Today Emerson Network Power released its Trellis software, the company’s big bet on data center infrastructure management (DCIM). The global availability of the first four software applications for Trellis culminates a two-year development period, during which DCIM has emerged as the industry’s hottest buzzwords.
“We are excited to be able to show it instead of talking about it,” said Steve Hassell, president of the Avocent business of Emerson Network Power. “We've been talking about it for two years.”
After acquiring Aperture in 2008 and Avocent in 2009 to boost its management software business, Emerson decided in 2010 to overhaul its offering. The Trellis platform includes some libraries from the earlier software, but has been re-written from scratch atop Oracle Fusion, using the model of a strong central platform surrounded by edge applications.
Approach Offers Breadth, Flexibility
Hassell says this approach provides Trellis with the power to manage all aspects of the data center, while retaining the flexibility to focus on smaller chunks of infrastructure.
"We're starting what we think is a new phase in DCIM with this product,” said Hassell. "We believe a more expansive view of the data center is a better way to approach these challenges.
“But this approach is also extremely modular. You can start at any point on the curve, starting off with one module and adding capabilities as you go along.”
The Trellis approach spans hardware and software, and hopes to span the gap between IT and facilities departments. The hardware component, a 1U appliance known as the Universal Management Gateway (UMG), was developed to address the growing complexity of modern data centers, which means larger volumes of data.
”Initially we thought that this would be done with software,” said Hassell. “Once you get 10,000 data points, your polling cycle falls out of real time, and you miss things. We decided we needed a hardware component.”
UMG as 'Universal Translator'
The UMG is a 1U rackmount device will serve as a data processing link between IT and facilities systems and management software. The device serves as a "universal translator" for data from a wide range of devices.
“The UMG is the game changer,” said Lane Pierce, principal consultant at Emerson Network Power. “The gateway does a lot of information harvesting.”
Thus far, the analyst community and early adopters like what they see.
“The Trellis platform is going to be a comprehensive and powerful system,” said Andy Lawrence, research vice president for Datacenter Technology at 451 Research. “The system design and architecture, all based on real-time data, are unlike anything on the market today, and should be both flexible and highly scalable. One of the more impressive features of the Trellis platform is that it has been designed and engineered with ease of use and simplicity in mind – the designers have paid a lot of attention to how datacenter personnel work.”
“The Emerson Network Power Trellis platform is installed in our Bangalore data center as part of the Trellis Early Adopters Program,” said Ankush Patel, Infosys vice president of sustainability.”It shows great promise in being able to continuously monitor critical systems and predict potential issues in a cost- and energy- efficient manner.”
Trellis software applications now available are:
- Trellis Inventory Manager – This module allows data center managers to create an accurate and complete model of its data centers globally, including where devices and equipment are located, the relationship between these components, and what resources are being used by data center equipment.
- Trellis Site Manager – reports the health of the infrastructure including environmental conditions to data center personnel, enabling them to recognize and resolve conditions that impact infrastructure availability and system performance.
- Trellis Change Planner – works together with Trellis Inventory Manager to ensure that installs, moves and decommissions of equipment are planned, tracked and communicated to team members in a consistent manner
- Trellis Energy Insight – calculates total data center energy consumption, electrical costs and power usage effectiveness (PUE)/data center infrastructure efficiency (DCiE) value. Having this information at their fingertips allows data center managers to understand how infrastructure changes impact energy efficiency and, subsequently, the bottom line.
Hassell said he anticipates that customers for Trellis will come from either IT or facilities. He notes that the UMG hardware and Trellis software work together, but are separate products. Some cloud computing companies are interested in using the appliance to aggregate data for use with proprietary platforms.