, said Sean Balas, solutions architect for Consiliant.

The two servers on the left in this photo were provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with one serving as the primary server and the other as a backup using software from Veeam. “There was no budget for off-site replication,” Balas said.

Sitting on top of Consiliant’s UCS server is one of three Brocade ICX6610 switches that were used as core switches for the Solar Decathlon, Balas said.

The Brocade and Aerohive gear were provided free by the vendors as part of a 30-day evaluation program, and had to be returned after the event.

Consiliant ran fibre networking cables from the command center to Brocade 6450c12 switches, each in its own box. There were 11 such switches deployed for the event and were used to set up 16 different wireless networks separated by VLANs, including a separate network for each of the 14 home-building teams, Balas said.

Those 16 networks provided for the wireless needs of the entire Solar Decathlon. This included collecting data from sensors in the homes to be logged by the NREL. “Logging of data from the homes had top priority,” he said. “If more bandwidth was needed for logging, it happened automatically.”

The boxes were tight, Balas said. “It was a challenge to make everything fit,” he said.

Heat was an especially difficult problem at the Solar Decathlon, but Consiliant used a decidedly low-tech solution – cardboard – to beat the heat and help ensure smooth operations.

In addition to keeping the interior of the command center to a livable temperature, cardboard was also on hand for other potential issues, Balas said.

The outside temperature reached about 105 degrees Fahrenheit on one day, and 10 of the 11 Brocade 6450c12 approached critical heat. “We had no problems,” he said. “But we were ready to use cardboard to shade them.”

The switches sustained heat of up to 168.8 degrees for a few hours at one point, Garcia’s said. “It was a testimony to the quality of the Brocade switches,” he said.

Consiliant provided both wired and wireless network connectivity to the 14 home-building teams, and traffic was divided pretty evenly between the two technologies, Balas said.

While Consiliant provided the networking infrastructure, each team managed its own network, he said.

As part of its contract, Consiliant built a permanent wireless networking solution for the site, which is in the heart of the Orange County Great Park, a huge combination of public park and private development based on the grounds of what used to be the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine.

This former hanger-turned-conference hall sports some powerful networking gear. On the left corner are a couple of microwave antennas, one of which points to the Irvine train station in the distance. The other points to the trailer from slide 6. These were deployed and are managed by the City of Irvine.

The hanger also sports a number of Aerohive antennas both inside and outside, including the one in the center of the photo, deployed by Consiliant.

The microwave network provides a total bandwidth of 1 Gbit per second, of which Consiliant was able to access 300 Mbps for use in the Solar Decathlon project, Balas said.

September 25, 2015

Consiliant to Sponsor U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 25, 2015

Contact:     Joseph Kadlec, (949) 861-8800 Ext. 202, joe@consiliant.com

Consiliant Technologies LLC to Sponsor U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015

Support Includes Design, Implementation and Management of the IP Network for the US DOE Solar Decathlon 2015 Event with Additional Systems Administration Responsibilities for All Technology Infrastructure.

Irvine, California — Consiliant Technologies LLC has announced its sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015.

The Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

“The Solar Decathlon provides a great opportunity for educating the next generation of architects and engineers on sustainable technology and energy design,” said Dave Cerniglia, CEO of Consiliant Technologies. “We’re proud to lend our support to this collaborative effort showcasing forward-thinking students in their use of today’s latest technology to change the status quo for more sustainable living strategies.”

Sponsors support the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon through in-kind contributions that are based on a list of needs determined by event organizers. Sponsors can also work with individual teams directly by providing in-kind donations, cash contributions, and other resources.

“The Solar Decathlon depends on the valuable support of our many sponsors,” said Richard King, director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. “The sponsorship provided by Consiliant Technologies helps ensure that the Solar Decathlon provides a rich learning experience for the student decathletes and educates the public about the money-saving opportunities and environmental benefits presented by clean-energy products and design solutions.”

The next Solar Decathlon will take place at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA. Open to the public free of charge from October 8-18, 2015, the competition houses will be open to visitors on eight days over two weekends. The Solar Decathlon enables visitors to tour the houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money today. For more information about the Solar Decathlon, visit www.solardecathlon.gov.

About Consiliant Technologies LLC

Founded in 2002, Consiliant Technologies is a leader in providing technology services and data center solutions in the Southern California region. Consiliant helps clients use technology as a competitive advantage by leveraging the latest mobility, cloud, security and data center solutions to drive their business forward. Our Technical Services team leverages a consultative approach and enterprise engineering expertise in assessment, design, implementation and management of all client initiatives. Our professional services engineers are experts hired for their wealth of practical experience gained through many years of services delivery and project management at notable enterprise organizations. We encourage you to engage us directly for more information or visit our website at www.Consiliant.com.

 

###

September 16, 2013

Consiliant Appoints New IT Staffing and Placement Director

Irvine, California, September 23, 2013 – Consulting services and data center solution provider Consiliant has appointed Bill Limperis to run its IT Staffing Services division.

Limperis will be based out of the firm’s corporate office in Irvine, California. He will take over responsibility for driving and directing the firm’s resource management offerings.

Consiliant’s services business is already helping companies to streamline operations and reduce expenses.  Limperis brings a wealth of expertise to  lead the expansion of these new services.

August 06, 2013

Congratulations Jon and Cassie

Ventura, California, August 2, 2013 – Consiliant Family News, a big congratulations to Jon Garcia and his new wife, Cassie, who were married on Saturday afternoon at the beautiful San Buena Ventura Mission. We are all so excited for the newly weds and wish them all the best as they start their new lives together. Cheers from your extended family at Consiliant.

20130805-181415.jpg

February 22, 2013

Congratulations Michael and Lisa

Oakland, New Jersey, February 21, 2013 – The Consiliant Family grew by four feet today. Congratulations to Mike (Waz) Wasilewski, Director of North East Sales and Operations, and his wife, Lisa on the much anticipated birth of their twins: Michael and Olivia. Mom is doing great and Mike is going to be very busy.

Much love and best wishes from The Consiliant Family

December 21, 2012

Brocade Technical Certification Achieved

Irvine, California, November 26, 2012 – Consiliant today announced that Willie Schroeder has completed the Brocade Certified Network Engineer (BCNE) designation. This elevates Consiliant’s commitment to offering exceptional technical resources to our customer base. The West Coast contingent boasts two BCNE’s to help IT organizations reach their fullest potential in the network and wireless space.

December 18, 2012

Turkeys Saved day before Thanksgiving

Oakland, New Jersey, November 21, 2012 – Consiliant today announced that Michael (Waz) Wasilewski, Director of North East Sales and Operations lead the charge in saving a rafter of wild turkeys the day before Thanksgiving. These unsuspecting birds were in harm’s way and the target of an unknown aggressor.  We commend Michael for his unselfish acts of kindness in saving these beautiful wild turkeys from the dinner table.

2012-11-16_10-09-38_937

September 10, 2010

New Lab Testing Facility Completed

IRVINE, Calif., September 10, 2010 – Consiliant today announced a new Lab Testing Facility.  Looking for verification that a new core application will integrate smoothly with your existing heterogeneous computing environment? Let our Systems Engineering group help you test that environment in our newly updated facility so your team can keep your business running without interruption or distraction. Our Southern California lab includes a substantial investment in both software and server technology from Hitachi, Oracle (SUN), HP and Dell.

Windows, LINUX, UNIX, and Solaris are all available as well as a virtualized environment. The switching and fabric is composed of Brocade, Cisco and Qlogic while the storage infrastructure is both SAN and NAS with Hitachi Data Systems, Oracle (Sun), HP and Dell. Our manufacturing partners take advantage of our lab resources to tackle projects involving multiple technology providers.

November 20, 2009

“Server Virtualization – Stop the InSANity”

Topic:  “Virtualization”

Hosted By:  Isilon Systems,  SpectraLogic & Consiliant Technologies

Location:  Church Brew Works, 3525 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15201, Google Map

Date & Time:  Tuesday., Dec. 15, 2009, 5:00pm-7:00pm

Please join Isilon Systems, Consiliant, and SpectraLogic for a dinner event on Tuesday, December 15th from 5:00 pm-7:00pm at The Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh. This informative seminar will show you how “Virtualization” with Isilon, Consiliant, and SpectraLogic can simplify your virtual machines and eliminate barriers associated with traditional SAN and NAS storage systems.

Isilon, Consiliant, and SpectraLogic have joined together to present ways to improve the management and increase ROI, while simplifying the on-going need to add storage within your environment.

Topics to be discussed will include:

  • System scalability in virtual environments
  • Effortless data encryption
  • Tiered storage for a complete disk-to-disk-to-tape solution
  • Flexibility of NFS
  • Increase storage utilization
  • Reduce storage acquisition cost

Seating is limited. Reserve your seat today!

October 15, 2007

Executive Round Table Discussion Hosted by Consiliant Technologies & Hitachi Data Systems

Award Winning Dinning Experience at the Hobbit Restaurant Wine Cellar Thursday November 15th at 7:00pm

You are invited to join us for a fun filled evening in the Wine Cellar of the Hobbit Restaurant.  The Wine Spectator has given a “Best of Excellence” award and the Zagat Survey has issued top ratings for Food and Service for the past three years running.  Come share a 7 course meal paired with some of California’s finest wines. We will enjoy a brief wine pairings overview from the Hobbit’s sommelier, Greg Cole.  Hitachi Data Systems will present a brief overview and customer case study of the Hitachi  Content Archive Platform (HCAP) solution. This will be an interactive discussion on how to solve long term, fixed content data preservat ion for regulatory compliance and electronic discovery.  HCAP is designed for seamless integration, scalability, high performance and high availability for secure long term data preservation and fast search and retrieval of valuable business records.  We have a very limited number of seats available by invitation only so please contact joe@consiliant.com to secure your reservation.