Sponsored: Designing Data Center Remote Power Management and Monitoring

Data Center Knowledge

February 22, 2017

5 Min Read
Sponsored: Designing Data Center Remote Power Management and Monitoring
Electrical switchgear

The idea is very simple – how do you manage and optimize your power requirements if you can’t see the metrics? As we know, data center environments and infrastructure services will only continue to evolve and expand. Business needs are the drivers for technological innovation and cloud computing is certainly helping push organizations forward. As more IT environments see the benefits of the hybrid data center model, administrators will need to learn how to properly size, manage, and deploy across IT platforms.

Already, new data center services are pushing the capacity of technologies like cloud computing to the next level. In fact, a 2015 NRDC report indicates that data center electricity consumption is projected to increase to roughly 140 billion kilowatt-hours annually by 2020. This is the equivalent annual output of 50 power plants, costing U.S. businesses $13 billion annually in electricity bills. This is why data center operations are more critical than ever before. And, what makes a data center run efficiently and resiliently? Rack and Power Intelligence.

Data center operations rely more and more on data. Data center managers need to be able to oversee everything that happens in the white space, and they use intelligent rack solutions to provide the maximum amount of insight to assist their decision-making process, especially regarding power consumption inside the rack.

This means administrators must examine cost and availability as critical design factors. Businesses are asking managers to ensure uptime, availability, and intelligent power management at all times, even as they reduce the cost of operating the equipment. These are the keys to a successful IT operation as it has become critical to rely on intelligent PDU hardware to achieve success.

Very recently, Server Technology added POPS (Per Outlet Power Sensing) to its industry leading and award winning HDOT PRO2 Alternating Phase Rack PDUs. This product expands upon the most innovative power product on the market, with solutions for density, capacity planning and uptime in the modern data center. But, the technology doesn’t stop there. It also directly integrates with monitoring and management solutions:

  • Creating Intelligent Power Management. Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) Switched technology provides the flexibility needed for all data centers and remote sites, including power requirements for high amperage and high-voltage, Branch Circuit Protection, and SNMP traps and email alerts – including current monitoring. When paired with Sentry Power Manager (SPM), Server Technology’s award-winning power management solution, Switched POPS technology provides the most detailed power data within the cabinet.

ServerTech has many success stories to share, but let’s focus on one case study that illustrates PDU intelligence with next-generation power management:

  • Client: University of Florida - Health

  • Key Challenges: The UF Health Shands facilities located in Gainesville has grown along with the changes in population and medical technology. Joseph Keena, Manager for Datacenter Operations for Shands, has spent the last 10 plus years diligently working to keep ahead of the increasing demands placed on the Shands IT infrastructure. Their UF Health IT facilities have grown from one datacenter hall to four during that time, and Keena has been there every moment to ensure that the equipment is able to run today’s compute load and meet the expanding requirements placed on the systems therein. Overall challenges included:

    • Third party access to the datacenter

    • Knowing what it costs to run a system

    • Custom power solution for new rack

    • Collecting environmental information from the datacenter

  • The Solution: Keena first began working with Server Technology (STI) about 10 years ago. He selected STI after evaluating a number of power solutions from other vendors. He was intrigued at the time by the potential of remotely monitored (Smart) and remotely managed (Switched) power for his datacenter. Using Smart and Switched products enabled Keena and the Shands team to access their rack power distribution units (PDUS) remotely to gather both power and environmental data. Today,Keena's team has gone a step further by taking advantage of the individual outlet power measuring capability of STI’s Switched POPS family of PDUS. Joseph first sought the ability to do reports on what was going on with power in his datacenter. UF Health Shands IT was using a competitive software package as a data collection tool that featured a power management plug in, and STI was one of the manufacturers supported. When the power management plug in support went away, it became a logical choice for Keena to adopt the SPM power management software from STI.

Adding the environmental probes offered by Server Technology to his cabinets enables Joseph to see what the temperature and humidity of his datacenter look like at a granular, rack by rack level, just as he can with his power. And getting data from the probes doesn’t cost Joseph any additional Ethernet ports – the probes plug directly into his power strips.

  • Business Outcomes and Benefits: Joseph sees the utility in the future of using Alternating Phase Switched POPS combined with SPM to be able to determine what it costs the hospital to run each individual server in the datacenter. “There is value in the data that you collect,” says Joseph. “And alternating phase power lets you cable and balance without re-cabling between the sections. It’s a beautiful thing.” Other big benefits include:

    • Control

    • Reporting

    • Integration, ease of use

    • Uptime

Change is inevitable, and data centers should be designed with this reality in mind. Companies that cannot shift with the times or trends because of antiquated technology and infrastructure lose business to more agile competitors.

Power management solutions play a fundamental role in implementing more versatile data centers that can quickly evolve to address the demands and challenges of the future. As in the case study example, the organization was able to make intelligent decisions around their power requirements both in the present and for the near future. This level of power and data center integration not only impacts operations, but also directly improves the business process. A healthy data center enables a healthy and competitive business. Powerful PDU designs, when coupled with power management solutions, help organizations control their assets and identify where there are growing power requirements.

This article was brought to you by Server Technology. Please visit their solutions page for more information. 

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