<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-WHST8N" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Stay Powered Blog

The Advantages of an Uncluttered Rack, Part II

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 20, 2018 10:16:39 AM

dense server racks with cluttered cables
 

As mentioned in our previous post on Alternating Phase rack PDUs, many of us at Server Technology (including myself) like to talk about the benefits of our approach to handling three-phase power distribution within the rack. While the subject of three phase is de rigueur in the fashionable world of high density, there is a lot to talk about above and beyond the distribution of large amounts of power in a very small footprint.

Wow, I didn’t think I would ever hear myself say that there is more to talk about than power.

In our previous post, we talked about Alternating Phase PDUs and their ability to help manage, in addition to power, other space and cooling issues found in the typical data center. These included: a) unwanted heat load from unbalanced electrical phases, b) difficult-to-manage communications and power cabling in the back of the rack, and c) increased risk involved with move/add/change work inside a rack with that difficult-to-manage communications and power cabling.

In this post, we would like to shift our attention to another set of advantages that come with Alt Phase, all of which fall under the all-important category of cost.

Build Your Own Configure to Order Alt-Phase HDOT PDU in 4 Easy Steps - 90% Ship Within 10 Days

The first is the cost of space itself. Within an unmanaged three phase rack, there is a tendency to have unused U space because of neglect or fear. In the case of the former, it is simply too difficult to add more IT gear to an already messy rack. In the latter case, there is simply too much risk associated with the number of unknowns lurking in the back of an unmanaged rack. The path of least resistance is to find a safer haven for that new device in another rack. Over time, new equipment leads to new racks, and more racks consume more real estate within your room.

The second is the cost advantage of building out well-organized racks from day one, particularly if you subscribe to the rack and stack methodology. If your data center tends to be populated by racks that are pre-cabled by third-party integrators, then Alternating Phase PDUs make that job much easier. Shorter cable runs help reduce the cost not only of materials, but of labor as well. A simplified rack infrastructure built with a streamlined mapping process costs less to produce.

For more information our Alternating Phase products, take a look at our Alt-Phase White Paper Executive Summary, or head over to the PDU Buying Guide. At Server Technology, we are your Alternating Phase power experts.

click to build your own alternating phase HDOt PDU

Topics: HDOT, Alternating phase, alt-phase

The Advantages of an Uncluttered Rack, Part I

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 15, 2018 2:52:00 PM

messy-cabled-data-center-racks

Alternating phase power distribution technology from Server Tech is one of my favorite subjects. It has benefits that extend well beyond the electrical distribution world. In fact, it is one of the few power products whose secondary benefits meet and sometimes exceed the fundamental purpose of a three-phase distribution product. I discussed it in a previous post.

Server Tech’s Alternating Phase PDUs may well set the new standard for the phrase, “the gift that keeps on giving.”

alt-phase-pdus-the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving

Every data center, from the humble corporate server room to the latest and greatest hyperscale offering nestled on an ice shelf in Greenland, is tasked with minimizing risk by balancing the demands of space, power, and cooling. While we at Server Technology tend to focus on the power leg of that three-legged stool through our rack PDU products, it is with the cooling leg that an Alt-Phase PDU really stands out.

How can an in-rack PDU take on such a weighty role and then address risk?

In most data center environments, cooling is a challenge with origins inside the rack. One source of the problem is imbalanced loads. As equipment is added to the rack, either on day one or after it has been installed, it could be powered from a branch that is already loaded. As these loads become more imbalanced, additional heat load is created by the IT equipment. Not only does this decrease your efficiency, but it compounds cooling demands by artificially inflating the heat load of the rack.

Another common issue is related and exacerbates the original one. I’m talking about excess cabling at the back of the rack. As if managing the communications wiring were not headache enough, add to the mix the thick power cables whose plugs need to be routed to different elevations of the rack in order to find an open receptacle. With Server Technology’s Alt Phase PDU, that open receptacle is now adjacent to the IT gear, which means far shorter power cables traveling an even shorter distance to find a home. This means no more woven mesh of power cables to act as a curtain trapping the heat being rejected at the back of the server equipment.

traditional-vs-alt-phase-pdus_STI
It’s like a breath of fresh air for your equipment.

Now we arrive at the issue of risk management. As the power and communications cabling gets more entangled, it becomes more difficult to complete move, add and change work within the rack. This makes the task of documentation more difficult, and it also makes it more likely that removing equipment will become a risky activity. Keeping cabling close to the source device takes the guesswork out of removing the old and installing the new.

For more information our Alternating Phase products, take a look at our Alt-Phase White Paper Executive Summary, or head over to the PDU Buying Guide. At Server Technology, we are your Alternating Phase power experts.

click to build your own alternating phase HDOt PDU

Topics: cooling, Alternating phase, heat, load balancing, Data Center Density, alt-phase

On the Benefits of Alternating Phase

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 9, 2018 10:49:00 AM

HDOT-Beauty-Close-Up_RGB_greyEdit

Originally Posted on Oct 10, 2017 - Updated Feb 09, 2018

We’ve extolled the virtues of single phase 60A power distribution to the rack.  But there are still may situations in which a three phase deployment is required to power the needs of racks that consume 12kW or more.  In other words, situations that begin with ‘high’ and end with ‘density.’

The tricky part of three phase power is the accompanying balancing act.

We don’t mean from a financial or breaker panel standpoint, or even being able to walk a tightrope.  Just the simple chore of making sure the phases are equally loaded.  That’s easy enough to say about monolithic deployments of IT gear, but much tougher in real-world applications with multiple device types all cozied up in 42U of space.

To be sure, the issue of equally loaded phases is not just a matter of additional heat load or power inefficiency.  Poorly balanced circuits can overheat and breakers can trip.  And ‘trip’ is not a word we like to hear in the mission-critical world.

Now, here is where it gets interesting.

Server Technology takes a unique approach to the placement of the outlets on the power strip with a method called ‘Alternating Phase.’  Traditional PDUs have the X, Y, and Z phases grouped together:  X,X,X; Y,Y,Y; Z,Z,Z.  In an Alternating Phase configuration, those phases are grouped X,Y,Z; X,Y,Z; X,Y,Z.  Plugging into a different phase is then a matter of inches, not a long power cord run to the bottom of the rack.  To get a visual, take a look at our Technical Note to see pictures of the resulting differences between the two methodologies.

Want to learn more about Alternating Phase?  Take a deeper dive with this white paper.

Certainly Alternating Phase outlets are more difficult to wire inside the PDU itself, right?  Server Technology has tackled that problem in a unique way.  Instead of using wiring, we keep the form factor of the PDU small by distributing power via a multi-layer circuit board to each of the phases.  Our patented approach also solves two other potential issues:  heat gain within the rack PDU, and the potential for human error during the manufacturing process.

Don’t take it from me.  Look for yourself at our HDOT Alternating Phase Flyer, or venture over to our Online PDU Building Tool to generate your own unique alternating phase rack PDU.  For help getting started, look at all the available PDU features from Server Technology.

click to build your own alternating phase HDOt PDU

Topics: HDOT, build your own PDU, 3 Phase power, three phase, Alternating phase, load balancing, three phase power, BYOPDU, alt-phase

Making Light Work of Configuring with Zero Touch Provisioning

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 6, 2018 10:05:00 AM

HERO-ZTP-whitepaper_v03.jpg

Originally posted Jul 17, 2017 11:07:11 AM - Updated Feb 06, 2018

It has recently come to my attention that not all intelligent, cabinet-level power distribution units are smart.

Now, don’t get me wrong – we’ve come a long way since the days of bulky, black, power bars that were available in black or, well, black.

More modern power distribution units are chock full of features, colors, and options for voltage, monitoring, and controls that would rival the most sophisticated switchgear available.  But when it comes time to plug these sophisticated cabinet-level units into your data center’s network, eyes glaze over and thoughts wander at the prospect of manually configuring those new units.  Each. And. Every. One.

jackie-chan-meme-too-much-work.jpg

What if this process truly could be plug and play?

Well, it can.  The engineers at Server Technology have developed the ability for new PDU’s to be provisioned uniformly and automatically.  If you use a server featuring dynamic host configuration protocol (DCHP) on your network, and store your user settings on a separate trivial file transport (TFTP) server on the same network, new Server Technology equipment will be provisioned automatically. 

Watch the Intro to ZTP Video

Now, there’s nothing trivial about that.

Using the moniker ‘Zero Touch Provisioning,’ or ZTP, any PRO1 or PRO2 Server Tech PDU can be set up in a flash.  And the same ZTP feature can be used to provide updates or configuration changes to all your power distribution units simultaneously.   Now, users of all sizes can appreciate that kind of flexibility.

There’s a great white paper with details about how it all works.

To learn more about how Server Technology can simplify the deployment of your networked PDU solution, click here.

NEW WHITE PAPER  Learn how you can save time and effort configuring  your PRO series PDU with Zero Touch Provisioning

Topics: PRO2, PRO@, Zero Touch Provisioning, ZTP

Groundhog Day at Server Technology

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 30, 2018 7:00:00 AM

groundhog.png

On February 2, 2018, Server Technology will join, at least in spirit, the crowd gathered at Gobbler’s Knob outside Punxsutawney, PA. There, Groundhog Day celebrants will await the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who will supposedly determine the length of winter by his ability to see his own shadow.

We will also be joining countless others in their annual viewing of the Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day.

As movie fans know, Bill Murray plays a wretched reporter named Phil Connors, who finds himself stuck reliving the same day over and over again. Over the course of the film, which takes place over a ten-year period of real-time, Connors eventually redeems himself. Not only does he win the heart of Andie McDowell’s character Rita, but he also becomes a better person in the process. While much has been written about the spiritual and philosophical virtues of the classic comedy, the thing that strikes us is the idea that making improvements is a daily commitment.

“It's just still once a year, isn't it?”

One thing we love about the theme of the movie is that it is in line with our continuous commitment to quality. When we say, “We are your power strategy expert,” it means that we are dedicated to the day-in, day-out work of constantly improving our craft. Quality is a combination of innovation, value, reputation, and people. It is more than a decision to do well or produce at a high level, but a commitment to moving the needle toward excellence a little every day.

Learn why our customers choose Server Technology time and time again.

“Well, what if there were no tomorrow? There wasn't one today!”

We have learned that there are a handful of challenges that our customers face, and our daily resolve to surmount them shows in the innovative products that we produce. From power density to secure monitoring, uptime and capacity planning to reporting, our power distribution units address the core issues that we’ve identified through our close work with members of the industry. Day after day, we focus our efforts are on solving these core issues for our customers.

“We could do whatever we want.”

Compared to our competitors, our customers recognize us as ‘highly differentiated’ in the best-of-breed, support, and innovation categories. ‘Ease of use’ and ‘integration with current infrastructure’ are the top two reasons why customers buy our Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platforms.

If a smile comes to your face when you hear Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe,” then you are one of us. While we are not stuck in the same day, we are totally committed to taking each day and using it to make Server Technology just a little bit better. If you are interested in why, head here for a Server Technology case study about the reasons why 100% of customers would select us for a future project.

Click to try our PDU selection wizard

 

Topics: Why Server Technology, groundhog

Uptime and the Job of Predicting the Unpredictable

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 25, 2018 12:19:20 PM

Uptime-predict-unpredictable.jpg

Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? If one were to take the second half of the title of this blog at face value, it would be. A thing that escapes prediction is by definition unpredictable, and it would be a fool’s errand to spend time finding a thing that is impossible to find.

You might find yourself in a perilous predicament that impedes your prosperity. Or something like that.

But besides the catchy title and having some fun with alliteration, we would like to take a moment to recognize the men and women who indeed seem to do the impossible. You know who you are.

You’re in charge of a data center.

And if you are, you likely share with us the amusement of keeping up with the latest trends in our industry. By amusing, we do not mean that they should not be taken seriously; on the contrary, as an industry we tend to do a pretty good job of tracking future trends. But amid the excitement and promises of things like Artificial Intelligence in the Internet of Things, we tend to forget that there is something more basic and less newsworthy that we are all aiming for.

That would be uptime.

If you have ever experienced standing in a data center when the power goes out, you know that there is nothing more unsettling than the sound of silence in your facility. You instantly miss the gentle rumble of the mechanical systems delivering cold air to your cold aisles, just as quickly as you are aware of the sound of the beeps coming from inconsolable power protection gear and frightened server equipment.

Yes, downtime is a scary place, which is probably why nobody likes to blog about it. One of the best ways to keep from having to go there, both literally and figuratively, is through the intelligent features found in Server Technology rack PDUs.

  • Real-time environmental alerts: manage environmental challenges like heat and humidity with rack-level monitoring.
  • Capacity planning: know how new equipment will impact existing loads at the rack or row level.
  • Consumption data: get power draw information so that you can keep a close watch on your facility at all times.
  • Remote management: make critical adjustments at any time, even from outside the facility.

At Server Technology, our goal is to help you stay online even if things are predictably unpredictable. For more on how we do that, head over to our HDOT PDU configuration tool to learn more.

Learn why proactive power management is key to data center initiatives.

Topics: uptime, intelligent PDUs, smart, data center uptime, Switched PDU

The Rack PDU’s Role in Battling Cyber Threats

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 23, 2018 1:47:25 PM

COVERIMG-Security_v2.jpg

One of the ongoing issues facing data center managers is cybersecurity, and the rack PDU may play a surprising role in the protection of the IT systems housed within the mission critical facility. While threats of intrusion are as old as the IMSAI 8080 from the movie WarGames, the intelligent power strip is a surprising new actor in the ongoing security battle.

Shall we play a game?

There is a lot written these days about artificial intelligence, or AI, and its role in the data center, including some recent discussions in this column. Some see in AI the possibility of automating routine maintenance and operating tasks. For others, AI is the means for collecting and processing facility-related data in volumes that would be impossible for humans to complete. The thinking behind this application is that a future form of AI will apply algorithms to all of the data collected to detect trends and promote self-healing within the data center.

Much of the software development effort today falls under the category of data center optimization. New programs promise to improve the performance of the electrical and mechanical infrastructure by dynamically linking its operation to the activity cycles of the equipment that is processing away in the racks. In fact, optimizing the infrastructure to the load is the promise of DCIM; predictively doing so is the promise of AI.

Somewhere along the way, it has been noted that there was a direct correlation between IT equipment performance data and the signs of a cyber-attack. As it turns out, the IT hardware itself provides clues that it is under attack, but these clues are difficult for humans to detect. Abnormal increases in processing activity, equipment temperature, and power draw all point to the possibility of nefarious use.

So, what does that have to do with a rack power distribution unit?

We at Server Technology do not think that it is far-fetched to envision a situation in which one of our Switched or Smart power distribution units is the data collection gateway for rack-level security. Our Sentry Power Manager (SPM) software is already designed to collect information about rack temperatures, access, and outlet level power consumption. This data, collected and monitored in real time, can provide a baseline against which AI security software can identify change-of-state conditions for any of the equipment in the room.

It’s interesting to think that something as simple as a rack-mount PDU can provide the clues needed to halt a cyber thief in his tracks. At Server Technology, we are here not only to help you stay powered and get ahead of threats.

 

CTA-view-intelligent-pdus.jpg

 

Topics: SPM, Security, intelligent PDUs, data center security, Switched PDU, smart PDU

Three Immutable Data Center Predictions for 2018

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 22, 2018 7:15:00 AM

datacenter-crystal-ball.png

Well, it is that time of year again. With the holidays behind us and a new year dawning, industry analysts and pundits are providing their predictions for our ever-changing, mission critical, data-driven industry. From DCK to IDC to that predictable predictor Gartner, the blogosphere is filled with forward-looking statements about the data center industry.

We thought we would give you a break from the usual Big Data-driven, research-intensive predictions to provide some fun and (we hope) safe predictions for the future of the data center, at least for the year 2018.

As you can imagine, our predictions come from a decidedly electrical perspective. Our own experience, including input from our research and development team, informs the three predictions that we would like to share with you now.

1. IT equipment will continue to be powered by electricity

Folks, we wanted to come out swinging. For all of the bold predictions in the industry about how we will compute in the future, from cloud adoption and cloud balance to discussions about the advent of serverless computing, the fact of the matter is that we will still need to use computers to do all of the data crunching. Absent from the industry predictions is any sort of talk about powering those devices without the use of electricity, and for good reason. Our own research indicates that it is simply impossible to provide power to IT equipment without the careful supply of electrons to said devices.

2. Power will still be distributed to an equipment rack

Another prediction for 2018: the IT equipment that processes, stores, and reports the data the modern world demands still has to have a place to live. Whether these devices are at the edge or supporting the core, they will likely be contained in some sort of equipment rack. As such, our research indicates that the supply of electrons will still need to be brought to the rack, and once there, distributed to multiple devices.

3. In-rack power distribution units will be the preferred means of distributing power once inside the rack

We have saved our best and boldest prediction for last, and it is this: the rack mount PDU is here to stay. Whether supporting high or low-density applications, there is no substitute for a rack power strip to supply electronic devices. And now for something you probably already knew: Server Technology is the leading provider of rack mount power strips in the industry, and exists solely to provide devices that deliver, manage, and monitor the electricity that drives your IT enterprise.

To catch a glimpse of what’s in our store for 2018, go to our PDU configuration tool. Server Technology, now a part of the Legrand family of companies, is proud to help you to stay powered as you head into the future.

Click to try our PDU selection wizard

Topics: data center power solutions, data center power delivery

HDOT Family Welcomes Per Outlet Power Sensing PDUs

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 17, 2018 7:25:00 AM

 HEADER-POPS-HDOT.png

Originally posted Mar 28, 2017, updated Jan 16, 2018

Just in case you didn't know, our award winning HDOT PDUs contain embedded Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) with device-level power monitoring, making this the most innovative product line yet.

Every data center should seriously consider using HDOT PDUs — with +/- 1 percent billable-grade accuracy — to drive efficiencies, maximize uptime and slash operating costs.

So, what makes POPS so remarkable?

Data center operators can use this feature to measure voltage, current, apparent power, active power, crest favor and power factor at the outlet level. Plus, warnings and alarms can be set up to monitor current, power, and power factor for both low and high values. This can help to reduce power faults, resulting in a safer and more effective data center.

Of course, customers who are familiar with the rest of the HDOT product line will find all of the same great features in this product. HDOT PDUs still come with full switching capabilities (for remote power toggling), alternating power distribution (for distributing power on a per-receptacle basis) and PRO2 architecture (our proprietary hardware and firmware platform offering modern security protocols, Zero Touch Provisioning, and advanced protection for ensuring system reliability and uptime.

Learn how to get the most out of your HDOT Alt-Phase PRO2 Switched POPS PDU

PDU in this white paper.

One of the great parts about this product line, it should be noted, is that it’s fully-customizable. Server Technology offers a special Build-Your-Own PDU feature, with an updated — and simplified — four step configuration process. 

Implementing POPS into the HDOT PDU product line was a true engineering feat, and it’s something that everyone should experience.

Build Your Own HDOT PDU

Topics: HDOT, Per Outlet Power Sensing, POPs, HDOT Switched POPS, BYOPDU

Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Own Data Center

Posted by Josh Schaap on Jan 16, 2018 2:05:00 PM

beyond-the-servers

Originally posted May 8, 2015, Updated Jan 16, 2018

This is your data center speaking. You think you know me pretty well, right? After all, you spend almost all of your time around me. Take a harder look, however, and you’ll see that there are some important things about me that you aren’t aware of! 

Ask yourself the following questions:

How many devices do I have?

Take a guess; I’ll bet you’re off by at least 15 or 20 pieces of hardware that have gotten buried while you’ve been expanding. You keep adding new components like servers, racks and switches; but you don’t monitor any of these devices in real-time. As a result, you’ve lost track and many of the devices are now sucking up power without your knowledge and steering you ever-closer to network capacity.

Learn how to get rid of zombie servers today.


What is my ideal temperature?

I’ve been running at a cool 65 degrees ever since I was built. Did you know, however, that I am capable of safely operating at a temperature of about 15 degrees warmer? No, you didn’t, because you never experiment with different settings! If you did, you might find that you could significantly reduce your monthly expenses by raising the temperature on your cooling system

How much power do I use on a daily basis?

You know how much you pay for electricity. But you don’t know how much power each one of your devices actually uses. Server Technology's smart and switched rack mount PDUs, will provide this information: see every device on your network, and how much power each one is using in real-time. So, it’s time to get to know me better. After all, I’m one of the most critical parts of your entire organization. So I suggest you check out Server Technology’s advanced line of intelligent PDU's to see how you can protect me.

Click to try our PDU selection wizard


Topics: data center power

Get In Touch

Latest Posts

Follow Me