Arch Rock today is introducing a new version of its Energy Optimizer wireless monitoring system customized for data center usage. The product was initially launched in April to provide energy reporting for commercial buildings, and has been updated with additional sensors to measure temperature and air pressure, and custom reporting on a data center's power usage and thermal status.
Arch Rock joins a growing number of players targeting the market for wireless monitoring products for use in data center retrofits. Other companies targeting this niche include SynapSense, Sentilla, SensiCast and HP (which uses SynapSense in its soluton).
Wireless monitoring is valuable in data centers because it allows company to retrofit existing data centers to detect “hot spots” where cooling may not be reaching servers. Fine-tuning cooling systems allows data centers to make more efficient use of the energy used for cooling, which often consumes nearly as much power as IT equipment. Measuring data center energy use is a growth area as companies seek to get a handle on energy costs and carbon emissions ahead of anticipated regulatory efforts by the Obama administration.
Arch Rock Energy Optimizer-Data Center Edition (AREO-DC) deploys wireless sensors to measure power, temperature and pressure conditions on power circuits, server racks, computer-room air conditioners (CRACs) or air handlers (CRAHs), chillers and underneath the raised floor. The data is transmitted via wireless sensor networks to a dashboard that provides energy usage data, thermal imaging of data center conditions, and information for green metrics including Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).
The company's Energy Portal software can be delivered as a hosted product or via an appliance housed within a customer data center. In either scenario, portal data is accessed via a web browser. In the hosted product, each customer is provided with a dedicated virtual machine in Arch Rock's data center, and customers can set up user profiles with different privileges. The product can be used to import and track data from multiple data centers.
Arch Rock's initial specialty was embedded device networking, and the company is now using its IP-based PhyNet networking technology as the backbone for monitoring products.
"In the past year we started taking a look at the data center," said CEO Roland Acra, who said Arch Rock's sensors are in use in "six to 12" working data centers. "Conserving power is a major concern in today's data centers. The instrumentation you can deploy in the data center is the thing that gives you the ability to improve your efficiency."
Acra said he expected small to medium-sized businesses would be more interested in the hosted reporting offering, which has a lower up-front cost than the appliance. An example starter configuration including the hosted Energy Portal (one-year subscription) is priced at $9,995 and includes one PhyNet Router, three IPpower Nodes (monitoring up to nine circuits), four IPthermal-XT nodes (up to 28 temperature measurement points and four humidity points), one IPthermal-HT node (up to four combined thermal and humidity measurement points), two IPpressure nodes (up to six differential pressure measurement points), and two IPrelay (extender) nodes.