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Top 5 Questions From the Edge Computing Webinar Answered

Posted by RJ Tee on Jul 24, 2017 2:19:29 PM

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You asked, we answered.  During our highly anticipated webinar last week, "Delivering Resilience and Uptime at the Edge," our speakers were asked a few questions in regards to the challenges presented by edge computing, their views on its future development, as well as how Server Technology's portfolio of products will address its demands.  

Here are the top 5 questions answered by our speakers:

1.  Bearing in mind that edge computing can take place in many different types of environments, what are some of the specific challenges that are unique to different sites? 

(Answered by Marc Cram, Director OEM and Global Accounts, Server Technology)  Let’s think about the environment in a telco hut, which may be adjacent to homes, a field or a roadside and you may have AC power or solar power or a UPS, all within the one facility and any part of that infrastructure may go down at any time due to a number of different circumstances. As a result, you need to have something that interacts with all of the various systems and has the ability to report status and to facilitate as rapid a recovery as possible. In addition, you want a system that can monitor the IT infrastructure in the building that will tell you whether you need to provide reset capability to that remote infrastructure.

 

2.  What are the features that Server Technology’s solutions have in terms of tackling the challenges thrown up at the various edge locations? 

(Answered by Wolfgang Goretzki, Senior Solutions Manager, Server TechnologyIt requires a combination of intelligent and importantly switched rack PDUs, so you can remotely reset connected IT devices, combined with a power management solution we call Sentry Power Manager (SPM). Another important requirement is high power density. Our High-Density Outlet Technology (HDOT) offers the maximum number of outlets in the smallest PDU form factor available on the market. Other features are the autonomous switching capability we call smart load shedding, which allows us to switch devices on and off again based on temperature or power load triggers. There are also many other important features, such as alternating phase technology, which allows a balanced load on all phases and helps with better cable management and airflow at the rear of the cabinet. Also, the high operating temperature range of up to 60°C means the PDU can cope with the rising temperature from cooling air flow.

 

3.  We’ve had several questions around temperature and humidity monitoring PDU functionality, with end users curious as to how Server Technology’s sensor, expansion modules, and automation components combine to provide a full solution stack?

(Answered by Wolfgang Goretzki) We can connect two temperature humidity sensors to each rack PDU, so that would be four if you have an A feed and B feed. If you wish to meet the ASHRAE standard of 6 humidity sensors, you can add an environmental monitoring unit which allows for additional sensors, fully covering these needs. The environmental control unit would provide additional capabilities of connecting water sensors or dry contact, this can all be connected to the rack PDU, saving switched ports, saving IP addresses and reducing the cable clutter in the rack.

 

4.  How do you see the edge computing landscape developing into the future? Could you share a few thoughts with us?

(Answered by Prof Ian Bitterlin, Principal Consultant, Critical Facilities Consulting LtdAs every year goes by, we do more and more IT capacity, using less and less power. Using cell towers for edge a few years ago would not have been possible, as there would not have been enough space or power capability left over for putting in edge computing. But as we have gone on and the computing power has got greater and greater per watt, there is power left over and one cabinet in a cell tower can now do a huge amount of computing very quickly, enabling edge computing, by virtue of the fact that the computing capacity per watt increases, encouraging more and more cabinets to be squeezed into remote locations (remote from the larger data centers). And that by its very nature will mean that they will be predominantly unmanned locations and that intelligent PDUs and remote monitoring solutions will be crucial in maintaining uptime and resilience in an emergency state. Edge computing is a perfect storm that will grow almost as a function of the fact that we have our mobile devices with more compute capacity and usage for video and data, and this will naturally grow, and we need to be ready to face the growth with these types of remote management solutions that can be reset remotely.

 

5.  How does Server Technology plan to develop its product portfolio to address the demands of edge computing? 

(Answered by Marc Cram) Server Technology is known for being an innovator in the power space and we will continue to integrate support for anything that will drive robustness, that will drive resilience, that will drive quick recovery and by that you can expect to see higher density, increased temperature ranges, more outlets in the smallest form factor, more control, and support for more software access and intelligence built in.

 

Missed the webinar?  You can view the recording and download the slides here:

Watch the Webinar Recording and  Download the Presentation Slides

Topics: Edge Computing

Making Light Work of Configuring with Zero Touch Provisioning

Posted by RJ Tee on Jul 17, 2017 11:07:11 AM

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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.

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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.

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

So, You Say Your Data Center Is Green? Prove It!

Posted by RJ Tee on Jul 10, 2017 11:50:22 AM

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Demand has never been higher for eco-friendly products and services, and this holds true across just about every vertical market today.

According to a study from Unilever, there is now a $1 trillion market opportunity for companies that can successfully explain their sustainability practices to consumers.

For many companies — particularly technology providers — the data center is a natural place to start. After all, data centers have a reputation for being notorious energy hogs, often using as much power as a small city. So businesses like to flip the script and differentiate their services by focusing on steps they are taking to become more environmentally responsible.

Here’s the catch, though: Not all businesses today can back up their eco-friendly claims. And in the eyes of consumers, this is a huge offense.

Make no mistake about it, reporting misinformation about environmental reports or strategies is called “greenwashing.” If you are found guilty of this practice, it’s a sure-fire way to draw the ire of consumers and consumer advocacy groups alike.

So if you plan on highlighting the steps that your business is taking to become more environmentally conscious, then take our advice: Back up your claims with real-time and historical data center power and environmental monitoring services. Show consumers how you are reducing energy consumption over time, so there are no questions.  Need help finding the top tools for environmental monitoring?  Check out this blog.

Server Technology offers a wide range of data center power distribution units that can help with your reporting needs. These products will pull power usage metrics directly from your racks, and make them easily exportable and shareable with other team members.

To learn more about how Server Technology can help your business prove its energy efficiency policies, click here.

Topics: SPM, Sentry Power Manager, green data center, greenwashing

Location Is Only Half the Battle When Building a New Data Center

Posted by RJ Tee on Jul 5, 2017 2:19:57 PM

Just recently, Network World ran an interesting article explaining how Ireland is the best place to set up a data center in Europe.

The author pointed out how strong connectivity, affordable taxes and active government support make Ireland a premium destination for businesses seeking colocation and interconnection services.  

On a side note, you can learn more about how your colocation service can benefit from Server Technology's solutions here.

This got me thinking…

Sure, it’s important to consider all of these factors when building a new data center, or moving your facility to a new area.

But they are all irrelevant if you don’t take care of your own backend maintenance.

Who cares, in other words, if you open a facility in rural Ireland or in the middle of the desert if you’re wasting boatloads of money every day due to wasteful data center practices? You may save some money on something like tax benefits, but you could easily lose it due to waste.

Businesses can benefit from pro-data center markets like Ireland only when all backend systems and processes are fully tracked and optimized. You can’t expect to capitalize on favorable market conditions until you streamline your own network services.  

Server Technology offers essential data center power management technologies that can help with this process. Using Server Technology’s intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) and the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform, it’s possible to easily identify and eliminate power drain and start putting your energy to better use.

To learn more about how Server Technology can help your data center improve its operational efficiencies, click here

 

Topics: Affordable Data Center Locations, Sentry Power Manager, data center locations, intelligent PDUs

Schools: Use Summer to Overhaul Your Data Center Power Strategy

Posted by RJ Tee on Jun 27, 2017 8:11:00 AM

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Students may have left for the summer, but for data center professionals working for school systems and universities, the work is just getting started.

Summer is a time to reflect on how the data center performed during the previous year, for identifying areas that need improvement and for making critical adjustments before September rolls back around.

One issue that must be addressed during summer planning is data center power management. After all, power is a critical foundational element in the data center. But it’s also very expensive, and risky.

Most school systems today are operating on tight budgets, and cannot afford issues like:

  • Downtime: Unplanned power surges can lead to lengthy bouts of downtime for a school, knocking servers offline and requiring lengthy repairs. This can bring network operations to a halt, impacting everything from classroom connectivity to emergency communications systems.  You can learn more about Server Technology's uptime solutions here.
  • Zombie servers: Many school systems are running idle “zombie” servers, which will remain on all summer despite the fact that they are not needed. These zombie servers must be identified and managed to prevent waste.
  • Disasters: Servers can get very hot. If left unchecked, they can overheat and catch on fire. For this reason, environmental monitoring is very important.  Need a place to start looking into the top environmental monitoring tools?  Read this.

Server Technology offers a variety of hardware and software solutions to simplify data center power management. Using Server Technology’s cutting-edge PDUs, and the Sentry Power Management (SPM) platform, data center administrators can perform real-time monitoring and maintenance, environmental control and remote power management.

Click to Learn More

Topics: SPM Sentry Power Manager, uptime, environmental monitoring, zombie servers, education

Upset About the Paris Climate Agreement? Here’s Something You Can Do

Posted by RJ Tee on Jun 20, 2017 8:08:00 AM

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Business leaders on both sides of the political aisle are charged up about the fact that the U.S. has pulled out of the international Paris climate agreement.

Many companies — particularly those who have been heavily invested in making their data centers more energy efficient — feel like their efforts have been in vain. There is a sense of hopelessness about the state of the climate that is spreading across the country.

Here at Server Technology, though, we are reminding our customers that just because the U.S. is no longer part of the Paris climate agreement doesn’t mean that the struggle is over. In fact, several cities and states are now looking for ways to continue fighting climate change on their own regardless of the strategy that the federal government is now using.

Your business can continue fighting climate change with the help of Server Technology’s advanced data center power monitoring and management solutions.

Server Technology offers a variety of helpful products ranging from basic PDUs to smart and metered options. Server Technology also offers the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform, for real-time and historical power reporting.

Using these solutions, you can gain complete visibility and control over your data center’s power consumption.

Remember: If your business wants to truly go green, the fight starts in the data center. Data centers can use a remarkable amount of energy, and oftentimes a large percentage of power is wasted on “zombie” servers that run all the time even though they are not being actively used. The trick is to locate these zombie servers, determine how much energy they are using, and then determine a proper course of action.   (You can learn more about zombie servers here in this interview with Server Technology’s Senior Director of Software and Firmware Development.)  

So if you’re fed up about climate change, then you’ve come to the right place. To learn more about how Server Technology can help your business maintain a responsible and eco-friendly data center, click here.

Topics: energy efficiency, SPM, Sentry Power Manager, Data Center Efficiency

Don't Underestimate the Risk of Human Error in the Data Center

Posted by RJ Tee on Jun 13, 2017 8:15:00 AM

On May 27, a major international airline was forced to cancel more than 400 flights following a critical data center power outage.

According to Network World, the trouble started when an engineer disconnected a critical power supply at a London-based data center. When the engineer tried to reconnect the system, it generated a large power surge that in turn caused the outage. Sources indicate that the power-up was handled “in an unplanned and uncontrolled fashion.”

Altogether, 75,000 people were stranded at the airport following the incident. And the power surge also created a considerable amount of damage for the airline — to the tune of at least $112 million.

Of course, this is just one example of human error causing a major interruption at an organization. In fact, Network World pointed to a 2016 Ponemon Institute study claiming that human error is now the top cause of data center outages.

So for data center administrators, this begs the question:

What can you do to mitigate the risk of human error when handling sensitive data center power equipment?

Server Technology offers fail-safe power redundancy through its family of FSTS PDUs, which are available in smart, metered and switched models. These PDUs contain embedded branch circuit protection. Plus, managers can use FSTS PDUs to cycle power to outlets or groups for safe power-ups and power-downs.

View the Fail Safe Transfer Switch Data Sheet

Administrators can also use Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM) to control access at the rack level. This can prevent unauthorized or unqualified individuals from accidentally cutting off power to a particular rack.

Discover the FSTS Family of PDUs

Topics: SPM Sentry Power Manager, human error, Fail-Safe power redundancy, FSTS

How to Calculate Three Phase Power in the Data Center (And Why it’s Important)

Posted by RJ Tee on Jun 5, 2017 9:28:30 AM

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To illustrate the importance of calculating three phase power in the data center, let’s pretend you are going to cook a meal for a big group of people. As simple as it sounds, first you’ll need to figure out how many guests will be arriving so you don’t run out of food and wind up in a pinch.

In the data center, this planning process is called capacity planning. Only in this case, instead of feeding food to people, you are feeding electricity to servers.

Electricity is expensive, and dangerous; if you exceed your allotted power thresholds, you could wind up paying more and damaging your equipment or starting a fire. So before you approach an electrician about purchasing power breakers and cables, it’s important to have a clear idea of how much power each room will require.

So, how do you actually go about this?”

“To me the easiest way to solve three phase problems is to convert them to a single phase problem,” explains Steven McFayden of myElectricalEngineering. “Take a three phase motor (with three windings, each identical) consuming a given kW.  The kW per winding (single phase) has to be the total divided by 3.  Similarly a transformer (with three windings, each identical) supplying a given kVA will have each winding supplying a third of the total power.  To convert a  three phase problem to a single phase problem take the total kW (or kVA) and divide by three.”

Server Technology makes it easy to calculate three phase power in the data center, with the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform and purpose-built, three-phase power distribution units (PDUs).

To learn more, click here.

Topics: Sentry Power Manager, three phase, three phase power

Overcome Environmental Challenges at the Edge with Server Technology

Posted by RJ Tee on May 30, 2017 10:45:14 AM

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Many businesses today are exploring edge computing, a process that involves decentralizing core network infrastructure and pushing it closer to end users in localized markets. With edge computing, the goal is to reduce long haul data transmissions, resulting in improved performance and lower operating costs. It can also provide access to localized analytics, which can help businesses understand and respond more effectively to users’ needs.

There are, however, some critical logistical issues at play in edge environments that need to be considered in order to experience a successful deployment — one of the most important being changing environmental conditions in and around edge data centers.

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Here are some things that data center administrators need to be careful of:

Unfamiliar weather patterns: Opening an edge data center in a localized market will mean branching out into potentially unfamiliar climates. For instance, an organization based out of Texas could be in for a wild ride by opening up a data center in New England, where the weather can unexpectedly change by the hour—resulting in fluctuations in air pressure, temperature, and humidity. Data center administrators need to be able to respond immediately when environmental conditions change, as it can impact computing equipment.

Natural disasters:  Right now it’s still hard to tell how this year’s hurricane season will pan out. In the Central Pacific, for instance, there is a 40 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 20 percent chance that it will be below-normal. Altogether, at least 5 to 8 tropical storms are expected in the area. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure that backup power systems at edge facilities are fully functioning and ready for seamless failover in the event of a major storm.

Accidents: Last month, San Francisco suffered from a major power outage when a fire broke out in a substation. It was a stark reminder that accidents can happen when they are least expected, causing chaos in facilities that are unprepared. Heating and cooling systems can break. Sprinkler systems can accidentally go off. When such things happen, administrators need to be notified immediately to prevent major damage.

Server Technology provides switched rack power distribution units with embedded Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) functionality, for advanced power monitoring and management in edge data centers. In addition to providing real-time environmental and power monitoring, these racks can also provide historical environmental reports to aid in long-term planning.

Using Server Technology’s advanced PDUs, in conjunction with the Sentry Power Manger platform, data center administrators can actively respond to important environmental changes at the edge of the network while reducing downtime and controlling costs.

Want to Learn More? Register for Our Webinar - July 20, 2017

Topics: Sentry Power Manager, environmental monitoring, environmental alerts, Edge Computing

All About Alerts: How SPM Keeps You on the Top of Your Game

Posted by RJ Tee on May 24, 2017 11:39:57 AM

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When your alarm clock goes off in the morning, there’s a good chance you react with something short of enthusiasm. “But I just fell asleep!” you shout to no one in particular. You’re tempted to toss the thing across the room, but then you remember your alarm clock is your $700 smartphone that contains 1,000 times the computing power of the original Mercury space ships. So, you gently dismiss the alert and start the business of waking for the day.

Annoying as alarms can be, they’re also vital to our lives. Without them, we’d be late to work, miss important flights or forget about doctor’s appointments. The same philosophy has gone into Sever Technology’s Sentry Power Manager, our award-winning software that provides a single pane of glass through which to view all your data center smart rackmount PDUs, wherever they are in the world.

With the ability to remotely monitor and manage power and environmental conditions in your data center, SPM provides the ultimate in data center efficiency, proving to be a money-saver from the start. Here’s a look at some of Sentry Power Manager’s top alerts, reports, and tools:

SPM Reports in a Nutshell

  1. Energy Consumed Reports: This shows your data center’s total kilowatt usage and is invaluable when you’re tasked with overseeing efficiency and cost. You can choose the power type, outlet or infeed. SPM will show you this data grouped by location, cabinet, PDU or other customized views.
  2. Cabinet Redundancy Report: When you have A & B power feeds for PDUs within the same cabinet, this report shows users where the PDU is within acceptable safety limits and warns when power is exceeding these limits.
  3. Inventory Report: This shows you model numbers, serial numbers, power ratings, current firmware versions and more. This also reduces the amount of time needed to look up individual PDU information if you ever need to contact Server Technology’s customer support.
  4. Trending Reports: These reports aggregate a massive amount of data, including temperature, humidity, and power usage from your PDUs to predict future risks.
  5. Email Alerts: Create, save and schedule reports to be sent automatically via email. You can generate system reports on trends and email them to a pre-defined list of recipients. This is a huge time-saver and it ensures that critical information is being passed along to the right people in your organization.
  6. SNMP Trap Forwarding and Alarms: Set up real-time PDU status and alarm notification via dynamic reports (SNMP traps), which allows monitoring and outlet control over conditions such as humidity, power, and temperature.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Sentry Power Manager can do. Discover more features by taking it for a test drive with a free, 120-day trial. Then, visit our YouTube page to learn more about how to set up alerts and reports in Sentry Power Manager.

Topics: power reporting, Alerts, SPM