RagingWire: Monitoring As A Customer Magnet

With enterprise customers seeking granular management of their energy usage, detailed data on power is emerging as a selling point for Sacramento's RagingWire.

Energy monitoring systems may not be the most exciting part of a data center tour. But as a growing number of enterprise customers seek granular management of their energy usage, the availability of detailed data on power is emerging as a selling point.

"We're seeing monitoring as a key (business) enabler for us," said James Kennedy, Facilities Manager for RagingWire Enterprise Solutions in Sacramento, Calif. "We have every branch circuit monitored. We bill some clients on actual power utilization on conditioned power. Our data has been used to justify virtualization projects."

RagingWire isn't the only provider to bill customers based on actual usage, rather than flat monthly fee. CRG West has also adopted this approach, which provides an incentive for customers to be energy efficient, which can in turn allow providers to get more mileage out of their utility power.

Kennedy described RagingWire's approach to its data center operations in a presentation Wednesday at the Next Generation Data Center conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. RagingWire was founded in May 2000 by several veterans of Photronics Inc., and is privately held. The company has been in the Inc. 500 and has reported 16 consecutive profitable quarters, with revenue growing from $9.7 million in 2003 to $25.7 million in 2006.

RagingWire has built its data center in three phases, which has allowed "just-in-time capital deployment." The company bought a 200,000 square foot facility, but started with a first phase of 27,000 square feet of raised floor space supporting power loads of 100 watts per square foot. As that space approached capacity, RagingWire added a second phase of 34,000 square feet of space capable of 120 watts per square foot.

The final phase of 46,000 square feet was engineered to support 200 watts per square foot throughout, with a four-foot raised floor allowing for additional cooling capacity.

Last year RagingWire built a 69kV power substation with a total capacity of 46 megawatts on its property, and is in the process of building a second data center facility adjacent to its existing site.

As its growth accelerated in early 2007, RagingWire formed strategic partnerships with its major equipment suppliers, including Emerson Network Power (UPS and CRACs), Schneider Electric's Square D (circuit breakers), Johnson Controls' York unit (chillers) and Cummins Inc. (generators). "For us it was about account management