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Free Sentry Power Manager Trial Just Got A Lot Better

Posted by Calvin Nicholson on Sep 30, 2016 9:41:51 AM

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Maybe you’ve heard us mention our award-winning software, Sentry Power Manager, which gives you a birds-eye view of your data center’s power metrics in an easy-to-configure, simple-to-use browser window. Maybe you’ve even heard that we offer free trials of SPM for you to evaluate in your data center. But you almost certainly haven’t heard that we’ve expanded the trial period along with the number of node licenses for the duration of the trial. Consider yourself officially out of excuses to try SPM.

Click to Download a 120-Day Free Trial of SPM

First, a little background on SPM.

Designed with data center managers in mind, Sentry Power Manager is tightly coupled with Server Technology PDUs to measure power usage and other critical performance indicators. This data can then be rolled up into automatic trend reports to be shared with other key data center stakeholders.  

SPM is:

  1. An award-winning data center management solution
  2. Easy to configure
  3. Packed with versatile reporting features
  4. Great for capacity planning
  5. Easy to integrate with other systems
  6. The right tool to help you get ahead

For a limited time, we’re offering an expanded free trial to first-time SPM users. This trial includes a 120-day evaluation period (vs. 90 days previously), and an unlimited number of node IP licenses. This means you can run a fully-functional version of Sentry Power Manager in your data center for three months to really put it through its paces. For example, if you have 200 pairs of PDUs on your data center floor, you’ll be able to track the power usage of each and every one of them from now until the first of the year. Pretty sweet deal, no?

 Still not sure if SPM is right for your data center? Keep this in mind: SPM is built to scale within any sized data center, from a single PDU to thousands. Featuring three-phase load balancing, SNAP configuration, frequent software updates with new features and full support, SPM is undoubtedly right for your data center. Try it out free today. We know you’ll love it.

Topics: Sentry Power Manager

Power Management: The First Step in Data Center Sustainability

Posted by Josh Schaap on Sep 28, 2016 3:07:52 PM

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Google Data Center

It’s never a good feeling reading about a truly green data center, and then realizing just how far behind your own data center ecosystem is in its sustainability efforts.

Take Google, for instance. On September 14, Google announced a new commitment to achieving “Zero Waste to Landfill” in its data centers. As Google Technical Program Manager Rachel Futrell explained on the Google Green Blog, Google is striving to divert waste away from its data centers in a sustainable way. Six of its 14 sites are now achieving 100 percent diversion rates. Globally, Google is now diverting at least 86 percent of waste away from landfills. And Google wants to improve these figures!

“Sustainability doesn’t end with a really low PUE for our data centers,” Fuller stated.

That’s pretty impressive. But in a way, it’s like sitting next to the kid in class who is getting straight A’s and is volunteering for extra credit assignments. Your business, on the other hand, is using as much power as a small city.

We feel your pain.

PUE, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, stands for power usage effectiveness. It’s a metric used to determine overall data center power efficiency. A PUE measurement of 2.0 means that for every watt of power consumed in the data center, an extra watt is deployed for power or resource distribution purposes.

It’s important to realize that Google has an average PUE of about 1.12, which means that almost all of its electricity is put towards computing. Most data centers hover closer to 2.0.

How is Google able to attain such a low rating? It’s simple: Google tracks and measures power consumption over time, and uses the data it collects to continuously reduce its footprint.

In other words, Google has mastered power management. And now, the company can focus on higher-level sustainability efforts without having to worry about being labeled a “green washer,” or a company that claims to be sustainable but cannot provide evidence.

Here’s the good news:

You can master PUE in your data center, too, with the help of Server Technology’s Per Outlet Power Sensing power distribution units (POPS PDUs) and Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform.

Here’s how it works:

Server Technology’s PDUs can report total power draw within each cabinet in your data center. Power draw can be tracked in real time, and on a historical basis. This data can then easily be compared with your facility’s total power draw. Once sufficient data is collected and analyzed, you can then determine an appropriate course of action for reducing total power consumption.

SPM makes it easy to understand the metrics it collects through its versatile reporting system. Within SPM, it’s possible to set schedules for viewing metrics such as your carbon footprint and total energy consumption.

So don’t wait any longer to “go green.” Click here to get started. 

 

Topics: data center power, PUE, power usage efficiency

Consolidating Your Data Centers? Focus on Power Management

Posted by Erik Stabile on Sep 19, 2016 9:16:12 AM

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The U.S. Department of Defense is currently consolidating and closing hundreds of data centers, in an effort to reduce overall IT-related operating expenses.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the agency is also rationalizing its applications and systems portfolios as it prepares to migrate workloads into core and enterprise data centers.

The overhaul is part of the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, a plan implemented in 2010 to reduce hardware, software and operations costs within federal data centers. The initiative also mandates agencies integrate efficient computing platforms, increase security measures and use more green IT solutions.

What’s more, the DoD has an internal target goal to close 60 percent of its data centers by 2018. At the end of 2015, only 18 percent were closed. And last year, its budget exceeded $36 billion.

So will the consolidation effort actually result in cost savings for the agency?

In the short term, consolidation should help. By strategically closing certain facilities and eliminating some of its servers, it’s to be expected that the DoD will immediately slash costs and reduce waste.

To achieve significant long term  IT cost savings, however, it will require one major component: Comprehensive, real-time and historical power usage data for each data center cabinet.

Here’s why:

The DoD is a massive department. Its scope expands well beyond the walls of the Pentagon. As the DoD explained in a report, if the agency were a corporation it would be at the top of the Fortune 100. The DoD is in charge of overseeing 1.3 million active military personnel, as well as 742,000 civilian personnel. Plus, it has 826,000 members in the National Guard and Reserve forces. In fact, it’s one of the largest employers in the U.S.

“DoD also manages an inventory of installations and facilities, and its physical plant is vast by any standard, comprising more than several hundred thousand individual buildings and structures located at more than 5,000 different locations or sites,” the report explained. “When all sites are added together, the Department utilizes over 30 million acres of land.”

This is an organization, in other words, with tens of thousands of servers and millions of computers. And over the next few years, the DoD – like every other organization – will be experiencing a massive influx of data and devices. So while its footprint may be shrinking, it’s still important to monitor server  workloads on a regular basis. If left unchecked, data center operations could easily spiral out of control again within the next decade – completely negating its current effort to scale down operations.

The DoD – as well as any organization that is looking to reduce costs and improve efficiencies – should strongly consider implementing solutions for tracking and measuring data center power usage.

Server Technology can help with this initiative.

Server Technology’s smart and switched power distribution units (PDU) contain Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) technology. These devices can provide detailed feedback on metrics like voltage, power (kW), apparent power, crest factor and power factor.

When used in conjunction with Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM) solution, data center operators can effectively track and measure power usage over time.

It’s the most precise solution on the market for aligning long term power reduction goals with actual daily electrical outputs.

For more information, click here.

Topics: data center consolidation, data center power management, government consolidation

Datacenter Models: Private Cloud

Posted by Marc Cram on Sep 16, 2016 9:43:45 AM

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Private cloud is a term that is easily misunderstood.  "Private cloud computing is defined by privacy, not location, ownership or management responsibility," Gartner’s Tom Bittman says. A private cloud is dedicated to a single customer, and may reside in customer owned premises, or in the cloud provider’s premises. Operating your IT in a private cloud offers many of the same benefits of public cloud, such as scalability and energy efficiency.

For those having applications that require compliance with HIPAA or PCI DSS, operating a private cloud infrastructure can make a lot of sense.

See the Server Technology Industry Brief “What Type of Datacenter User Are You?” for a further discussion on colocation, public and private clouds.

Datacenter Model Industry Brief

Topics: private cloud, data center options, data center model

Datacenter Models: Public Cloud

Posted by Marc Cram on Sep 14, 2016 3:34:38 PM

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Most everyone in the IT field today is aware of the availability of public cloud infrastructure from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM/Softlayer, and others. Public cloud services are the most rapidly growing segment of IT according to Gartner and other industry analysts. The benefits of adopting public cloud are numerous, such as scalability, flexibility, and the ability to operate without capital expenditures. In many cases, relying on public cloud can be greener than a custom built datacenter.

For those with growing IT needs and not having room for expansion, migrating applications to a public cloud provider can be a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to deliver the functionality needed without spending a lot of cash up front on hardware.

See the Server Technology Industry Brief “What Type of Datacenter User Are You?” for a further discussion on colocation, public and private clouds.

Datacenter Model Industry Brief

Topics: data center models, public cloud, data center model

What Type of Datacenter User Are You?

Posted by Marc Cram on Sep 12, 2016 10:32:43 AM

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While both “cloud” and “cloud-first” are the new go to IT solutions for many companies, there remain a large number of situations where a complete outsourcing of your hardware infrastructure is not practical. In that circumstance, colocation of your IT should make the short list for consideration, whether it is driven by the needs for expansion, proximity, or interconnect. Colocation offers the advantages of highly efficient buildings, support for multiple locations, and access to some of the best interconnections available in the industry.

For those that are expanding beyond the use of a few hundred virtual machines running in the cloud, growing into one or more colocation facilities can bring a quick return on investment without requiring the capital to build your own green field datacenter. Colocation can also serve as a bridge point between public and private cloud deployments.

See the Server Technology Industry Brief “What Type of Datacenter User Are You?” for a further discussion on colocation, public and private clouds.

Datacenter Model Industry Brief

Topics: cloud data center, colocation, cloud first, datacenter model

What Rack PDU is Right for You?

Posted by Erik Stabile on Sep 6, 2016 12:24:26 PM

Are you starting a data center project but not sure which PDU is right for your data center? Start here and we'll guide you through Server Technology's PDU families. 

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At Server Technology, we understand that power needs vary from customer to customer. Some data centers require all-in-one power solutions complete with all the available bells and whistles, while others have more basic needs. But one thing that doesn’t vary is the desire for a best-in-class high quality power product. Another thing that’s for certain is that Server Technology’s award-winning power solutions provide just that.

Sales Engineer Amanda Senger says Server Technology’s large selection of PDUs is a major differentiator among its competitors.

“We’re really good at one thing: PDUs,” Senger says. “We have over 2,000 different part numbers, where our competitors only have 100-200, so we have a lot more flexibility we can offer our customers.”

With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when deciding which power solution is right for your data center. With this in mind, we’ve created a handy PDU selection flow chart that addresses all levels of power needs – from basic, non-metered PDUs to Switched POPS with outlet-level power monitoring.

It’s helpful to first understand that Server Technology offers four main families of PDUs, each offering a unique set of capabilities: Basic, Metered, Smart and Switched. To determine which is best for your data center ask the following questions:

  1. Do you need current displays? If not, then one of our Basic PDUs with power in and power out is probably sufficient for your needs. If you do need current displays with local LEDs on the PDU, you should consider a product from our Metered family.
  1. Do you need network monitoring? If you need an LED but don’t want networking capabilities, many products within the Metered family will do the trick. If, however, you want network monitoring, our Smart family of PDUs is a good bet. These are well suited for companies performing remote monitoring as well as those with thousands of strips on the data center floor.
  1. What about individual outlet control? This is a big factor for remote users, allowing them to remotely turn the PDU on and off without having to go on site to unplug and plug back in individual power strips. If you seek individual outlet control but don’t need outlet-level power monitoring, you can stick with any of our Smart PDUs, but if you want to monitor each outlet, then the Smart POPS (Per Outlet Power Sensing) PDUs are right up your alley. These units provide very detailed information, letting you know what’s wrong – or what’s about to go wrong.
  1. For those who want current displays, network monitoring, individual outlet control but not outlet-level power monitoring, the Server Technology Switched family is also worth a look. If, however, you need all of the above, plus outlet-level power monitoring, the All-In-One Switched POPs PDU is probably right for your data center. POPS units are perfect for customers who don’t yet understand how much power they’re using, and can work in any size data center.

Ultimately, Senger says, there’s a solution for everyone with Server Technology’s PDU lineup.

“Whether your needs are basic or complex, we offer a solution for you,” she says. “Even if you don’t need power monitoring, you’re probably still going to want a high outlet count in a high-quality PDU.”

Want to learn more about our families of PDUs? Visit our Products page or get in touch with your Power Strategy Experts to get started today.

Topics: data center power, rack PDU

Top 10 Reasons to use Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) in Your Data Center

Posted by Erik Stabile on Aug 29, 2016 11:10:00 AM

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Server Technology offers Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) technology for switched and smart power distribution units (PDUs).

 POPS-enabled PDUs enable per-outlet measurements of voltage, power (kW), current, crest factor, power factor and apparent power. It's availalbe in Server Technology's Smart and Switched PDUs. 

Here are 10 reasons to use POPS PDUs in your data center:

  1. See how devices are using power: It’s one thing to see how much power a rack consumes. It’s quite another thing to see how much power an individual server consumes. With a POPS PDU, you will be able to measure power consumption on a per-outlet basis for detailed tracking.
  2. Reduce costs: Once you see which devices are consuming the most power in a cabinet, then you can drill down further and make changes that can result in major cost savings.
  3. Prolong equipment life:  By keeping an eye on how much power your devices are using on a daily basis, you can optimize them for efficiency and get more mileage out of them.
  4. Become greener: A POPS PDU enables remote power, temperature and humidity monitoring. Use this feature to safely adjust environmental conditions in your cabinets. For instance, experiment with temperature settings to reduce cooling settings and save water.
  5. Stay in the know: You can receive email or SNMP-based alerts when temperature conditions exceed certain thresholds. This will allow you to cut or reduce power consumption to avoid problems.
  6. Increase density (safely): Increasing density is a great strategy that can grant you more floor space. It’s also risky. Use a POPS PDU to track and monitor power usage when increasing cabinet densities.
  7. Gain peace of mind: You can’t always be on site to check the status of your devices. You can, however, use Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager in conjunction with POPS PDUs to view your equipment and perform updates over a Web interface.
  8. Streamline firmware updates: Firmware updates can be a hassle to deal with. Fortunately, POPS PDUs e can be automatically updated over an FTP server.
  9. Improve communication: With a POPS PDU, your whole team can be kept in the loop about cabinet conditions. Up to 104 user accounts can be created, and 18 people can be logged in simultaneously over an SNMP connection.
  10. Avoid human error: Avoid making critical mistakes when checking power loads, adjusting conditions or generating reports. POPS PDUs are fully-automated.

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Topics: Per Outlet Power Sensing, POPs

If You Can’t Stand The Heat … Fix It

Posted by Josh Schaap on Aug 26, 2016 9:14:36 AM

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When President Harry S. Truman coined the phrase, “If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen,” in 1942, he was referring to critics of his aggressive use of war contracts in the Second World War. Good advice for politics, perhaps, but not so much for data center management. In fact, when heat becomes an issue in your data center, it’s time to do something about it.

Each kW hour of server power creates and equivalent amount of heat. Over time, this heat can accumulate, impacting server performance. While servers have been adapted to withstand higher temperatures, computing power is rising, and this is generating more heat. Add on top of this the growth of virtualized servers leading to fewer idling computers, and you have an endless cycle of heat generation.

The fact is that many power and cooling systems can’t efficiently meet the demands of today’s data center. The perimeter-based CRAC units of yesterday were sufficient when rack densities hovered at the 2-4 kW per rack range, but this doesn’t really work in a modern data center.

The two main problems that currently exist are:

  • More heat means more cooling infrastructure is required. New servers and switches can create 10 times the heat per square foot as those made 10 years ago.
  • Often, high-density servers are installed in the same data centers as prior generation systems. Because of this, rack densities aren’t increasing evenly across the data center, leading to areas that are hotter than others. Bottom-of-the-rack equipment may consume so much of the cooler air that any remaining cold air isn’t enough to cool top-of-the-rack equipment. 

The Power Strategy Experts at Server Technology offer a couple of tips to follow in order to keep cool and carry on in your data center.

  1. Monitor, monitor, monitor: Monitoring is crucial at the branch and in-feed levels for capacity planning purposes if you’re looking to identify zombie servers and stranded capacity. Doing so will help achieve higher efficiency. As Calvin Nicholson, Server Technology’s Senior Director of Software and Firmware Development, says, “you can’t manage what you don’t monitor.” Monitoring tools such as Sentry Power Manager help companies report on and track device-specific power consumption.
  2. Provisioning: It’s vital that data center operators not only embrace the idea of provisioning, but that they act upon it. Often, companies overprovision power to under-used cabinets, wasting money. As real estate costs rise, it’s getting harder and harder to justify this sort of practice. And, provisioning the wrong type of power can also negatively impact data center operations. Server Technology recommends provisioning at a higher power source such as 415V.

Learn more about our solutions for power monitoring and provisioning here.

Topics: data center temperature, Remote Power Monitoring, Data Center Density

The Impact of Increased Power Demand In Data Centers

Posted by Erik Stabile on Aug 24, 2016 9:11:48 AM

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Demands on data centers are growing with each passing day. When you add in the soaring cost of real estate, the result is that data centers are getting creative and adapting to create higher rack densities for future planning. To drive this point home, one only needs to look at power consumption over the past three years, particularly in emerging markets. This gives a better sense of power densities and capacity planning as it relates to the global growth of data centers.

And the pace isn’t expected to start flagging anytime soon – predictions show power consumption only growing through the end of 2016 and into 2017, according to DCD Intelligence. Naturally, this is putting a strain on data center operators and customers to seek out ways to use space and power more efficiently. And, because power and space aren’t exactly expendable factors, we’re starting to see more modularity and flexibility being built into data centers, including equipment racks that set the stage to take on a variety of future workloads.

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Take a look at the graph from DCD, which shows the projected global data center power requirement growing over time, and well into next year. Despite some moderate slowing in the United States, which is the world’s most advanced market, DCD still predicts sustained growth globally. After tracking the growth of data centers for the past decade, DCD now predicts 51.7 GW of power will be drawn in 2017. This, despite rapid adoption of technologies such as power optimization, virtualization and per watt computing efficiency improvements.

As your Power Strategy Experts, the power professionals at Server Technology are constantly thinking of ways to improve your power efficiency. To learn more, take a look at some of our solutions for power monitoring and management, understanding your data center’s power usage, realizing power savings and putting a stop to vampire servers that are silently sucking up your data center’s power supply.

Topics: data center power