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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Many businesses, however, are still using outdated and ineffective power capacity planning solutions.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

Sentry Power Manager’s Capacity Planning

Posted by Linda Kennedy on Oct 12, 2016 1:23:18 PM

Untitled-2-01.jpg“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up some place else.”  – Yogi Berra

Since the place you want to end up is in your data center that hums with efficiency, let Sentry Power Manager (SPM) leverage information from your intelligent rack PDUs to assist in cost-effective planning for the inevitable growth of your enterprise. Did you know SPM provides critical capacity information for growth?

These 3 easy ways make SPM as close to a crystal ball as you’ll ever get in your data center:

First, the circuits. An important reason to implement an energy management system is for capacity planning. Understanding not only how much power is available – but also knowing exactly which circuits that power is available on – optimizes use of the data center infrastructure.

Monitoring at the cabinet PDU is the best place to understand the breakdown of power usage throughout the data center. Not only can you use the measurements at the cabinet for understanding the capacity overhead of the branch circuit, but if properly aggregated, you can also estimate the amperage of all stages of distribution upstream.

SPM provides the means to set up physical aggregation points such as locations and zones that relate to power aggregation points within the enterprise – like RPP’s and UPS’s – for trending analysis and threshold alerts.

Next, a view of the future with predictive analysis. Growth in the data center comes with a variety of challenges. Often a major concern is the rising power consumption when equipment and applications are increased.

If you monitor power usage over time, you will often see an up and down usage trend with peaks at various times of the day, week, or month. When usage gradually increases over the long term, you may not notice the growth curve, which can eventually lead to a capacity pinch. To ensure uptime in the worst case scenario, you will at least need to plan for maximum power consumption.

SPM provides a trending feature that predicts – based on two separate parameters for time – what the power usage might be in the future, and an estimated date and time when capacity will be exceeded. What great information! You’ll be able to use it to be proactive about planning for additional needed resources. SPM even lets you set up an email notification to see when in the future the predictive trend shows power thresholds exceeded at the zone, location, or cabinet level. Your data center may change in ways you can’t predict today, but SPM can predict it!

Last, room for growth with cabinet devices. Along with power availability at the cabinet level, you also want to consider the critical importance of space availability for growth.

The physical location of equipment, like servers and switches, often needs the link to the outlets that are providing power to the equipment. Along with the potential need to reboot locked-up equipment, measurement of individual power supply consumption is becoming a priority in many data centers.

SPM provides an easy method for specifying exactly where in a cabinet a specific piece of equipment is mounted.

By assigning outlets from the cabinet PDU to the particular device, you can properly identify where the space and power availability are within each cabinet. Having this information can speed up installations and simplify new deployments. Plus, you can benefit from the high-accuracy outlet measurements of the POPS® intelligent rack PDU for an even more detailed picture of the devices within the cabinet.

So that’s why Sentry Power Manager is one of many great reasons why Server Technology is your power strategy expert!

See for yourself how easy setting up SPM really is in the 2-minute video How to Configure SPM.

Take a closer look at the power of SNAP for mass PDU configuration in the 3-part video playlist Welcome to SNAP.

Every data center should be using the award-winning Sentry Power Manager, so now’s the time to give easy configuration a test drive with the SPM 120-Day Free Trial.

Topics: Sentry Power System, data center power, capacity planning

Improving Efficiency With Sentry Power Manager

Posted by Josh Schaap on Jul 29, 2016 2:28:41 PM

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Today’s data center managers are looking for cost-effective, reliable and hassle-free ways to aggregate all of their key measurement points in an effort to maximize uptime, improve efficiency and analyze capacity. As far as data center tools go, there’s none more versatile than Sentry Power Manager, the award-winning data center management solution from Server Technology.

Here are just a few ways SPM helps with overall efficiency: 

  1. Working in conjunction with Server Technology’s POPS PDUs, Sentry Power Manager reports to data center managers on the IT device loading trends so they can make comparisons with the total facility power for PUE calculations. By analyzing per cabinet and per device power and energy usage, you begin to see the full picture of small- and large-scale efficiency.
  1. SPM allows you to schedule outlets to automatically turn off when the equipment isn’t in use. This gives you the means to power down non-essential devices during idle times such as nights and weekends, helping save as much as 40 percent in energy that would otherwise be wasted.
  1. By measuring and tracking temperature variations within – and between - racks, SPM provides you the ability to keep an eye on cooling loads. With this knowledge, you can continually verify that the cooling load reduction isn’t a threat to the reliability of your data center’s equipment.

Featuring custom views for relevant data, alarm monitoring and management along with the ability to configure Server Technology PDUs en masse, SPM is an indispensible addition to any data center. Learn more about SPM or take it for a test drive with a live demo today.

Topics: SPM, capacity planning

The Problems And Solutions Of Capacity Planning

Posted by Erik Stabile on Jul 20, 2016 11:29:59 AM

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It’s never fun to lose sleep over a problem, but night after night, many of us toss and turn, worrying about the things both within our control and beyond it. For the folks who run data centers, it’s no different.

We’ve identified some of the key issues that keep data center managers and IT teams up at night:

  • Where is the power needed to support the installation of additional hardware?
  • How can I minimize total power consumption?
  • How can I use the least amount of energy and still get the most computation?
  • How will I be notified when problems occur and, more importantly, how can we automate as much of the corrective response as possible?
  • How do we accommodate for daily and seasonal utilization surges?
  • Do we have enough power to support failover conditions through power path redundancy?
  • Which software tools will best help me predict when and where problems are going to occur?

Proper capacity planning ensures you have enough power to accommodate the average workload, while also allowing for sufficient headroom to meet peak demands. The best tools are the ones that give data center managers the ability to quickly identify where power is available. This is crucial to supporting changing hardware deployment and changing workload.

To contend with these issues, IT needs to know the as-configured potential demand, the current actual demand, the as-configured potential supply and the current actual supply. Easier said than done, right?

Ultimately, in order to properly perform capacity planning, you should:

  • Determine your Service Level Agreements
  • Analyze current capacity
  • Plan for the future

Along with these suggestions, using Sentry Power Manager, the award-winning data center solution, will give you a comprehensive look at your data center floor. Pulling data from thousands of PDUs across multiple devices, SPM gives you an instant pulse check on your data center floor while providing detailed reporting that lets you think more proactively about your capacity requirements.

Learn more in our whitepaper, “The Practical Science of Data Center Capacity Planning” or start exploring Sentry Power Manager today.

Topics: capacity planning

In The Spotlight: Server Technology’s PRO2 Platform

Posted by Erik Stabile on Jun 21, 2016 3:59:02 PM

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PRO2 Hot Swap Network Card

If you haven’t met PRO2 yet, it’s time for an introduction. As Server Technology’s newest platform for CDU products, PRO2 is designed with real world power situations in mind, meeting a whole host of power needs for a new generation of data centers.

Some highlights of our PRO2 line of PDUs:

  • Shallower form factor: The new PRO2 sports a 2.18” x 2.25” design as opposed to 1.75” x 3.5” on the older models. 
  • More outlets: PRO2 has a 25 percent higher vertical density for outlets on Switched products.
  • More power under the hood: The PRO2 not only features improved processing capabilities, but more memory to support new features.
  • Monitoring: Monitor both branch current and input current.
  • Remote power management: PRO2 features secure remote management with the ability to reboot individual or grouped outlets including SSL, SSH, Telnet, SNMP and RS-232.
  • Network card power redundancy: Connect a PRO2 expansion unit to the Link1 port and your network connection is maintained even if the master loses power.
  • Expansion: You can add additional outlets under a single IP address through the link unit.

During the design process, the PRO2 was put through its paces with more rigorous testing and validation procedures than previous generations. Server Technology’s engineers designed the new PRO2 PDUs with locking cables for internal communication as well as low-voltage busses, which are built to knock out high-vibration connection loss. As a result, data center customers have even more choices when it comes to an already best-in-class product.

Learn more about the features of our PRO2 PDUs and demo one online today.

Topics: capacity planning, PRO2, rack PDU

Four Capacity Planning Factors In A New Build

Posted by Josh Schaap on May 11, 2016 7:00:00 AM

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Pardon the pun, but the origin of the phrase, “getting your ducks in a row,” is a little, well, fuzzy. It’s not clear whether the term comes from hunting, sports or - most likely - the practice of mother ducks encouraging their babies to line up in a row before heading to the pond. Either way, having one’s proverbial ducks in a row is nearly always a good idea before undertaking a sizable project. Take, for example, capacity planning in a new build. That’s one situation where you don’t want to jump in head first without a solid plan.

When planning for either a retrofit or a new build, it’s important to follow several key steps, which we’ve previously discussed. As a refresher, these steps include understanding your power, infrastructure, cooling and space requirements. While fully reviewing your company’s strategy, IT priorities, your historic power usage and your build or buy options. If you conclude a new build is the way to go, there are several next steps to take, including:

  1. Choose a location and modify the build specs to allow for both consideration of modular and traditional design options, sustainability and ease of performing upgrades over time.
  1. Pick appropriate devices with long lifecycles for your physical infrastructure.
  1. Well ahead of time, design the limitations of power, space and cooling.
  1. Talk through the requirements for applications you’ll be running. Some organizations have decided
to focus on high-density modular racks, which maximize utilization through advanced virtualization. Negotiate the initial occupancy of IT and communications equipment, which typically represents 50 percent of total space and capacity in order to allow for future expansion. 


Other factors include, understanding industry-specific regulations in your state and county, knowing your rack density and optimization requirements, having a good grasp on power utility prices around the world and understanding cooling requirements. Delve deeper into the topic of capacity planning in both new builds and retrofits in the DCD whitepaper, “The Practical Science of Data Center Capacity Planning” on the all-new ServerTech.com.

 

Topics: capacity planning

Whack Those Moles: Key Components to Capacity Planning

Posted by Erik Stabile on Mar 22, 2016 9:43:54 AM

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In the arcade game Whack-a-Mole, the object is to smash multiple mechanical rodents with a large felt mallet as they pop up from their holes. Simple enough, right? That is, until the game progresses and the moles start popping up with alarming frequency, requiring you to exercise cat-like reflexes just to keep up. Similarly, being a data center operator takes constant vigilance in order to avoid unscheduled downtime, obsolescence and other operational moles from popping up.

There’s no doubt data centers have experienced an exponential rise in complexity over the years, thanks to a constantly changing mix of software and hardware designed to meet increasing data demands along with demands for connectivity, data analytics and support for the Internet of Things. As capacity loads increase across the data center, so do operating temperatures, in a seemingly never-ending cycle. Knowing your reserve compute capacity and even where to install the next piece of hardware is critical in maintaining a smooth computational environment, which brings us back to the importance of capacity planning.

In our eye-opening industry brief, “Capacity Planning in the Modern Datacenter,” you’ll get detailed answers to the following capacity planning questions:

  • Where do I have power to support the installation of new hardware?
  • How do I reduce total power consumption?
  • How can I get the most computation for the smallest amount of power?
  • How can I be notified when problems arise?
  • How can I automate corrective responses when problems do occur?
  • Does my data center have enough power to support failover conditions through power path redundancy?
  • How do I deal with seasonal utilization surges?
  • What are the best software tools for predicting when and where problems will occur?

Start capacity planning in data centers is vital because it ensures there is enough power to accommodate an average workload while providing sufficient headroom to handle peak demands. In the brief, we walk you through this process, including tips on what to put in your plan, learning how to modify it, seeing power as the key, retrofitting an existing facility vs. a new build, and other key lessons.

Want to know more? Let the Power Strategy Experts at Server Technology show you the right way to do capacity planning. Download the industry white paper today and get started on the road to a more powerful, more efficient data center.

Topics: capacity planning

An Answer For Every Challenge: Switched PDUs for Capacity Planning

Posted by Josh Schaap on Feb 22, 2016 10:36:30 AM

Switched PDUs for Capacity Planning

Our client was facing a very nice – but very real – problem: as a facilitator of webinars, it was experiencing unprecedented growth year after year. Webinars, those ubiquitous online teaching and conference platforms, are bringing people across the globe into the same virtual meeting rooms with increasing frequency each day. With this expansion comes the need for increased bandwidth and infrastructure requirements, resulting in technical challenges for the webinar operators.

Our client decided it was time to take action when its hardware was running at such high levels that they exceeded the capacity of power circuits both in their internal data centers and colocation facilities. Another key challenge involved having enough granular data to show the power consumption of a particular application. Coupling that with the need for better power capacity planning and the desire to reduce “remote hands calls” at colocation facilities, it was clear the Server Technology experts were needed.

Server Technology provided the perfect solution to our client’s problem in its Switched product family of CDUs. Thanks to the wide variety of Switched products we offer along with the regulatory requirements of the geographies needed to be supported, this turned out to be an ideal solution. With the Switched solution, our client was able to configure its CDUs with capacity warning levels, perform strip and outlet naming and generally maximize the effectiveness of its power management tools. Our client also implemented Sentry Power Manager to help gather and analyze data coming from the Switched CDUs.

For the client, the time spent with the power strategy experts at Server Technology resulted in better data, better utilization and better uptime. Of course, every case is unique. That’s why our team takes the time to understand your particular needs before developing a solution for you. Sometimes the answer involves new hardware, but often it comes in the form of better understanding the capabilities within your existing hardware and software combinations. That’s just one way we help you “Be Supported.”

Learn more about how STI can help find a tailored solution for your data center challenges here.

Topics: switched PDUs, capacity planning

What’s Driving Bandwidth Demand and Why Should You Care?

Posted by Josh Schaap on Feb 2, 2016 8:49:32 AM

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Bandwidth is the hottest commodity of the new year and will likely continue as such for the long haul. After all, both enterprise and consumer appetites will only become more insatiable as technology continues to require more support from the Internet.

For example, enterprises are increasingly using the public cloud to run applications and store data due to its cost efficiency and simplicity. However, the more enterprises that utilize the cloud, the more bandwidth that is required to support their needs. Additionally, a surge in mobile video consumption is also impacting bandwidth requirements. This particular driver of bandwidth demand will likely multiply over the years as consumers continue to watch video on social media, stream movies and use video chatting applications such as Skype or FaceTime.

So why should you care?

The bandwidth demand derived from enterprise and consumer needs means that you’re data center must be able to support your network, and keep data secure and applications running without incurring downtime. After all, customers are relying on the reliability of your services to power their important day-to-day applications both inside and outside the workplace.

Avoid leaving your bandwidth-hungry customers dangling by a thread by keeping abreast of your power levels at all times. In doing so, you can ensure you’re using power wisely and, ultimately, prevent devastating events such as power outages

Consider implementing the following power measuring and monitoring solutions to ensure you never fall victim to an unforeseen power outage:

  • Sentry Power Manager (SPM): provides detailed, accurate and real-time information about power consumption
  • All-in-1 PDU: combines three leading technologies: HDOT outlets for smaller form factor; Alternating Phase Outlets for better airflow, load balancing and efficiency; PRO2 Platform for a flexible and robust hardware and firmware platform

Click here to learn more about how these solutions can help you keep up with bandwidth demand without draining resources or burning a hole in your wallet.

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Topics: capacity planning, data center data, data center bandwidth

Mo Money Mo Data Center Power Problems

Posted by Josh Schaap on Jan 13, 2016 9:00:08 AM

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Analysts forecast that the data center construction market is set grow at a CAGR of 4.18 percent over the period 2014-2019, in the US alone. The reason for the rapid development of data centers is the enterprise’s growing need for dedicated IT environments as they move much of their mission critical applications and data to the cloud.

This surge of data centers is great to see, but it puts a major strain on local energy resources. After all, data centers alone contribute to a large chunk of the world’s overall electricity demand. As such, it’s extremely important that network administrators take the right steps towards preserving their data centers’ power resources as more electricity consumed in the future will directly affect their resources. And when energy resources are limited, there becomes an increased risk for unexpected power outages which lead to the costly after-effects of downtime.

This shouldn’t come as a complete shock th ough, as many IT professionals are currently feeling the pressures of seeking out the right solutions to arm their data centers against potential risks. In fact, a recent study from SpiceWorks revealed that 73 percent of IT pros are concerned about technology disasters/incidents; 72 percent man-made disasters/incidents; and 40 percent natural disasters/incidents.

So, as more data centers emerge, and therefore require power resources, ensure that you’re doing all that you can to run yours most efficiently and effectively to avoid disasters such as power outages. Just because there’s more data centers doesn’t mean you have to experience more problems.

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Topics: capacity planning, data center rack pdu, rack pdu solution