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RJ Tee

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An Interview with Server Technology’s Marc Cram: Smart PDUs Translate to More Efficiency

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 22, 2017 12:22:53 PM

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With people, there’s such a thing as book smart and practical smart. In the case of Server Technology’s Intelligent PDU line, you get the best of both worlds – a product that not only boasts powerful specs on paper, but also makes a real difference in your data center’s efficiency efforts.

We recently sat down with Server Technology’s Director of OEM and Global Accounts, Marc Cram, to discuss the benefits of choosing Switched or Smart Rack PDUs in your data center and how they can lead to greater efficiency and cost savings in the long run.


Question: We’ve talked in the past about the power usage and environmental monitoring capabilities of intelligent rack PDUs, but what are some other advantages to choosing an intelligent rack PDU from Server Technology?

Marc: The beauty of working with the power information gathered from our intelligent PDUs is that you only have to learn one standard interface. A server from Dell and a server from HP have two sets of power and separate interfaces. Cisco network hardware would have a third interface, and so on. If you have a diverse ecosystem in your data center, all those devices need power, so if you’ve got a common element to plug into like an intelligent PDU, then you only need one interface to gather all that data. That’s a common frustration for many people because every vendor tries to lock you into a proprietary interface. With our systems, by going through a Server Technology rack PDU, we provide the “magic decoder ring” that shows you how to get data out of our PDU to put into whatever tool you want to use. You can use Sentry Power Manager or an open source solution. So, you gain flexibility as well as access to the data because we don’t lock it up. Sentry Power Manager is great because it’s closely coupled with our hardware. This gives you speed both in deployment of the PDUs and configuration management.

 

Question: So, we know that Server Technology’s intelligent rack PDUs feature alerts via SNMP traps to show power and environmental conditions. But is it still up to the data center operator to act on this information?

Marc: Not necessarily. We have some customers with the expertise to write interfaces to our system that lets them automatically go back and reset a frozen piece of hardware. For instance, if a server gets bluescreened, they can ping the server and, if it quits responding, they can go back and cycle power to the outlet and reset it. So, it can definitely be automated.

 

Question: Are there any particular units from Server Technology you’d consider powerhouses when it comes to providing efficiency and actionable data?

Marc: The High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT) units we manufacture offer a high degree of semi-customization. The data center operator can specify if they want a certain number or type of outlets in certain regions of the PDU through our online configurator tool. This gives them the flexibility to say, “I’ve got a common form factor in shape and size of PDU, but I can change what’s in the rack and change the outlet set on the PDU to power what’s in that IT rack.”

The HDOT units also have integrated support for sensors. This allows you to identify temperature and humidity, for instance. Knowing this, you can correlate the power load in the rack to see how quickly temperature follows power load or vice versa to see trending information.

 

Question: So, what’s the alternative for data center operators not on intelligent rack PDU systems?

Marc: In that case, you’re reliant on having homogenous systems where everything is the same, such as every slot in every rack. With that, you also need a common interface and have to rely on whatever power metric and capability that server has on the power supply, which might be built into the motherboard. If there’s an external sensor within the data center, you need have it somewhere in proximity to the servers, but that’s not always reliable.

 

Question: So, it really makes more sense to go with an intelligent rack PDU for long-term efficiency, then?

Marc: Right. When you’re buying an intelligent PDU, the capital expense up front may be slightly higher, but the total cost of ownership is lower. And it’s much more reliable. It also conserves the number of Ethernet ports you need in the rack.


Question:
So, who are Server Technology’s intelligent PDUs ideal for?

Marc: We envision these are well suited for several types of customers. There’s the small company with individual racks in multiple locations across the globe that needs to be able to roll those closet servers into a single screen with Sentry Power Manager. But intelligent rack PDUs also work well for a medium enterprise data center with 5,000 square footage of floor and 15 to 20 racks of gear.

Demo A Smart PDU Today

As Marc mentions, Server Technology’s intelligent rack PDUs can provide a wealth of actionable data on power usage and environmental conditions, allowing data center operators to make critical changes as needed. This, in turn, reduces overall costs of operating the data center. To learn more about Server Technology’s intelligent PDUs, visit our Smart Rack PDU and Switched Rack PDU pages today.

Migrating to the Cloud? You Still Need Intelligent PDUs

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 17, 2017 11:28:24 AM

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We see this problem time and again with cloud computing: First, a business will partner with a hosted cloud provider offering affordable access to premium infrastructure; then, the business will migrate its workloads and wait for the cost savings to roll in.

Oftentimes, though, the cost savings never materialize. In fact, it's very common for a business to spend more money on cloud services in the long run than it would on legacy network expenses.  

Here’s why:

Cloud providers typically sell bare metal infrastructure at scale, but not much more than that. Unless a business opts to layer managed services on top of its cloud infrastructure, it will still be responsible for maintenance and upkeep, and for keeping operating costs at a manageable level. Cloud providers, in other words, are not there to hold your hand; they only provide servers. Countless organizations have learned this the hard way.

One responsibility that tends to go overlooked during cloud migrations is power management. Many IT departments today are still using archaic power outlets in their data centers and cloud environments that do not have IP connectivity. These units are highly prone to power faults, and lack real-time reporting components. As such, they are often the root cause of high costs and unexpected outages.

Instead of using traditional power outlets, IT administrators are encouraged to use intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) containing embedded solutions for recording and reporting power usage metrics, and for evenly distributing power across the cabinet. Intelligent PDUs are necessary for supporting today’s heavy workloads and advanced computing processes.

Here are some reasons to use intelligent PDUs with cloud servers:  

Perform rapid-response troubleshooting: Server Technology’s intelligent PDUs come with full switching capabilities, meaning it’s possible to use them to toggle power on and off from any remote location. This saves time, and eliminates the need to travel or rely on remote crews when performing system maintenance. This feature can be easily managed in Server Technology’s Sentry Power Management (SPM) platform — a secure and user-friendly Web-based management console.

Manage environmental settings: The servers you are using today are resilient, meaning it’s possible to experiment with different environmental settings in order to maximize performance and efficiencies. Still, you’ll want to be very careful when raising or lowering data center temperatures. Using intelligent PDUs from Server Technology, you will gain access to real-time environmental data and alerts. If a cabinet surpasses its environmental threshold, an SNMP alert can be triggered so that immediate action can be taken.

Obtain accurate metrics: All power usage data can be easily tracked, stored and exported into reports using intelligent PDUs and the SPM platform. By analyzing accurate power usage information at the cabinet level, it can help to save money in the data center.

 

Learn More About  Server Technology's Intelligent PDUs

Topics: intelligent PDUs

Experience the Most Game Changing PDU to Date

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 13, 2017 11:16:22 AM

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Stop and think about how much your data center has changed over the last several years. It seems like just yesterday you were tinkering with massive, UNIX-based servers that used around 18 W of power. Today your servers may be physically smaller, but they pack a much bigger punch with some exceeding 80 W.

These smaller servers can be stacked much more efficiently into your cabinets, meaning your cabinets are in all likelihood much denser than they were in the past. What’s more, they are playing a much greater role in your business’s daily operations. In the past, they provided ancillary services to your business. Today, if something happened to your data center or its servers your organization would come to a grinding halt.

And yet, you are still supporting this critical infrastructure with the same types of power strips that you used back in the 1990s!

This means your business is at increased risk for downtime — especially if you are experimenting with different power settings.  

What’s more, you currently have little to no visibility into how your data center is using power at the cabinet level — meaning you could be wasting a large amount of money on a daily basis without even realizing it. Traditional power strips do not contain any built-in technologies for recording or reporting power metrics.

It’s time to replace these outdated power strips as soon as possible, and make the switch to a new line of intelligent power distribution units that contain the necessary features for supporting a modern data center.

Server Technology offers the most game changing family of Switched PDUs on the market, enabling:

Remote switching: Server Technology’s Switched PDUs will allow you to toggle cabinet power on and off from a remote location, meaning you don’t have to be physically present in your facility to make critical changes. For this reason, they are ideal for use in edge data centers or colocation facilities.

Real-time environmental monitoring: Switched PDUs also contain embedded environmental sensors for collecting and transmitting temperature and humidity levels. With this feature, all of your team members can receive alerts when your equipment exceeds its allotted environmental thresholds.

Web access: These products can be used in conjunction with Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM), a secure Web interface for data center power monitoring and management functions. SPM is a user-friendly portal.

Server Technology’s Switched PDUs are American-made and Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliant, meaning they are safe for use in government-owned data centers. Server Technology’s products have been used by many different government owned entities, as well as businesses across all vertical markets.

Most products can be shipped within three to 10 business days.

Click To Learn More About Server Technology's  Switched Rack PDU Solutions

Topics: Switched PDU, Switched, Switched POPS

Three Questions to Ask About Three Phase Power Distribution

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 10, 2017 9:30:24 AM

Across the globe, data center managers are making the move to 60A service at the rack level. Why? One big reason is because it better supports higher-density applications. As a result, three-phase power distribution is seeing a boost in popularity. Put simply, it just makes sense for data centers from economic and efficiency standpoints.

A popular choice for those looking to make the move to alternating phase power is the HDOT Switched power distribution unit from Server Technology. These rack-mount PDUs simplify time consuming processes such as cable management and load balancing. Offering up to a 30 percent footprint reduction, HDOT PDUs let you install more servers per rack and create a much more efficient flow over standard one- or two-phase power by using three-phase power distribution.

As you weigh your options for power distribution solutions, it’s crucial to ask all the right questions. In particular, you should train your focus on the issues of load balancing, its impact on power bills and related power loss.

Questions to ask when considering three-phase power distribution:

  1. Are my phases properly balanced? If all three phases aren’t correctly balanced, more heat will be generated. This leads to higher cooling costs.
  2. What’s the impact on my power bill? When loads are unbalanced, inefficiency follows, and so do skyrocketing power bills.
  3. Am I running too high of a load on my single phases? This is a risky approach and can result in tripped PDUs and upstream breakers. This leads to power loss at the rack level.

Opting for a switched rack-mount PDU from Server Technology can help alleviate the potential problems of a single- or two-phase load by distributing alternate phased power on a per-outlet basis rather than per branch. And, when you choose an HDOT unit, you’re getting the highest outlet count in the most compact form factor on the market.

As densities and power in the racks continue to grow, and as data center managers install more and more gear in the cabinets, it’s no secret power requirements are also rising. With an HDOT Switched rack PDU in your corner, you’ll not only survive, but thrive when it comes to efficiency and savings.

Topics: HDOT, Alternating phase, HDOT Switched, three phase power

Federal Data Centers: Use Switched POPS PDUs to Save Money

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 6, 2017 10:50:20 AM

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A new bill is being considered in Washington, D.C. that would directly impact federal data centers.

According to The Stack, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (HR 306), which would require every federal agency to provide a detailed report outlining the exact steps that are being taken to improve energy efficiency in their data center and computing environments. 

These reports would then be compiled by the Secretary and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a larger report on the overall impact of cloud computing and virtualization, mobile devices, social media and data center power consumption among federal agencies. This report would include previous energy usage projections from between 2008 and 2015.

“As the nation’s largest energy user, landowner, and employer, the federal government should lead by example to improve the energy efficiency of its technology equipment and data centres,” stated representative Anna Eschoo (D-CA), who co-sponsored the bill along with Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). “This legislation will reduce the federal government’s energy use, save taxpayer dollars, and set the standard for the private sector.”

As of right now, the bill is waiting for a Senate vote and so it remains to be seen how it will play out. The fact that it’s a bipartisan bill, however, shows just how important the issue is to the federal government; Even in these trying political times, House Democrats and Republicans are working together to drive energy reform, in hopes of reducing unnecessary computing expenses and energy waste by federal entities.

Regardless of whether the new bill gets signed into law, federal data center administrators still have two other acts to consider: the Federal Data Center Consolidation Act (which has saved almost $3 billion to date) and the Data Center Optimization Initiative. So pressure is coming from all sides to streamline operations and pinch pennies. Over the next several years, the federal government hopes to consolidate or close many of its data centers.

Immediate action should therefore be taken by federal IT administrators to reduce unnecessary energy waste. Being proactive now may either delay, or prevent, the closing of a federal data center. Now is not the time to sit back and try to fly under the radar, but to take action.

Server Technology offers multiple solutions that federal data centers can use to reduce energy waste, like Switched Per Outlet Power Sensing power distribution units (Switched POPS PDUs), with highly accurate outlet-level power monitoring and management features.

Server Technology's PDU's are TAA compliant, and have been used by numerous federal agencies including the U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard, Department of Energy, NASA, ARMY, NAVY and the National Institutes of Health.

 

Discover Server Technology's Switched POPS PDUs

Topics: green data center, federal government, government data center, Switched POPS

5 Reasons to use Intelligent PDUs in Edge Data Centers

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 2, 2017 8:35:00 AM

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A growing number of companies are now moving their servers to the “edge” of the network for lower latency data transmissions, and reduced network operating costs. This is one of the major trends occurring in the IT space right now, and industry experts predict it will continue to accelerate in the coming years.

Not all businesses, however, are experiencing successful migrations to the edge of the network. Many are finding the process to be much more difficult than they anticipated.

While there are many benefits to decentralizing network infrastructure, there are also many drawbacks. The process can be expensive and risky, as edge facilities — just like traditional data centers — can consume massive amounts of electricity. And oftentimes, there is little visibility into how power is being allocated across a remote network.

Businesses that are looking to experiment with edge deployments are strongly encouraged to keep a close watch on how their remote power consumption. Intelligent power distribution units (PDU) offer advanced protection for businesses using edge deployments. More than just basic power outlets, intelligent PDUs provide a wealth of energy usage data and advanced management capabilities.

 

Here are five benefits to using intelligent PDUs in edge data centers:

  1. Maintain uptime: It can be very difficult maintaining uptime in an onsite data center —let alone from hundreds or thousands of miles away. Server Technology’s intelligent PDUs come with built-in fault tolerance, as well as real-time branch current measurements and multi-level alerts. Plus, their full switching capabilities enable IT managers to perform remote power management functions for rapid response troubleshooting from any location.

Intelligent PDUs, it should be noted, are essential for any facility that is looking to experiment with different power loads at the edge of the network. For instance, if you are thinking of running an edge facility at 415/240 VAC for extra computing power, you’re definitely going to want the added protection of an intelligent PDU as your facility will be at increased risk for downtime or overheating.

  1. Reduce truck rollouts: By maintaining uptime and performing remote maintenance on edge infrastructure, administrators can reduce truck rollouts — thereby saving money each year on fuel bills and truck repairs. This means more money can be pumped back into the data center instead of into fleet management. And technicians can spend less time travelling back and forth between remote locations.
  1. Go green: Just because a data center is offsite doesn’t mean it’s a separate entity. So any enterprise looking to achieve recognition for its use of green technologies in the data center will have to account for its edge facilities, too.

Intelligent PDUs can provide IT managers with real-time and historical power usage data like crest factor, apparent power, active power, voltage, load (amps) and more. 

Armed with this information, businesses can confidently market their green data centers without having to worry about being accused of “greenwashing”— or providing misinformation about carbon emissions. 

If you’re going green in the data center, make sure to back up your claim—or pay the price! 

  1. Prevent environmental disasters: Servers are very sensitive to environmental fluctuations. And the issue is even more heightened at scale, when hundreds or thousands of servers are being used in a confined space.

Intelligent PDUs— like the ones offered by Server Technology — can provide SNMP-based email alerts so that administrators can immediately spring to action when environmental conditions exceeded their allotted thresholds. For example, if a data center gets too hot, a remote switching operation can be executed to safely power down equipment and prevent a fire from breaking out.  

  1. Save money: At the end of the day, a data center and all of its assets — either remote or onsite — can be a major drain on a business’s budget. A data center can be the most resource-intensive department in a company. And with an increasing number of executives now outsourcing data center operations, it’s imperative that IT administrators find ways to slash costs and streamline efficiencies in their facilities. Intelligent PDUs can provide a wealth of power usage information, providing the ability to make critical changes when they are needed to reduce costs in the data center.

Server Technology offers a complete line of intelligent PDUs, ranging from basic models with High Density Outlet Technology to advanced units with embedded switching controls. Server Technology also offers the Sentry Power Manager (SPM), which is an online portal for managing intelligent PDUs. SPM makes it easy to see exactly where PDUs are located.

Learn more about how your business can benefit from Server Technology's Intelligent PDUs

Topics: uptime, intelligent PDUs

Data Center Choices - Part 3 Return of the PDU

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 27, 2017 10:01:00 AM

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In our final chapter, the Rebels have secured the release of their fearless pilot, Han Colo, before returning to build environmentally friendly data centers on the green planet of Endor. With the Empire destroyed, all is well again with the galaxy. 

Almost, all, that is. The problem of selecting a PDU remains. 

In part one of our series, we saw different examples of options for companies looking to expand their data centers without the hassle of building a new space. In part two (link) we discussed what you need to know when it’s incumbent upon you to supply your own power distribution. We also touched on how vital it is to be able to remotely monitor and manage your power. 

In this edition, we’ll share the top colocation power solutions from Server Technology. 

Why Server Technology For Colocation Power Requirements?

In many cases, service with a colocation provider begins the minute you sign their contract. This means time is of the essence when it comes to getting up and running quickly. Server Technology offers more than 12,000 PDU variants to handle every request you can imagine (and then some). Of these, we have a select line of rack PDUs known as Fast Movers, which ship within 3-5 business days so you can have your cabinet operational ASAP. 

Or, as Regional Sales Manager Jon Vanhoose puts it, “If you don’t have any power in your cabinet, you’re not utilizing your space and you’re not up and running, then you’re paying for dead space.” 

The lesson? Don’t pay for dead space. 

Besides offering solutions that are ready to ship in 3-5, having the ability to customize many of Server Technology’s PDUs is key, Vanhoose says. For example, “If you know the equipment you’re bringing to your colocation and you need to dedicate certain outlets to certain densities and locations, then we’re giving you that flexibility with our Build Your Own PDU tool

Combine this with the fact that thousands of our configurations ship within 10 days and you’re looking at a very quick turnaround time for your colocation power solutions. 

Server Technology also offers the top customer support in the data center power industry. Our Power Strategy Experts are constantly available to help with your power setup, maintenance and any ongoing questions you may have about your PDUs. 

Add Sentry Power Manager into the mix and you gain the ultimate control over your equipment in the colocation. With visibility and control in a single pane of glass, Sentry Power Manager provides you with reliable updates on temperature, humidity and any anomalies within your racks, so you can avoid unplanned downtime all the time. 

If a move to a colo is on your radar, let the Power Strategy Experts at Server Technology help make your move a smooth one.

Topics: colocation

Top Tools For Environmental Monitoring in the Data Center

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 24, 2017 8:05:00 AM

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There’s an old proverb that goes, “Trust, but verify.” This sentiment is particularly apt for data center management, where it’s vital to track every metric you can get your hands on. The need for better environmental monitoring capabilities is increasing due to increasing compute, network, and storage densities and increasing operating temperatures in the data center. Thus, keeping close watch over environmental activity in your data center, particularly when it comes to temperature, and humidity in the rack are critical to prevent disasters if left unchecked. So, what is the best way to get four or more environmental monitoring points in your cabinets?

Sounds like a complicated question, but the answer is simple: Server Technology Intelligent PDUs are enabled right out of the box with the abilities to attach environmental probes that can precisely detail environmental conditions in your data center equipment cabinets. This information is most reliable when measured external to the devices in the cabinet.

Adding the ability to monitor environmental conditions in your cabinets can help you to optimize how you cool your equipment. In fact, we’ve seen time and again that it’s well worth it. Consider this: studies have clearly shown that data centers can trim four to five percent in energy costs with each one-degree Fahrenheit increase in server inlet temperature. 

The following are tools Server Technology’s Power Strategy Experts recommend to ensure that temperature and humidity remain in check on your data center floor.

Server Technology’s Environmental Monitoring Tools

Built in Temperature and Humidity ports: Recently, ASHRAE provided thermal guidelines suggesting data centers use at least three measurement points in the equipment rack. Server Technology’s Switched and Smart PDUs ship ready to support two combo humidity/temperature probes per PDU, providing four points of measurement in the equipment rack equipped with two PDUs. 

EMCU-1-1B modules and sensors:  The EMCU is an add-on module which provides additional temperature and humidity probes, door intrusion sensors, as well as water and fluid detection. Learn more about EMCU-1-1B units here.

Sentry Power Manager: Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager software provides you with a 360-degree view of activity in your data center. One of its main strengths is the ability to report and alarm on key power and environmental information trends, including predictive trending. It also shows you multiple parameters such as power usage and temperature within the same trend.

When combined with Server Technology’s smart or switched PDUs, our Sentry Power Manager can be paired with environmental probes and monitors to give you a full view of your data center. That, in turn, gives you peace of mind and saves you a bundle both in the short term and the long run.

Want to get a live demo to see without leaving the comfort of your office and computer? Check out our SPM Solutions page or request a live demo today.

Learn More about Sentry Power Manager

Topics: SPM, ennironmental monitoring

Data Center Choices – Part 2 The Power Strikes Back

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 22, 2017 8:00:00 AM

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As we open on the icy expanses of the planet Hoth, the clouds clear, revealing a small, nondescript grey building. Is it a rebel fortification? An abandoned bunker? No, it’s a colocation facility housing both the Rebel Alliance and the Jedi Order’s servers. After all, when you’re battling the Galactic Empire, you need 100 percent uptime and reliable power as much as any other operation. 

In our most recent post, A Colocation Facility, we discussed how colocations are one of several options for your data center needs, offering uptime, cooling and a secure environment for all your IT equipment. We also mentioned that, in many cases, you are responsible for selecting and bringing your own PDUs to power your racks.

This week, we’ll look at some of the questions a colocation user should ask before signing on the dotted line with a colo provider. These questions are handy whether you’re battling the evil forces of the galaxy or selling widgets online.  

Can I Bring My Own Power?

The first question to ask will be whether you’re responsible for your power distribution units. In most cases, you provide your own PDUs, and it’s crucial to select the proper ones, says Server Technology Regional Sales Manager Adam Beer.

“Depending on how your colo is charging you for power, it’s critical to make sure you’re not over- or under-investing,” Beer says.

With that, Server Technology’s Power Strategy Experts can help you make the right decisions on power: everything from cabinet sizing to power utilization and circuit types.

Can I Remotely Monitor and Manage My Equipment?

Trust, but verify: that’s the motto with power. The best way to ensure server uptime and to prevent temperature-related downtime is with a solid remote power monitoring and management tool such as Sentry Power Manager. With easy configuration and seamless integration, SPM is your single pane of glass into what’s going on in your data center.

What’s Your Experience with Businesses Like Mine?

It’s easy to overlook, but ask for references and case studies showing how the colo works with companies similar to yours. For instance, if you run an ecommerce site, what is the colocation’s experience with housing servers for other online retailers?

How Is Power Billed?

Are you being billed a flat rate or for actual usage? Colocations might charge by circuit type, by metered power or a mix of power and cooling charges. In short, there’s often some complex math at work in your billing rate, but it’s worth taking the time to understand it.  Sentry Power Manager has a highly specialized feature set that allows a user to record Energy (kWh) and report (refer to pg. 4) its utilization across multiple data center locations.

When Does Billing Begin?

This is a crucial question to ask because it’s entirely possible your billing begins the moment you sign the contract.  Naturally, you need time to move and properly set up your servers and get up and running. If you need a few weeks to move in, understand that the meter might already be running before you are. Luckily, we have fast mover products that are ready-made and available to ship in as little as 3-5 business days.

Stay tuned next week for part 3: Return of the PDU to learn about Server Technology’s power solutions for colos.

Topics: colocation

10 Things You Need to Know Before Ramping Up to 415 VAC Power

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 20, 2017 1:03:33 PM

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You and your team members have been thinking about switching your cabinets to 415/240 VAC. This will reduce the total number of transformers in your power path, which should in effect reduce power loss — and operating costs — in your facility.  

Hold onto your horses before getting started, though. Here are 10 things you should know before attempting this:

  1. Most international data centers are already doing it: Be prepared to answer some questions from your supervisor or facilities manager. You may receive some pushback about pumping more voltage into your cabinets. That’s because here in the U.S., most data centers are using 240/120, 208/120 or 480/277 VAC systems. 208/120V high leg delta systems are sometimes used, too. But throughout the rest of the world, 400/230 VAC power distribution setups are commonplace. And this trend is quickly spreading throughout North America, as data centers are finding they need more power to support increasing densities and workloads.

 

  1. Mind your frequency: Most North American IT devices require 60Hz to operate, meaning they require a current that changes direction about 60 times per second. However, most 400 VAC systems run at 50Hz, and so you may run into some performance issues. This is true especially with your heating and cooling systems. You’ll want to keep a close watch on this, and look to see if there is a correlation if you start experiencing quality problems.

 

  1. Determine how to measure power loss: Talk with your team members and discuss whether you want to view power loss as an overhead expense, or an IT issue. Many large data centers — like Google — consider loss from a server’s power cord to be an overhead power expense. Google, for instance, only measures its servers, networking equipment and storage systems when calculating power usage effectiveness (PUE). Make sure you and your team members are all on the same page before proceeding to eliminate confusion.

 

To that point, it’s also time to stop calculating PUE if you haven’t already done so. As we discussed in a recent blog post, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning (ASHRAE) now has a new standard for measuring data center efficiency. And it does not include PUE.

 

  1. Plan for fault currents: By increasing your system voltage, you will increase the risk for fault currents on your network devices. Make sure that your downstream equipment has a high level of interrupting capacity, so that you avoid short circuits that could lead to unplanned system downtime.

 

  1. Follow safety precautions: By ramping up to 415/240 VAC, you will be operating a system that has more power, and more voltage. It’s not a simple tweak, but a serious change that could have major repercussions if you aren’t careful — namely serious injury or even death for IT personnel. Arc flashes, for instance — or electrical explosions — can sometimes happen when increasing power and voltage. So make sure that your staff members are well educated about the risks that come with the project, and that they are using proper safety gear in the data center.

 

  1. Ensure all devices are optimized: Most IT devices can operate between either 100 to 120 VAC, or between 200 and 240 VAC. But this is not something you want to guess about. Check each device’s nameplate rating to make sure they are capable of working safely at a higher voltage. If they can, you are golden; running devices at the higher voltages, equaling a lower current for the same power, will increase efficiencies approximately 2 to 3.5 percent.

 

  1. Watch out for higher costs: While increasing your power and voltage can save you money in the long run, it can also increase operating expenses- regardless, you are able to utilize more power at a more efficient rate. With that in mind, it’s important to monitor your system consistently in order to keep track of daily expenses.

 

  1. Temperatures may increase, too: Of course, you’ll also want to keep a close watch on your data center’s environmental conditions. This is especially important if you are running heavy workloads. Your best bet is to invest in an intelligent PDU that provides real-time environmental monitoring in addition to power metrics. Look for a solution that can send SNMP alerts, so that your team can spring to action if things go haywire in your data center.

 

  1. You will lose compatibility with 120V IT devices: Another thing to keep in mind is that some IT equipment may come with a 120 VAC NEMA power cord, which will not be compatible with a CDU in a 415/240 VAC system. You’ll need to switch over to a device that uses an IEC-based cord.

 

  1. Control is critical: The success of this operation will be determined by your ability to understand how your system is performing, and to make remote changes immediately when problems arise. Surprises will undoubtedly occur on the way, and you need to be in a position where you can react quickly.

 

Server Technology offers the Sentry Power Manager, which is a centralized, Web-based management console that you can use to manage your 415V setup. With the help of SPM, you can confidently migrate to a higher voltage in your data center safely and confidently.

 

To learn more information, click here.

 

Topics: 240/415V, efficiency