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Hyperscale Data Centers: Thoughts On Support and Service?

Posted by Marc Cram on Sep 19, 2017 11:00:45 AM

businessman hand using tablet computer and server room background.jpeg

Your hyperscale data center operates on a lean budget. You want to install your hardware and be done with it until you decommission it for the next efficiency-driven replacement cycle.  But real world hardware does fail, and when it does, you want your suppliers to be both knowledgeable and responsive. They need to be able to troubleshoot remotely or on site, and get you answers and replacement product quickly so that your application can be restored.

I’m interested in knowing your thoughts:

  1. In your opinion, who offers the best technical support for PDUs?
  1. What is “state of the art” when it comes to service?
  1. How could we do a better job for you?

Email me at [email protected] or on twitter @mcram01

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


Topics: Service Oriented, Hyperscale

Beijing Bans Data Centers with High PUEs

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 15, 2017 9:49:52 AM

In a surprising announcement, the Chinese government has issued a full ban on data centers in Beijing whose power usage effectiveness (PUE) exceeds 1.5.
As explained in Data Center Knowledge, the move is part of a larger push by the Chinese government to improve the environmental footprint of the rapidly-growing country. Now, the government is starting to crack down on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
PUE refers to the total amount of energy used by a data center facility in comparison to the energy delivered by its computing equipment. A reading close to 1 is considered to be very efficient. Most data centers in China, however, have a PUE of 2.2 according to a recent study from Yale Forestry’s Environment 360 publication.
Businesses with data centers in China must now decide how to respond to this new regulation. Already, some organizations left the city rather than adhere to compliance. This, however, is not the most efficient way to handle the situation. Beijing is a huge market, especially from an edge computing perspective. Businesses today are trying to bring their data centers closer to end users in key markets, not further away. And Beijing — a city with 21.5 million people — is a huge market.
An alternative option is to use intelligent power distribution units to discover where energy waste is occurring in the data center, so that immediate action can be taken to curb excessive usage. With the help of Server Technology’s products, data centers in Beijing can significantly improve power efficiencies.
So take our advice: Don’t run from a high PUE reading. Fight back using data gleaned from real-time power monitoring solutions.
To learn more about how Server Technology can help, click here.
Learn Why Our Customers Choose Servertech Again and Again

Topics: PUE, Power Usage Effectiveness PUE, Beijing

Enhance Your UPS System with Real-time Power Monitoring

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 11, 2017 2:41:57 PM


Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems have emerged as a main driver of growth in the booming data center power market — a market, it should be noted, that will continue growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6 percent until 2025, when it will reach $10.77 billion.  

As explained in a new report, UPS can now be considered the backbone of the modern data center. These systems ensure that servers and networking devices can continue to operate as normal in the event of an unplanned accident or natural disaster.

The UPS segment, it should be noted, took in the largest share of this market in 2016. This is partially due to the rising demand for data center power. And over the next several years, this market will continue to grow due to the increasing penetration of IoT technologies, and artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

Now, consider this:

If a UPS system can be considered the backbone of the modern data center, then we can liken intelligent power distribution units (PDU) to the nervous system. Intelligent PDUs can collect and report critical power metrics directly from the rack level. PDUs, in fact, are one of the most important supporting components for UPS systems because of the fact that they can provide real-time information about how servers are consuming energy — and whether they are operationally sound and efficient.

Intelligent PDUs from Server Technology can be combined with the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform, a web-based management console that can be used to remotely monitor energy consumption throughout all areas of the data center.

Remember: When the power goes out, there can’t be any question as to whether or not your UPS system will turn on.  Server Technology can provide you with that peace of mind.

View Switched POPS Online Demo Today

Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, uptime, UPS

Houston’s Data Centers Emerged from Harvey Unscathed

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 5, 2017 10:12:46 AM

HurricaneHarvey-NASA.jpgThe brunt of Image credit: NASA

Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall has finally passed, meaning the long cleanup and recovery process can now commence.

Here at Server Technology, our hearts go out to all of the victims that were impacted by the storm, and to those who will be facing terrible difficulties in the days to come. Already, Harvey is being called the biggest flood-producing storm in U.S. history. Its winds reached 125 mph and brought more than 50 inches of rain to the region, which is an American record.

Looking ahead, there are many questions that are starting to come to the surface — perhaps the biggest for the U.S. data center community being, when will the next major storm reach land? And what will it entail? Some scientists now believe hurricanes are in fact getting worse due to climate change, and weaker storms are also happening less frequently.

“If we just look at frequency, there’s really no theory that says we should see fewer or more storms,” stated James Elsner, climate scientist, and geographer at Florida State University. “But if we look at intensity separately, there is a theory that says they should get stronger — especially the strongest ones. And we do see some evidence for that in the data.”

As such, extreme weather is something that U.S. data center administrators need to take very seriously. There is no telling what the next major storm will bring. After all, we are only in August and hurricane season is just starting to heat up. Already, there is another storm in the works: Tropical storm Irma, which researchers are closely monitoring.

If there is any silver lining to take away from Hurricane Harvey, it’s that the area’s data centers were well prepared for this event. Houston’s data centers successfully weathered the storm, as every facility stayed up and running and transmitting essential network services to local citizens.

As explained in Data Center Frontier, the key decisions that kept the region’s data centers up and running were made years ago during the site selection process. Houston’s data centers were well positioned in areas that were safe from the rising flood waters.

Every data center administrator — particularly those in charge of overseeing facilities designed for emergency response or communications — needs to look at Hurricane Harvey as an opportunity to reassess their own data center safety measures. This is particularly important for data centers located in areas that are prone to flooding or other types of disasters.

Remember: Don’t wait for a catastrophe to find out whether your facility is ready for the challenge! Take this as a warning, and make sure that your data center has the appropriate solutions in place to stay up and running during inclement weather.

To learn more about how Server Technology’s cutting-edge power management solutions can help, click here

Learn More About Our Solutions

Topics: Hurricane Harvey

Email Enhancements in SPM 6.1

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 1, 2017 9:18:54 AM

Email Enhancements SPM 6.1.png

Sorry, hang on.  I just got an email from my rack PDU.

And with that, the word is out about the latest version of our Sentry Power Manager software.  In the new 6.1 release, the first major upgrade to the award-winning SPM 6.0 platform, the intelligence behind our power distribution units just got a little smarter.

Seriously, smarter intelligence in now a thing.

While the SPM introduced the data center and colocation world to outlet-level metering and management in a single pane of glass, our latest release brings your rack power distribution to new and uncharted territory:  your inbox.


Here are some features of the new enhanced email release, all designed to allow you to send the right message at the right time to the right people:

Distribution groups.  You can set up single user or groups as recipients of alarms and notifications from your devices.  Multiple groups can also be created to support different policies that require notification of different personnel or departments.

Alarm policies.  You can set up separate policies for different types of alarms, based on the level or type of the alarm.  Depending on the situation, you can also establish the delay rules for the policy, which controls the amount of time between the alarm and the release of an email to the distribution group assigned to the policy.  Once set up, you can also toggle the alarm on and off.

Escalation.  If the alert is not resolved within an established timeframe, or within the distribution group you have established for the original policy, it will automatically roll over to the next policy in the chain.

Learn more about SPM alerts here.

For more information about our enhanced email escalation feature, check out the new Server Technology technical note about the software update. 

Need better insights into your data center?  Try Sentry Power Manager for a 120-Day Free Trial!

Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, Sentry Power Manager

Power Management: A Critical Need for Hyperscale Providers

Posted by RJ Tee on Aug 29, 2017 6:00:00 AM


It’s no secret that data centers are massive energy hogs. As explained in a recent Server Technology white paper, “The Power of Hyperscale Compute,” a typical data centers can be 10 to 100 times more energy-intensive than an office. And altogether, data centers use about 3 percent of the U.S. electricity supply.

Over the last two decades, as compute and storage densities have increased, rack power densities have also skyrocketed. In the past, a typical rack would consume an average of 1 to 2 kilowatts of power. Now, as we move deeper into the hyperscale era, loads are hovering around 20 to 40 kilowatts. More servers and hard drives are being put into single racks today than ever before, in a scale out approach.

As such, hyperscale providers now require advanced technologies for tracking electricity consumption and for accurate capacity planning. And one of the best ways to accomplish this is to use cutting-edge power distribution units equipped with real-time monitoring features.

But that’s not all.

The white paper also explains how hyperscale providers today require the partnership of a supply base that can support the high volume, quick turn production of hardware. This includes servers, storage, networking, racks and more.

This is especially true with power management solutions which are integral for the daily operation of hyperscale facilities.

Server Technology specializes in offering top of the line power management products and accessories that can be shipped very quickly — sometimes even on the same day. Plus, Server Technology’s PDUs are Trade Agreements Act (TAA) certified which make them acceptable for use with federal government agencies.

To learn more about Server Technology, click here. To access the white paper on hyperscale computing, click here.

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


Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, remote power management, Hyperscale

Hyperscale Data Centers: Do You Use A Bespoke Power Solution...Or Not?

Posted by Marc Cram on Aug 28, 2017 1:42:54 PM


You have a deadline, and you have your goals. 

Your hyperscale data center design needs to maximize power efficiency. Use free air cooling or adiabatic cooling. And support ambient air operating temperature of 25-35oC, with hot aisle exhaust temperatures approaching 60oC. 

You need lots of outlets – C13s, C19s, or even something that allows you to blind mate servers to the power strip. 

And it needs to meet regulatory requirements in most major geographical regions around the world. 

You want to keep it simple.  

And you will need to stand up thousands of them in a very tight time frame. That screams for a basic power strip – just power in and power out. 

Or does it? 

The no-compromises solution is a power strip that supports remote outlet switching and offers integration through SNMP or via API to most major DCIM and data center management tools.

I’d like to hear from you:

  1. Who do you turn to for advice?
  2. What do you look for in a supplier?
  3. What matters most in the product you choose?

Server Technology has been in the PDU business for over 20 years, and created custom power solutions for most every internet property on the planet in volume and on time, with all the right certifications.  Whether you have a CAD file for a build to print situation or just a sketch on a napkin that you need someone to finish, your Power Strategy Expert from Server Technology can help. Engineers are standing by!

And if you want more of a self-service option, check out the only “Build Your Own PDU” site on the web.

Email me at [email protected] or on twitter @mcram01

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

Topics: build your own PDU, Hyperscale

What is a PDU?

Posted by RJ Tee on Aug 21, 2017 1:54:50 PM


What is a PDU?

This may seem like a rather existential question, particularly from the blog space of one of the leaders in the marketplace.  So why ask such an obvious question?

Well, because the answer is not entirely clear.  The mission-critical data center world is chock full of acronyms, those pesky, foreshortened forms of communication that allow us to sum up so much in an efficient amount of space.  But when they take on a life of their own, they become like the little monsters in the movie ‘Gremlins.’

I’m dating myself here, but seriously – don’t add water. 


Unlike a UPS, STS, or ATS, all of which are specific electrical components that perform particular functions, the term ‘PDU’ is decidedly unspecific.  Power distribution unit.  Power distribution unit.  Power distribution unit.  Couldn’t those three words apply to any number of devices in an electrical system whose job it is to, uh, distribute power?

And indeed it could – and does.  So the market has abandoned some old phrases and added some new ones to better describe the thing you plug into your rack. 

Remember the term power strip?  Sounds like something you bought at Radio Shack to plug your Tandy computer into, right? Or how about the server rack power strip or the rack mount PDU?  Those were the days. 

Tandy Model 4 Personal Computer

TRS-80 Model 4 - OldComputers.com

Some of the more interesting and newer versions bring the idea of directionality, like the horizontal PDU or the vertical PDU.  Or the approach of adding an acronym to the acronym (0U PDU), or just changing the acronym altogether, like the CDU (cabinet distribution unit).

It would be great if we, as an industry, could settle on a single moniker for that receptacle-laden rectangular bar of power found inside the rack that meters, manages, and brings your IT equipment to life.

But for now we call it a Rack PDU.  We hope you will, too.

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

Topics: Rack power distribution, Power Distribution Unit, PDU

On the Subject of Electrical Inequality

Posted by RJ Tee on Aug 18, 2017 3:35:34 PM


I must admit I have been thinking a lot about quality lately.

Our data center industry, at its core, is about power correction, conditioning, and quality.  The ability of a mission-critical electrical system to deliver the proper sine wave to the server is a multi-billion-dollar industry. 

(My apologies in advance to the mechanical minded for such unilateral statements.)

But as I ponder that fact, I can’t help but wonder why there's a tendency to buy only the best switchgear and generators, and pinch pennies when it comes to rack PDU’s?

Here are a few thoughts on the paradox of such logic:

You don’t plug a server into a generator.  Indeed, this practice has never existed.  And the truth is that the first encounter your IT equipment has with the electrical system is not with any of the big ticket electrical items such as UPS or generator, but with the lowly power distribution unit in the back of the rack.


This powertrain doesn’t have a caboose.  Don’t worry, the average rack PDU doesn’t get offended.  But it would like to remind you of its critical position in the powertrain.  In a mission-critical one-line, there is no portion of the infrastructure that is less important than another.  In data centers, the powertrain is all engines – if any portion fails, the entire enterprise comes to a standstill on the tracks.     

Read the Uptime is Revenue Industry Brief Today

Your budget afterthought.  In most data center projects, the electrical build is the largest single line item in the budget.  And within that budget, the choice of rack PDU usually accounts for 2-3% of the overall spend.  That’s all.  So doesn’t it make sense to buy the absolute best rack PDU’s for your IT equipment, and spend your time and effort scrutinizing the largest components?  Keep in mind that fractional savings on switchgear, for example, would more than pay for the highest quality rack PDU available.   

For more ideas about how to improve the quality of your rack PDU’s, you can check out the entire Server Technology product line here.

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

Topics: data center power, rack PDU

Pushing the Easy Button: Tips for Remote Power Management

Posted by RJ Tee on Aug 15, 2017 11:50:47 AM


For those of you who are working through the issues of remotely managing your data center power, or are thinking about heading in that direction, we have a few pearls of wisdom.

There is definitely some confusion in the industry about smart versus switched power distribution units.  I’d like to take a minute to talk about the latter.  Although both types of rack PDU’s have the same features such as circuit protection, monitoring, security, and communications, it is the switched variety that opens the doors to remotely managing your data center.

Not exactly like a T.V. remote, but I think you know what I mean.

Switched PDU’s give you the ability to control power to a server or other device using a single command to the unit.  Particularly handy for multi-site or colocation applications, the ability to reboot a machine without leaving your desk is a big step for productivity improvement, and one giant leap for mankind.

You can also more closely control power utilization at the rack level.  Based on trending data or analysis of the historical use of equipment within a rack, a data center manager can lock out unused outlets so that the circuit feeding the rack is not overloaded.  Again, managing power at the rack is now an armchair activity.

Data centers are also known to waste power by running equipment during off-hours when it is not in use.  But what if you could push a button and manage the working hours of your equipment?   A switched PDU allows operators to strategically schedule power to specific equipment to improve the efficiency of their facilities and reduce their electrical bills.

For more information about these kinds of strategies, take a look at a recent white paper about a government agency that reduced its power usage, by an average of 50 percent, using a switched PDU.

Learn more about how Server Technology can improve your remote data center management, click here.


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


Topics: switched PDUs, Remote Power Monitoring, remote power management