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Data Center Choices: A Colocation Facility?

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 14, 2017 8:35:00 AM

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A long time ago in a data center far, far away, users had only a handful of choices: build your own enterprise data center or house a server rack in your company’s storage closet. The hybrid options were few and far between.

Colocation facilities are attractive to many businesses because they provide a “best of both worlds” scenario with many of the physical benefits of larger data centers along with more platform flexibility than the cloud.

Staked out as a piece of middle ground, the colocation facility is essentially a building where tenants can bring their own servers, racks and power, with the colo provider ensuring uptime, cooling and a secure environment. Think of it like this. If enterprise data centers are mega mansions, then colocations are high-end condominiums with multiple tenants.

Server Technology Regional Sales Manager Jon Vanhoose says moving to a colo needs to make sense for your business, and that it’s not a one-size fits all scenario.

“Compared with operating a privately-owned data center, moving to a colo comes down to a calculation of your costs,” Vanhoose says. “As long as you’re not giving anything up from a security or operational standpoint, it’s a great, affordable choice.”

So, how does a colo work? As you’ll see, it depends.

 

BYO Equipment

In some cases, the colocation provider merely provides a shell – a building in which to house your racks, power and other infrastructure. In this case, it’s truly a bring-your-own equipment situation, where you call the shots with your power, cabinets and other components.

 

You Bring Some Equipment

In other cases, the colocation provider will furnish you with everything which can include power, but the racks are up to you to deliver.

 

Full-Service Colos

In this third instance, the colocation provider provides nearly everything you need to get up and running. In this full-service arrangement, you have little to no control over your power, rack types or ability to monitor the temperature of your own equipment. You have to take the colo’s word that everything is running smoothly and efficiently.

With each of these types of agreements, the way you’re billed for power can also vary, from actual usage to a flat rate, which we’ll explain in part two of this series.

Whatever the case, a colocation facility is attractive to those seeking more control than a cloud-based solution can provide. Many businesses will choose a colo over the cloud because they’re running platforms that aren’t cloud compliant or because they have specific security needs that simply won’t work with the cloud.

One major feature of a colocation environment is reliably consistent uptime. With the rise of e-commerce and the need to be operational 24/7, colocation providers are jockeying to guarantee 100 percent uptime. For smaller companies, however, the cost of a colo simply doesn’t make sense, despite the advantage of uptime.

“Price is a big factor when choosing to move to a colo, “Vanhoose says. “A lot of organizations just aren’t that big. If you have a server rack in the back of your office, it’s really a minimal cost. With colos, people are paying a premium for connectivity to the web and for uptime. It’s a convenience thing.”

Regardless of what your situation may be, a colo may might be an answer to your strategic business requirements.  For more information about what Server Technology can do for you in regards to your current or next colo deployment, visit our Colocation Solutions page.

Next week, we’ll delve into the tough questions you need to ask your colo provider before signing on the dotted line.  

Click Here To Learn About Server Technology's Solutions For Your Colocation Environment

Topics: colocation

No Room for Errors When Planning for Data Center Power Capacity

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 10, 2017 3:36:37 PM

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As a data center administrator, one of the most important parts of your job — besides maintaining uptime and staying under budget — involves monitoring and managing your department’s resources. It’s your responsibility to make sure that your data center is fully capable of meeting the current and future needs of your enterprise and its changing customer base.

Of course, capacity planning is a broad topic that extends throughout all areas of the data center. It’s important to stay on top of resources like cooling, available rack and floor space, lighting and more. But all of these resources have one underlying commonality: They need electricity to function.  So data center power usage should be a top resource to monitor.

Many businesses, however, are still using outdated and ineffective power capacity planning solutions. Paper and spreadsheets, for instance, are still widely-used throughout the industry despite being prone to error and manipulation. With this type of system in place, it’s easy to miscalculate power usage data and submit reports that are inaccurate.

This can lead to the following problems:

Wasted dollars: Data centers are highly resource-intensive, which means every dollar must be put to good use. Power must be tracked and measured, in order to ensure that the most important infrastructure is receiving adequate amounts. It’s also important to know which servers are idle and how much electricity they are consuming — especially for data centers that operate at scale.

Greenwashing: Sustainability is a hot topic in marketing today. Unilever recently released a report showing that a third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their environmental and social impact. But if you’re thinking of using your data center to bolster your company’s status as an ecologically-friendly organization, you’ll have to be able to back up your claim with accurate reports and statistics. Otherwise, your business could be labeled as a “greenwasher,” or a business that spreads disinformation to appear responsible to the public.

Here’s how you can avoid this:

There is only one way to accurately manage data center power consumption, and that is by using intelligent power distribution units (PDU) with embedded monitoring, reporting and switching functions.

Server Technology offers a variety of smart PDUs featuring High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT), which provide an industry-leading 42 C13 outlets in a single chassis. Many units also work in conjunction with the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) which is a fully-automated, Web-based power management platform.

SPM predicts future power usage with Min/Max/Average values using predictive trends and ascension rates. Using this product, you will actually be able to see the approximate time that your data center will exceed its power, capacity or temperature thresholds.

Best of all, SPM makes it easy to compile and export data center power usage reports, so that all team members can stay informed about electricity allocation. Ultimately, this creates a better sense of teamwork and collaboration while eliminating errors. The end result is a data center that runs more efficiently, cost-effectively and securely.

Learn more about how Server Technology can improve  your business’s capacity management strategy  

Topics: SPM, capacity planning, Capacity planning solution

Still Using the PUE Standard In Your Data Center?

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 3, 2017 1:38:53 PM

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For the better part of the last decade, IT professionals have been using a metric called Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) to measure data center energy efficiency.

But what exactly is PUE? And should you be using it to track energy efficiency in your facility?

Here’s what you need to know:

PUE is nothing more than a ratio that compares a data center’s total energy consumption to the energy that is consumed by its IT equipment. In other words, it’s a way of seeing how much power your servers are using, versus your lights. The ideal PUE for a data center is 1.0, while a reading closer to 2.0 indicates that for every kilowatt of electricity consumed by the equipment, another kilowatt is needed to power the facility.

PUE was first introduced back in 2006 by Green Grid, a non-profit organization of IT professionals. And despite the metric’s many shortcomings (PUE readings are highly prone to error and manipulation, to the point where it’s hard to take a reading seriously) the metric quickly emerged one of the most common ways to track data center energy consumption.

This has changed. In 2016, PUE was officially eliminated as an acceptable metric for data center power efficiency by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning (ASHRAE) — a global society committed to furthering sustainable construction. This happened when ASHRAE updated Standard 90.1, which offers recommended requirements for efficient energy design in buildings.

ASHRAE recognized that data centers have unique power management needs apart from common commercial spaces. So, the group created standard 90.4P specifically for data centers.

The ASHRAE 90.4 standard takes many factors into consideration, such as operation, maintenance, design and construction and the use of renewable resources. What’s more, ASHRAE 90.4P defines the data center as a conditioned space, room or building that has an IT equipment load exceeding 10kW, as well as a power utilization factor of more than 20-watts per square foot.

As of right now, the data center industry is still in the process of moving from standard 90.1 to 90.4P.

“We worked very hard to craft this standard in a manner that does not stifle innovation in the data center industry while simultaneously offering criteria to help ensure energy savings,” stated Ron Jarnagin, chair of the ASHRAE 90.4 committee. “It is important to keep in mind that data centers are mission critical facilities where risk management is the primary concern.”

Perhaps most importantly, the standard introduces two new metrics: Mechanical load components (MLC) and electrical loss components (ELC).

Here at Server Technology, we maintain that the easiest way to track energy usage in your facility is to take an automated, real-time approach to management. Using the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) in conjunction with intelligent power distribution units will provide you everything you need to track and plan for power efficiency.

 
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To learn more information, click here.

Topics: SPM Sentry Power Manager, PUE, Power Usage Effectiveness PUE

Fast Mover PDUs | Server Technology

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 1, 2017 10:10:00 AM

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Need It Yesterday? Check Out Server Technology’s Fast Mover PDUs

Let’s face it, power is often one of the last boxes you tick on your data center to-do list. Nobody intends to save one of the most mission critical elements for last, but time and again, it’s one of the final pieces of the puzzle data center managers deal with.

Rest easy. Server Technology has you covered.

Meet the Fast Movers line of rack PDUs. When you need reliable power in a hurry, these powerful rack PDUs fit the bill. Server Technology’s Fast Mover line is a class of PDUs that can be quickly assembled and shipped – generally within three to five days of your initial order. Moving to a colocation when the clock is ticking on your SLA? Need a single strip for your server cabinet? Whatever the case, Fast Movers will get you up and running in a short time.

Fast Movers are comprised of PDUs from each of Server Technology’s power families, including Switched, Smart and Metered power distribution units. Each Fast Mover is compatible with our award-winning Sentry Power Manager software which lets you keep an eye on your data center operations at all times.


The Origin of Fast Movers

Tapping into the power of Server Technology’s global contractors, the Fast Mover line represents some of the most popular rack PDU options based on product popularity, meaning there’s a solution for every need in this line of PDUs.

Developing the Fast Mover line was a no-brainer, says Server Technology’s Director of Manufacturing Operations, Jeremy Foroszowsky.

“We looked back at our high-volume products that customers consistently ordered and made a subset of our core product class and called them Fast Movers,” Foroszowsky says. “These are PDUs we’ve agreed to hold in our inventory so we can achieve that three- to five-day ship time. As a result, we’ve set up our supply chain to be able to accomplish that.”

“Three to five days is fast,” he says. “With most of our PDUs, we’re typically looking at a 10-day window. Normally, if we’re going to build something on the production floor, we need around five days, not only to process the order, but to pick the parts, build it and ship it. Even that is fast.”

Foroszowsky is quick to add that the Fast Mover line is just a small part of Server Technology’s commitment to delivering quality solutions for its customers.

“We’re not a commodity based company,” he says. “We’re based on specialization and getting the customers exactly what they need. So, coming up with this was really important to recognize what our competition is doing as well as being able to provide customized products.”

  Shop Our Fast Movers Line Here Today

Topics: PDU, Fast Movers, colocation

Single vs. Three Phase Power Distribution - Know the Difference

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 30, 2017 9:48:00 AM

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Electricity is the single most important resource in a data center, as it’s needed for powering every system — from the servers on the floor to the lights overhead.

At the same time, electricity is incredibly expensive, dangerous and easy to mismanage — especially when considering the sheer volume of power that is typically used. Some facilities, after all, use enough electricity to power hundreds of thousands of homes. Even though energy efficiency is now top of mind for data center administrators, there’s no getting around the fact that data centers consume a great deal of power. As such, it’s vital to have the correct underlying power distribution system in place before moving in and setting up any equipment.

Many customers, however, are still asking whether they should use single or three-phase power in their data centers. This article will explore the basic differences between the two systems.

What makes these systems different?

Single-phase power systems distribute up to 120V of alternating current. This current is distributed over two wires: A single, active conductor and a neutral one. The current changes size and direction at regular intervals. Single-phase wires are usually grounded at the switchboard.  

These systems are mostly used in residential settings that have small workloads. They are rarely used in data centers today, as the majority of cabinets are too dense and require more electricity than single-phase systems can provide. And this is where three-phase systems come into play.

What makes three-phase power distribution the better choice for data centers?

Three-phase power systems are comprised of three alternating currents, each varying in phase by 120 degrees.

To illustrate the difference between single and three-phase power distribution, think of waves crashing onto a beach. Normally a wave crashes, recedes back into the ocean and then a few seconds later another wave follows. This is like a single-phase alternating current.

Now, imagine there is no time between waves as they crash onto shore. As soon as one wave hits, another is there to follow, and then another. This is what three-phase alternating current looks like. The power flow never ebbs; it always flows. It’s the difference between using a single 120V alternating current for power, versus one that combines a 208V circuit with three more 120V circuits.

So, if someone is recommending single-phase power distribution for your data center, make sure you get a second opinion from a certified power expert. If you are operating a large data center that is carrying heavy workloads, you should strongly consider using a three-phase power distribution system.

Server Technology offers a variety of solutions that support three-phase electricity systems, as well as the Sentry Power Manager (SPM), a centralized data center power monitoring and management platform. 

To learn more about Server Technology, click here.

Topics: three phase, single phase, three phase power

Federal Data Centers: Use Switched POPS PDUs To Slash Power Costs

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 27, 2017 9:32:50 AM

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While the private sector is experiencing unprecedented data center growth, the exact opposite is happening in the public sector. Even though the federal government is using just as much data and technology as any other entity, the marching order for federal data center operators is reduce, reduce, reduce.

Over the last several years, the U.S. government — led by the White House and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) — have cracked down significantly on federal data center spending. Under the Data Center Optimization Initiative, and the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI), federal agencies must actively strive to close extraneous data center facilities. At least 52 percent must go by the end of 2018. And facilities that do remain in operation must reduce costs, and support eco-friendly practices. 

“The Data Center Optimization Initiative, released [Aug. 1st, 2016], continues and builds upon the progress of FDDCI and ensures robust implementation of the data center provisions of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA),” stated federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott in a blog post. “The initiative requires agencies to implement strategies to consolidate inefficient infrastructure, optimize existing facilities, improve security posture, achieve cost savings, and transition to more efficient infrastructure, such as cloud services and interagency shared services.”

Now, everyone is wondering whether this plan will continue under the Trump administration. As of right now, it’s unclear how the president elect’s administration will handle federal IT spending, but so far there is no indication that these initiatives will be repealed — especially under Republican control where spending is liable to be limited. So the pressure is still on for federal data center operators to press forward and continue optimizing throughout 2017. In many ways, this is a critical year.

On one hand, it’s hard to argue against the initiative from a managerial perspective. In fact, it’s been quite successful. Since the launch of the FDCCI, federal agencies have closed 1,900 data centers, and reduced the total real estate footprint for federal data centers by 1.2 million square feet — resulting in a total cost savings of nearly $1 billion.

On the other hand, it’s creating some problems — particularly for agencies who need their data centers, and for employees who need their jobs.

Your main priority right now as a federal IT administrator should be to get a handle on your monthly data center spend, so that you can keep your facility up and running. If you fail to do so, it could mean the end of your department —and you and your colleagues could either be re-assigned, or put out of work. What’s more, your agency’s data center may either be outsourced or consolidated which will directly impact daily operations.

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Server Technology to the Rescue

Here’s how Server Technology can help: 

Server Technology offers intelligent Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) Switched PDUs, that can be instrumental in your efforts to streamline data center power management — which is traditionally one of the most problematic data center expenses. Server Technology’s Switched POPS PDUs offer highly-accurate, outlet-level power monitoring for unparalleled visibility and control over rack-level power consumption. With this product, you can stop guessing and start making decisions based on hard metrics. 

That’s’ because Switched POPS PDUs will allow you to see exactly how much power you are using at the rack level in real-time, by providing a detailed glimpse into metrics such as voltage, active power, apparent power, crest factor, power factor and power consumption (measured in W-hours). And their embedded switching function makes it possible to perform remote power management tasks anyplace you have web access. This line of intelligent PDUs also comes with optional temperature and humidity probes for advanced environmental monitoring. With this feature, you can consolidate workloads and increase rack densities safely and efficiently. Switched POPS PDUs come with SNMP trap email alerts, for automated warnings about real-time environmental conditions in your data center.

Server Technology: Working For America’s Biggest Government Agencies 
Rest assured, your agency won’t be the only department working with Server Technology. Server Technology, based out of Reno, Nevada, provides rack power distribution units for a variety of government customers including: 
• Air Force 
• Coast Guard 
• NAVY
• ARMY 
• Department of Energy 
• NASA 
• National Institutes of Health

Server Technology’s PDUs are manufactured in TAA-compliant locations. And since they are produced and stocked here in the U.S.A., they are able to ship faster – meaning you can count on Server Technology for speedy and reliable deliveries.

So don’t wait to take action. For more information about how your data center can leverage Switched POPS PDUs, call 703-295-2059 or email govsales@servertech.com.

 

Learn More About Our Government Solutions

Topics: power costs, government data center, Switched PDU, POPs, HDOT Switched POPS

Innovative Solutions For Government Clients: Part 2

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 23, 2017 11:30:00 AM

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In Part 1, we explained how the federal government is improving data center efficiency, lowering overall energy costs and optimizing their data center environments. In our next segment, we will dive deeper into solutions that can help meet those critical needs.

Federal Sales Manager Jason Mollicone discusses how Server Technology’s expertise with intelligent PDUs positions the company to best provide solutions to the power challenges faced by the federal government. He says the need for remote monitoring and management has become a priority over the past couple of years.

“We’re really starting to see those conversations come up in the federal space,” he says, explaining that Server Technology’s intelligent rack power solutions – from our Smart rack PDUs to our Switched PDUs - can help clients drill down to the outlet level, if needed, to see individual IT device power consumption and trends while allowing all necessary data points to be collected.

“Also, you have remote access into your PDUs, so if something needs to be turned off or rebooted remotely, you can do so very quickly,” he says. “In addition, from a security perspective, you can lock individual outlets to ensure proper access is granted prior to plugging in additional devices.”

On the Front Lines of Power Trends

A big buzzword in not only the government space, but with all data centers – is efficiency. Mollicone says one of Server Technology’s efficient solutions, Alt-Phase technology, can greatly enhance efficiency in three phase power applications. Alt Phase technology allows customers to easily balance loads by cording outlet by outlet instead of bank by bank, as you do in a traditional 3 phase rack PDU. This improves operational efficiency by allowing the customer to properly utilize available power in each rack, while improving air flow. In addition, it keeps phases well balanced, which increases power efficiency and lowers overall costs. 

The Impact of DCOI

With the institution of the Federal government’s Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI), which requires agencies to optimize their existing infrastructure and report on their efforts to do so, Mollicone says the pace of finding more efficient solutions for government clients has quickened.

“These data centers are very expensive to operate and maintain,” he says. “So, the more we can do to help lower costs, while providing the right solution, the better.”

Server Technology’s solutions for our federal clients also include the ability to provide more outlets per rack, which is found in our High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT) PDUs. The reason this is crucial, Mollicone says, is because the government’s recent consolidation efforts means we’re seeing rack densities increase.

“Equipment that may traditionally require three or four rack PDUs can now be implemented in two rack PDUs,” he says. “The more outlets we can put into one rack PDU means fewer PDUs are needed overall, resulting in less total hardware, lower costs and cleaner airflow, all while minimizing deployment time. That’s a good thing because it means there is less to manage and speaks very well to the goals of DCOI.”

Ultimately, it comes down to serving the client’s needs and developing innovative solutions to meet – and exceed – their expectations, a value Server Technology was founded on.

“If you can understand their challenges and have a solution that touches on all those points, there’s nothing more powerful,” he says.

Topics: data center power, efficiency, government data center

Data Center Power Market Is Poised For Growth

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 20, 2017 8:50:00 AM

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Back in the early days of information technology, data centers were almost embarrassingly wasteful entities. But this was a different time, before the necessary technology was available to accurately track and manage power consumption over time.

Today, the data center industry is changing as businesses everywhere are actively looking for ways to reduce total operating costs and improve energy efficiencies.  As such, data center power management has emerged as a top priority for enterprises and should be for quite some time.

Proof can be seen in a recent report from Research and Markets, which predicts the global data center power industry will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.59 percent from 2016 to 2020. This figure includes revenue generated from the sales of power distribution units (PDUs), uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems, data center power infrastructure, generators, transfer switches and switchgear.

There are many different factors influencing the market, but one that stands out is green data center construction. Concern for excessive carbon emissions and electricity consumption has reached the C-suite, as many enterprise decisions makers are now trying to reduce their total carbon footprints. So over the next few years, we should continue to see a great deal of green construction throughout the industry.

Server Technology, a leading provider of intelligent data center power management solutions and accessories based out of Reno, NV, was named as a prominent vendor in the data center power market.

Here is a look at some of Server Technology’s most popular data center power management solutions that you can browse from:

pdu solutions

Sentry Power Manger: This award-winning data center power management platform makes it easy to monitor and control an entire network of onsite or distributed PDUs. It’s user-friendly, highly secure and ideal for data centers of all sizes. SPM can be used to streamline reporting, maintenance scheduling, environmental conditions, energy efficiency and capacity planning in the data center. It’s also very useful for guaranteeing rack redundancy.

Switched POPS PDU: Server Technology’s Switched Per Outlet Power Sensing PDUs offer advanced, real-time power monitoring metrics like voltage, load (amps), active power, crest factor, apparent power, power consumption (in W-hrs) and power factor. Optional temperature and humidity probes can be purchases as well.

Switched PDU: The Switched PDU is specially designed to simplify the process of turning outlets on and off — either individually or as a group. Switched PDUs also come with lock-out, power-up sequencing for safer start-ups, as well as load shedding.

Smart  POPs PDU: This product is used for outlet-level power monitoring. Smart POPS PDUs can also generate SNMP trap email alerts, for automatic updates on data center power and environmental conditions.

Smart PDU: Server Technology’s Smart PDUs provide input power current monitoring, and come with branch circuit protection for a variety of amperages and voltages. You can purchase smart PDUs in single and three-phase. This product also contains automated alerts for power and environmental conditions. Optional temperature and humidity probes can also be added.

Metered PDU: The Metered PDU is an ideal solution for ensuring even and reliable power distribution throughout all of the devices in an equipment cabinet. Metered PDUs are available in single-phase 110-120V, 208-240V or three-phase power distribution with 20A,30A, 50A and 60A options as well as local input current monitoring.

Basic PDU: The Basic PDU ranges from 2kW to 6kW per cabinet. Basic PDUs come in single-phase 110 to 120V or 208-240V power distribution with 20A and 30A options. Three phase power distribution is available for 20A and 30A options as well.

Many of Server Technology’s products are built on the PRO2 Platform (Server Technology’s latest platform for CDU products), and feature High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT). HDOT products contain an industry-leading 42 outlets which is the highest number per form factor in the industry. HDOT PDUs are also built to withstand higher operating temperatures.

Server Technology also offers solutions for -48VCD rack PDUs and fail-safe power redundancy.  There are also a variety of accessories like cable locks, the Startup Stick (for ultra-fast reboots) and the ST Eye for remote power and environmental monitoring.

What’s more, customers can use the Build Your Own PDU tool to create custom-designed outlets in just four easy steps.

Power management may seem like an intimidating process, but using Server Technology’s solutions you can make it simple. Server Technology’s products are easy to implement and configure, and are a must-have for any enterprise that is serious about reducing costs and energy consumption.

To learn more about Server Technology, click here.

Topics: PDU, data centers, datacenter, PDUs, green, clean energy

Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Own Data Center (But Should)

Posted by Josh Schaap on Jan 12, 2017 1:19:38 PM

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This is your data center speaking. You think you know me pretty well, right? After all, you spend almost all of your time around me. Take a harder look, however, and you’ll see that there are some important things about me that you aren’t aware of! 

Ask yourself the following questions:

How many devices do I have?

Take a guess; I’ll bet you’re off by at least 15 or 20 pieces of hardware that have gotten buried while you’ve been expanding. You keep adding new components like servers, racks and switches; but you don’t monitor any of these devices in real-time. As a result, you’ve lost track and many of the devices are now sucking up power without your knowledge and steering you ever-closer to network capacity.

What is my ideal temperature?

I’ve been running at a cool 65 degrees ever since I was built. Did you know, however, that I am capable of safely operating at a temperature of about 15 degrees warmer? No, you didn’t, because you never experiment with different settings! If you did, you might find that you could significantly reduce your monthly expenses by raising the temperature on your cooling system.

How much power do I use on a daily basis?

You know how much you pay for electricity. But you don’t know how much power each one of your devices actually uses. A data center power monitoring solution, like the All-In-1 Solution, will provide this information, and will distribute it directly to your mobile phone—so you can see every device on your network, and how much power each one is using in real-time. So, it’s time to get to know me better. After all, I’m one of the most critical parts of your entire organization. So I suggest you check out Server Technology’s advanced line of data center monitoring products to see how you can protect me.

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

 

Topics: data center power

Five Great Things You Can do with SPM

Posted by Josh Schaap on Jan 9, 2017 12:05:41 PM

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Data center power management has never been easier thanks to Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform.  SPM is a fully-automated, Web-based solution that gives operators real-time visibility into the network and the ability to switch from any location. Using SPM, operators can more effectively manage their infrastructure — be it onsite or distributed — and fast-track power and cost reductions.  

SPM works in conjunction with most of Server Technology’s intelligent data center power distribution units (PDUs) including Smart and Switched, as well as Smart POPS and Switched POPs devices. These PDUs offer various levels of control and insight into each cabinet’s electricity consumption. And it all comes together in the SPM platform, the system’s central operational hub which can be accessed from any Web interface.

Here are five great ways that you can use SPM to improve operations in your facility: 

  1. Create reports: One of SPM’s most powerful tools is its reporting feature. This solution makes it possible to schedule and run custom power scans across specific areas of the network, at any time. This is useful for tasks like finding the time of the week when your data center consumes the most power. You can drill down into any part of the network that is connected to a smart PDU and gain access to critical performance metrics. Once a scan is complete, a full report can be easily generated and exported to team members so that everyone has a thorough understanding of how the data center is consuming power. It’s a much more efficient way to generate data than by manually combing the network for information and compiling it into spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are error-prone and can can be tampered with, while SPM, in contrast, is highly secure. The platform comes with strong authentication settings to ensure that only approved individuals can access the data. Multiple users can access SPM at the same time, making it easier for employees to work together when performing maintenance.
  1. Control your environment: SPM will keep a close watch on your facility’s temperature and humidity levels, to ensure operating conditions are optimal for your setup. SPM will alert you if action needs to be taken. Also, using this technology you can safely experiment with different environmental settings to reduce total energy costs. The platform can set minimum or maximum temperature thresholds, and it can provide critical data that you can use to see if your cost reduction strategies are paying off over time.
  1. Save time during firmware upgrades: Intelligent PDUs have one small drawback: They need to be upgraded with new firmware from time to time. This process can eat up precious hours during the week. With SPM, you can schedule firmware upgrades to automatically take place during the off hours on nights and weekends, so that updates will be complete by the time the devices are needed during the week. It’s also one less task you will have to worry about!
  1. Conserve resources: In a typical data center, about 40 - 60 percent of all power goes to the cabinets. So it’s important to ensure that the energy is being used effectively, and not being wasted on things like idle servers. SPM makes it possible to ensure that power is flowing properly across the network—meaning in a balanced and organized way.
  1. Ensure rack redundancy: In the past, operators were forced to perform network stress tests to see how they would perform during unplanned outages. Servers would have to be manually shut down and rebooted. This was a time-consuming, and somewhat risky process. SPM improves this process by automatically scanning the network to ensure that all systems are functioning properly. No shutdowns are required.

Ultimately, SPM will provide peace of mind and a greater sense of security in your data center. By using SPM, you can ensure that your data center’s most important foundational resource, electricity, is being used in the best possible manner. You and your colleagues will no longer have to waste time on menial power management research. This product will free you to take on higher-level projects.  

SPM, it should be noted, is especially useful for federal agencies which now must comply with cost and power reduction mandates. Federally-owned data centers must now track the resources they use and prove they are taking measures to slash costs and become more environmentally-friendly. Server Technology’s solutions are TAA compliant, and are being actively used in many federal agencies today.

Don’t wait to improve energy efficiency in your data center.

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Topics: SPM, Sentry Power Manager