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RJ Tee

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Environmental Monitoring: Mission Critical Monitoring, or Mission Impossible?

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 23, 2017 6:45:00 AM

data center environmental monitoring mission impossible

Data center environmental monitoring is nothing new.  Systems such as the first Sensaphones have been around for decades, dialing out on POTS lines to report on space, power, and cooling.  But don’t get me wrong – we’ve come a long way, baby.

Haven’t we?

As our friends at the Green Grid have correctly noted, you cannot improve what you are not measuring.  It is safe to say that, up until now, we have never had access to the volume of information we can capture now, nor could we process it into useful and actionable data.  But one thing has not changed, and that is the fact that we still rely on probes and sensors to capture all those little kernels of information.

What if I told you that Server Technology, known around the globe as the power strategy expert, with its team of electrical engineers and their trophy wall of industry patents, is really a data center environmental monitoring firm in disguise?  Or that a typical rack PDU is an advanced monitoring solution with a little power distribution thrown in to keep up the ruse?

Yeah, I’ll accept ‘crazy’ as your answer, but hear me out, Ethan Hunt.

What’s more, did you notice that we are capturing information at the source, from the source? 

Since our rack PDUs speak BACnet and Modbus, you can report the information back to the DCIM package of your choice.  The information gathered can provide instant feedback on environmental conditions, as well as the numbers you need to evaluate your PUE, cooling efficiency, power utilization, capacity planning, and more.

Not bad for a rack PDU. 

Click here for more information about Server Technology’s mission, or check out our full field report on Advances in Power and Environmental Monitoring.  Or stand watch with the Sentry Power Manger.

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Topics: Sentry Power Manager, environmental monitoring, DCIM, intelligent PDUs

Winter is Coming: Is Your Data Center Ready?

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 20, 2017 10:36:15 AM

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As they say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming. And while you may not have to worry about ice zombies invading your data center, if you are located in the north may have some tough power-related challenges to face when the temperature plummets.

Some of these challenges may include…

Winter storms: Heavy wind and snowfall can produce local power outages which will put backup UPS systems to the test. So it’s important to make sure that your UPS system is functioning properly. (Real-time power monitoring can help enhance this system)

Heating: Once the weather gets cold, you’ll need to ensure that your data center stays at an optimal operating temperature. Real-time environmental monitoring is necessary to prevent sudden dips or spikes in data center temperatures.  Top tools for environmental monitoring.

Extra bandwidth: This year, analysts are predicting an above-average holiday shopping season. In order to accommodate new customers, many businesses will be firing up reserve servers in their data centers. This can lead to higher operating costs.

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Of course, after the holiday season a new year will be here as well — and with it, a new set of challenges for your data center.

In light of this, time is running out to winter-proof your data center. Make sure to take the next few weeks to assess your facility, and look for ways of improving your power management strategy before it’s too late.

Server Technology can outfit your organization with a wide range of intelligent power distribution units, which can provide real-time power and environmental monitoring at the rack level.

To learn more about how Server Technology can keep your data center safe this winter, click here.

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Topics: environmental monitoring, winter, real time monitoring

Shouldn’t We Be Talking About Medium Density?

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 16, 2017 6:30:00 PM

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In the world of rack-mountable power distribution, the term high density is so hot right now. After all, it is no secret to anyone in the industry that the business that takes place within the four corners of a rack has been warming up faster than a Jane Fonda workout video.

But what about the no man’s land known as medium density?

For those data center managers whose fleet of racks fit the more normative density of 3 to 4 kW per rack average, the step to medium density is more like a leap. Making the jump to 5-10 kW per rack is a leap that forces managers to address the very same issues that high-density rack mount PDUs are equipped to support.

In fact, according to this DCD Intelligence whitepaper, the number of racks globally that fall into a density category of <5 kW per rack has actually dropped from 56% to 42% over the course of the last six years. Within the same timeframe, the number of racks considered medium density (5-10kW) has increased from 29% to 37%, and those considered high density increased from 14% to 21%. That is a 7 to 8 percentage point increase in both the medium and high-density categories.

And guess who has been stealing all the headlines? The high-density rack users.

(if you're one of those, check out our density solutions page)

We sincerely apologize to the medium density data center demographic for all the high-density hullabaloo.  Really.  We love you, too, man, and understand your needs.  And to show our support, we declare that your density issues are just as important in the world of rack mount PDUs.

You know, things like:

  • The need for more outlets per linear foot of PDU
  • Higher power capacity and delivery
  • Having the right kind of outlets in the right place
  • Rack PDUs rated for higher heat loads
  • The ability to utilize and manage alternating phases

Server Technology is your high, er, medium density power strategy expert. While HDOT does indeed stand for ‘High Density Outlet Technology,’ head to our Online PDU Building Tool to generate your own ‘MDOT’ medium density rack PDU. 

Click to read the latest DCD white paper:  Managing the Unpredictable: How to Increase Data Center  Density and Capacity Without Increasing Risk

 

Topics: density, Data Center Density, medium density

Is Your Power-Hungry Data Center a Liability? Read This

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 13, 2017 2:52:14 PM

 

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Ireland’s state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) recently made headlines when the company publicly referred to its data centers as a liability for their heavy power consumption.

As explained in DatacenterDynamics, the remarks appeared in an interim financial statement from 1H17. The issue was referred to as a principal risk to the company, and was later clarified by a company spokesperson.

“To put it into context, the current load in Dublin is around 1,200 mega volt amps (MVA), which has grown over the last 90 years, and there is about 1,400 MVA in data center applications and enquiries in train.

“This level of demand growth is unprecedented and would almost double the demand in Dublin over a five-year period,” the spokesperson continued.

To accommodate this growth, the company is constructing two 220kV stations. This will make seven stations in total.

Now is a good time to analyze your own data center, and check to see whether it, too is a liability. Do you have the resources in place to accommodate future growth? And from a cost perspective, is your data center becoming a drain on the enterprise?

If so, real-time data center power monitoring solutions can help. By monitoring electricity consumption directly at the rack level, you can gain the insight you need to understand exactly how your facility is performing and understand what you need to do to keep it running at a high level into the future.

Server Technology provides a wide range of intelligent power distribution units, and even lets you build your own custom model. For more information, check out our PDU buying guide.

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Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, Rack Power Management

On the Benefits of Alternating Phase

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 10, 2017 1:40:56 PM

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Lately, we’ve been extolling 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.

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.

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Topics: 3 Phase power, three phase, load balancing, three phase power

Using a Horizontal vs. a Vertical Rack PDU

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 9, 2017 6:00:00 AM

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While use of vertical PDUs, or vertical rack power distribution units, has become nearly ubiquitous in today’s data center, they are not the only game in town.  Since we have been getting a lot of questions lately about Horizontal rack PDUs, we thought it would be useful to take moment to pause and reflect on our counterpart from the other axis.

Besides orientation, the most obvious difference between the two rack mount power strips is that of space – outlet space to be exact.  Since the typical horizontal PDU fills 1 to 2U gaps, the number of outlets available is limited to the width of the rack, or the number of U spaces you are willing to part with. 

And sometimes, giving up rack space is about as appealing as anchovy-flavored toothpaste.

But more often, knowing how to optimize your rack space is a matter of understanding trade-offs and being able to balance your actual requirements with the configuration of your cabinet.  And, let’s face it:  we don’t all compute like Google and Apple.  So here are some key situations for you to think about going horizontal:

Do I distribute power from an in-rack UPS?  If your power loads are lower, or you protect your power through in-row UPS equipment, you may already be distributing from the U-space of the cabinet.  In this situation, many people find it makes most sense to feed directly into a series of horizontal PDUs.

Do I have shallow IT gear?  Equipment such as switches and routers leave unused space at the back of the rack, and clever IT managers have been repurposing this area for cable management and power distribution.  Would you be surprised to learn that in the space of 2U, you have enough real estate for 26 outlets? 

Do I need to manage around airflow?  For some data center managers, the rear of the cabinet is off-limits, so to clear space for airflow, cable management must be as well-ordered as a circuit board.  In these situations, moving the rack PDU out of the vertical cabling space and into the horizontal space creates a place for cable managing.  It’s also out of the way of the server and storage appliances, and not in the discharge path.  

Server Technology is your power strategy expert. Head here for 1, 2, 3, and 4U Horizontal PDUs, and here for 0-U, or Vertical PDUS. We have solutions that allow you to configure in both the X-axis as well as the Y.

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Topics: capacity planning, horziontal PDUs

Three Data Center Power Goals for 2018

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 5, 2017 9:48:15 AM

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October is already here, which means we’re rapidly approaching the end of the year. Before you know it, the holiday rush will arrive, followed closely by the start of 2018 — which means time is running out to plan your data center’s 2018 power management strategy.

Now is an important time to round up your team and discuss ways that you can reduce energy waste next year so that your data center can save money and become more efficient in the process.

Here are three data center power management goals that you should consider for next year: 

  1. Eliminate zombie servers: Chances are likely that if you are running a large-scale data center, you have quite a few servers that are running idly and silently wasting a great deal of energy. In 2018 your goal should be to identify these “zombie” servers, determine how much power they are using and then consider shutting them down.
  2. Ensure business continuity: As we have learned with hurricanes Irma and Harvey, major weather events can arise with little to no warning — wreaking havoc on unprepared data centers. Can your data center withstand a hurricane? Take a hard look at your backup power systems, and make sure they are capable of functioning properly when they need to switch into place with real-time monitoring
  3. Improve remote management: Do you have multiple data centers spread around the country or the world? If so, it’s time consider centralizing management. Invest in a platform like the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) from Server Technology, which can give you a wide range of power management options, directly from a single pane of glass. Your team should be able to execute real-time power management tasks from any location over the Web.

To learn more about how Server Technology can help with these initiatives, click here.

Learn Why Our Customers Choose Servertech Again and Again

Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, zombie servers, Power Goals

2017: A Record Year for Data Center Investment

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 29, 2017 3:59:01 PM

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There is still a full quarter to go in 2017, but already it’s been a record-setting year for the U.S. data center industry which has generated more business than ever before.

According to a new study, companies have thus far invested $18.2 billion in U.S. data centers, which is double the amount they pulled in last year. At this pace, they are on track to surpass the total amount for the last three years combined.

A big reason for this growth can bte attributed to skyrocketing demand for cloud computing, and data — both of which are expected to keep growing significantly over the next several years. Global Internet traffic, it should be noted, has already surpassed a zettabyte of data. And this should triple by as soon as 2021.

Here at Server Technology, we are thrilled to see such heavy investment in U.S. data centers. But we wanted to remind our readers about the need to support their ecosystems with real-time power monitoring at the rack level.

This is important for a few reasons:

Controlling costs: It’s very easy to lose track of expenses in a data center — especially a large one — when you aren’t even aware of how many servers you are running. Real-time power monitoring solutions can provide visibility into data center operations, giving administrators the ability to understand exactly where energy is being allocated. It can be used toidentify and eliminate “zombie” servers, or idle machines that tend to go unnoticed but consume large amounts of electricity.

Preventing downtime: IT administrators bank on the fact that UPS systems will seamlessly work when they are needed. Oftentimes, though, they fail to turn on. Connected power distribution units can be used to perform status checks and maintenance on UPS infrastructure, providing assurance that they are working properly and preventing unexpected downtime.

Sustainability: Data centers are notorious energy hogs, with some large-scale facilities using as much energy as towns or cities. As such, sustainability has become a top priority for data centers administrators — particularly federal organizations. Data centers can use connected PDUs to track progress, and prove that they are taking active measures to reduce emissions.

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

Puzzled Picking the Right PDU?  Check Out Our New Rack PDU Buying Guide

Topics: growth, Remote Power Monitoring, data center industry

Single Phase Rack Power [APPLICATION NOTE LINK INSIDE]

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 26, 2017 3:44:35 PM

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How do you balance the electrical needs of a cabinet of equipment with available technology?  Many data center facilities have come to rely on a standard rack PDU configuration fed by 3-phase, 30A circuits running at 208V.  This setup can yield approximately 8 kW to feed your power-hungry IT gear.

Not bad.  But the problem is that you’ll go through pole positions faster than freshmen through tater tots in a high school cafeteria.

Although the 30A 3-phase approach is deployable and commonly used, the reality is that it is not the most efficient approach in the world of breaker panel resources.  To optimize your build, there is an alternate approach using higher ampacity and yielding more power out of fewer breakers.  We’re talking about 1-phase PDUs at 60A.

Wait, what?

Yes, Server Technology offers a 60 amp single-phase PDU that also runs at 208V.  This configuration is available in HDOT, or high-density outlet technology, which allows the user to take advantage of the power gains by specifying up to 54 outlets in a single intelligent PDU.

So, what about power?  The 1ph 60A approach is a 10kW PDU, which provides 20% more power and current flow than the 3-phase 30A that only yielded 8kW. 

And breaker utilization?  Here is where things get even more interesting.  Instead of taking the three breakers required per circuit in the 30A configuration, a 60A feed requires only 2 poles to get the job done.  So in a typical redundant feed with two PDUs per rack, that is 4 poles on the 60A side versus the 6 required at 30A — a panel space savings of 2 poles per rack. 

In other words, for every rack deployed at 60A you save one rack PDU worth of power.  And a whole lot of ketchup.

Server Technology is your power strategy expert.  You can configure your own 60A solution and see the savings for yourself at BYOPDU, or see more about Switched and Smart power distribution options.

New Application Note Learn about the benefits of the HDOT® single-phase solution

 

Topics: single phase, single phase power

Selecting the Right Hyperscale PDU

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 21, 2017 10:28:39 AM

 

Yes, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Google – we’re talking to you and your kind.

While most would consider it a good day to dominate the world of commerce, you and your hyperscale computing compatriots have completely changed the landscape of information technology and data centers as we used to know them. Your executive leadership is brilliant, your stocks are soaring, and you’ve got the world at your feet.

Well, ever think about what life would be like without the right rack PDU? OK, you have to admit, we’ve got you there.

Hyperscale data centers rely on absurd amounts of energy — think Google’s 5.7 terawatt-hour consumption in 2015 — used in the most efficient manner. But every watt that goes to cooling can’t be used for computing, so it also relies on innovative distribution to support those two competing goals. Add to the mix the constant need for crisp data center environmental monitoring, and you can see why our offerings fit the needs of the industry that redefined the notion of rack power density.

So, what can we offer these users?

Basic PDUs: think power in, power out. Available in higher voltages and without the bells and whistles, a basic PDU offers simplicity and reliability in operations where the supporting architecture supports failed compute nodes.

PRO2 Smart and Smart POPS PDUs: integrate inline power monitoring and remote monitoring capabilities through SNMP. These intelligent PDUs are perfect for those racks where the loads are neither static nor equally distributed, or where monitoring is difficult due to a variety of server protocols.

HDOT PDUs: think of these as the fix for too many devices, too many power cords, and too many BTUs. The high-density outlet technology in our HDOT PDUs allows hyperscalers to bend the laws of physics and support loads up to 100 kW per cabinet and not warp from the heat load.

For more information about hyperscale computing, check out our new Hyperscale White Paper, or for more information about different PDU types and applications, you can visit the Solutions page on the Server Technology web site.

Your Hyperscale Data Center Demands Reliability. Why Compromise? Learn More Today

 

Topics: Data Center Density, Hyperscale