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Server Technology and the Internet of Things: Power at the Edge

Posted by RJ Tee on Jan 16, 2018 11:12:43 AM


By now, you are familiar with the Internet of Things, or IoT. In fact, according recent statistics, you’re also likely involved in a deployment that has brought some of the challenges associated with the bulk data collection and storage issues presented by this technology.

We are still early in the process of defining what IoT means, both collectively as an industry and individually as companies. We are also beginning to understand how it will allow us to harness the real-time data available through sensors and various collection devices. The explosion of data from IoT has resulted in a change in the way our data centers are structured, and how they support the network that collects and transmits information in now unprecedented volumes.

The biggest change from a power perspective, and one we have supported here at Server Technology, is the edge computing networks needed to make possible localized, high-volume data collection. The concept of the Internet of Things has created a very real need for a different way of computing in multiple locations instead of one. Whether the edge compute nodes are carrier-based or private, the complications are similar. The functionality of the core data center must be replicated closer to the point of data collection, albeit in a more compact and cost-effective fashion. It is this particular challenge that has led IoT organizations to turn to us to provide power to ‘the Edge’. Here is what we know.

Want to learn more? Watch our on-demand edge computing webinar here.

First, density is an issue when you look at edge computing. The server, storage, and network requirements are high and the amount of space to house them is low. Most deployments are less than 100 square feet, or confined to a 10’ x 10’ space. There are many deployments that would view this 100 square foot average as a luxury. In either case, we’ve seen equipment densities increase as a result.

Second, the increased computing density leads to higher kW/rack demands, which are quickly followed by higher plug count and amperage requirements. Rack mount power strips that incorporate Server Technology’s High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT) combat the limited physical space that edge deployments can allow by providing up to 42 separate C13 outlets in a single, 42U high rack PDU. Higher electrical loads are no issue with Server Technology’s configurable Switched and Smart power distribution options that support 400-415V inputs.

Third, edge computing demands more sophisticated monitoring solutions at the rack and PDU level. By definition, edge compute sites are not adjacent to the core data center facility. Lack of proximity means that there is an increased reliance on the ability to monitor power and cooling conditions remotely, as well as the ability to control and reboot single outlets (for an example, the per-outlet-power-sensing (POPS) line of Server Technology rack PDUs).

Try a demo of a 3-phase 230/400V POPS rack PDU today.

Server Technology, now a part of the Legrand family, is your power strategy expert, whether you are computing at the core or at the edge.


Topics: HDOT, Internet of Things, IoT, density, HDOT Switched, HDOT Switched POPS, Edge Computing

May the POPS Be with You

Posted by RJ Tee on Dec 13, 2017 12:28:27 PM

data center racks in space

Since much of the buzz this week will be about the much-anticipated release of Star Wars ‘The Last Jedi’ on Friday (or Thursday if you happen to live in the UK), we thought we would take a moment to share some of our favorite old lines.

And now, from a galaxy far, far away… (cue fanfare)

“The force is strong in this one.” Bad guy or not, Darth Vader hit the nail on the head here. While we had to wait until much later to find out why he knew what he knew, we do know now that sometimes you just have a feeling about things. The Server Tech team had that same good feeling when we started talking about ZTP, our zero-touch provisioning approach for our PDU line. (We even have a pretty nifty whitepaper...)  A way to provision all your rack mounted power strips at once, hands-free, and outside of the data center? We still have to remind people this is no Jedi mind trick.

PDU Jedi Mind Trick


“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Suffice it to say, this understated line is one that you never want on the receiving end -- just ask the unfortunate Imperial officer Admiral Motti. You also don’t want to find yourself on the short end of a PDU specification for your data center. To keep you out of hot water and to loosen that nagging grip, we have developed the Build Your Own PDU tool. Faster than the Millennium Falcon’s twelve parsec Kessel run, you can specify and order a power distribution unit that will meet just about – uh – anyone’s exacting specifications.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” This could will be the motto for our research and development department. They have developed an industry-leading number of patents for technology developed specifically for rack-mounted PDUs. All of these variations are the result of demand from the market and the willingness of our team to make that happen. We appreciate Yoda’s maxim and have tried to embody his wisdom. Our R&D team does.

“Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy.” Well, Han Solo, we could also argue that the jump to hyperscale computing is not for the faint of heart either. That being said, our high-density solutions such as HDOT have found a place in the mission-critical space, and we dare say they helped propel the move to more sophisticated computing. We are here to make sure those Star Destroyers don’t damage your hyperdrive so you, too, can make the jump like a pro. Or a washed-up smuggler.

“Judge me by my size, do you?” Yoda will go down in movie history as the ultimate ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ character, and we feel that our horizontal power distribution units could easily fall within the same category. Small but mighty, our horizontal units can also pack a punch. With more configuration options than a swamp full of womprats, they are a sometimes-forgotten (but never cloned) weapon in the arsenal of the power-distribution wars.

You see, the force is strong here at Server Technology. Like Jango Fett, we’re just a simple company trying to make its way in the universe. May the force be with you.

Click to try our PDU selection wizard

Topics: HDOT, density, ZTP, BYOPDU

Shouldn’t We Be Talking About Medium Density?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know, things like:

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

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

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


Topics: density, Data Center Density, medium density

Where Density, Square Meters, and Practicality Meet

Posted by RJ Tee on Aug 3, 2017 11:46:06 AM


In this recent article on Data Center Knowledge, the author discusses the growing issue of data center real estate in Singapore and other APAC markets – or more accurately, the lack thereof.

While many countries, including portions of the United States and Northern Europe, benefit from large land masses, high-density city centers in most of the world place an absolute premium on every square meter of space.  In these areas, data center facilities are built more on the vertical axis, with support equipment stacked on roof tops and in basements.

This situation is analogous to the topography of the data center itself.

If you imagine the data center floor as a business and each hot and cold aisle its bustling streets, then each cabinet is its own version of the OCBC Centre in Singapore or the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur.  Space is at a premium, and the rent is steep for each server and storage device housed inside. 

So, wouldn’t you need to optimize the rack PDU in the same way?  Luckily, Server Technology has done just that.

To support high-equipment densities and the number of power cords that come with it, Server Technology has found a way to increase the number of C13 and C19 receptacles you pack into a tiny space by 20%.  Dubbed HDOT, or High Density Outlet Technology, our engineers have discovered a way to optimize the footprint of the PDU without giving up any ground.  


Here’s a great video that shows how it all comes together to maximize your real estate.  And it is available in bespoke configurations as well.  That’s ‘customized’ for those of you in the western hemisphere. 

Configure Your HDOT PDU

To learn more about how Server Technology can improve the density of your rack-based power distribution strategy,  click here.

Topics: HDOT, density

Low on Real Estate, High on Rack Components?

Posted by Josh Schaap on Dec 5, 2016 8:40:22 AM


Forget about that row of coveted window offices…the hottest real estate in your building right now can be found in the back of your data center’s racks!

Why is the back of the rack so valuable? This seemingly insignificant space can make or break your data center densification strategy.

Here’s how:

Space is very limited in the back of the rack, which makes it difficult to tinker with rack densities. After all, you can only fit so many servers into standard 42U cabinets. And space becomes even more constricted when factoring in room for cooling, power cords and bulky power distribution units (PDU).

In order to safely maximize space in the rack, you need PDUs that are not only ultra- skinny, but which are also reliable and capable of powering all of the various components in your racks.

You need High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT) PDUs from Server Technology, which can support more rack components than any other PDU per form factor.

To combat the limited physical space that PDUs compete for in the data center rack, Server Technology developed High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT), the smallest form factor PDU which significantly increases real estate in the back of the rack by fitting as many as 42 C13’s in a 42U high network managed PDU device—that’s over 20 percent smaller than a comparable PDU using standard outlets. In conjunction with the launch of HDOT, Server Technology developed a quick turn manufacturing process that provides short lead times for PDU’s with the exact combination of C19 and C13 outlets in the locations where the customer needs them. The HDOT design also provides high native cord retention of over 12 pounds pull strength, reducing or eliminating the need for custom and costly ancillary locking cord devices. With increasing outlet density comes increased power, and potentially increased heat. HDOT is manufactured with robust high-temperature materials carrying a UL94 V-0 flame rating, making these outlets ideally suited for the harshest data center environments

Here’s the great part:

HDOT PDUs can save you more than just rack space. They will also save your company money, and spare you headaches with Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS). Our latest addition to the HDOT product line is Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS), which provides +/-1% billable-grade accuracy for energy consumption at each outlet for typical data center equipment loads. POPS also includes current, voltage, active power, apparent power, power factor, and crest factor at each outlet. This provides the ultimate in efficiency and capacity analysis. POPS enables alarms and warning signals on current, power, and power factor for both low and high values.

 Need remote power management at the rack level? You can do that with HDOT’s Switched Outlets. With the ability to turn ON and OFF or reboot outlets individually or as a group, certain features become possible such as outlet access and lock-out, power-up outlet sequencing that reduces the likelihood of power-up inrush, and our optional smart load shedding.

Furthermore, you can put the calculator away when trying to balance a 3-phase PDU. With HDOT’s Alt-Phase Technology you can distribute phases on a per receptacle basis (rather than in discrete separate banks), providing tangible benefits in the form of shorter cable runs, resulting in better airflow, easier load balancing, and greater efficiencies. Prior to the advent of HDOT, Alternating Phase products were impractical to build due to the low outlet density inherent with discreet commercially available outlets.

Safety and reliability are another top concern when adjusting rack densities, so it’s important to watch for temperature fluctuations. Denser racks are much hotter, and can lead to fires and outages if left unmonitored. HDOT PDUs come with a UL94 V-O flame rating, making them suited for harsh data center environments. They can also sync with Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager, which can provide real-time temperature and humidity metrics.

What’s more, HDOT PDUs are built on the PRO2 hardware and firmware platform, which helps ensure stability, performance and uptime. And their alternating phase outlets can make load balancing a breeze.

Want to learn more about how HDOT PDUs can benefit your data center? Click here!

Topics: HDOT, density, HDOT Switched

Average Power Density Vs. Peak Power Density

Posted by Josh Schaap on Mar 1, 2016 1:23:18 PM


Links updated Dec 05, 2017

Do you truly have a grasp on the difference between average rack power density and maximum rack power density across your data center floor? It’s a common mistake not to understand the difference between power density that’s averaged over time and power density peak within a certain time period.

First, let’s clear up some terminology. Because precision matters, it’s better to think of power density averaged over time as “spatial power density variation” and power density peak as “temporal power density variation.” With spatial power density variation, the average spatial power density is dependent upon the data center’s size and often is correlated with infrastructure capacities, and peak spatial power density depends on individual components within the system tied to specific design aspects.

By way of example, a 345 W per square foot data center might contain specifications that 1 MW power and cooling are available for use over 2,900 square feet. If you use the AFCOM standard rack area of 25 square feet, then 116 racks are deployed at a power load average of 8.6 kW each.

With temporal power density variation, average temporal power density depends on regular application loads while the peak temporal power density depends on sporadic application loads.

We delve deeper into the topic of spatial vs. temporal power density variation in the white paper Managing Variable Data Center Rack Densities,” where we also discuss real-life examples of peak allowable power loads and guide you through overprovisioning some or all racks to allow the overall data center to reach the allowable peak.

The paper ties in the density discussion with main data center goals of efficiency, capacity planning and uptime. It also provides guidance for cutting through the fog of how power equipment densities vary within data centers and shows you how to plan for handling the varying densities at the rack level.

Read it here.

Explore our Density Solution

Topics: density, Server Technology, Data Center Density, Average Vs. Peak Density

Managing the Challenges of Density

Posted by Josh Schaap on Jan 7, 2016 7:00:00 AM


When considering implementing a power-dense data center, you face a number of challenges: cost, heat, load balancing, environmental and power monitoring, increased network traffic as well as system configuration management.

With each of these challenges come serious, seemingly prohibitive impacts, but with the proper planning and understanding, it can be done. As the Power Strategy Experts, Server Technology is here to guide you through successfully managing density and data center power.

Let’s start with the obvious: density and operation loading of the compute infrastructure is on the rise within data centers. This is happening for a number of reasons, including the need to reduce costs, improve energy efficiency, reduce latency time and to better manage network traffic flow. It’s also clear that as the demand placed on power supplies jumps, so does the need for more power delivery per cord and outlet, driving the necessity for C19 outlets instead of C13s. In short, the days of the pizza box form factor are long gone.

In a recent whitepaper, we’ve done a deep dive on how to better manage density within your high-density data center.

Some key takeaways from the paper:

On data center configuration: “By making use of the available power and configuration management tools provided by the various server manufacturers, the data center designer and operator can come to a consensus on the best approach to achieving the power and compute density needed for their application.”

On thermal considerations: “The ability for modern PDUs to monitor both power consumption and temperature within the cabinet provides a ‘last line of defense’ in the high temperature environment of the exhaust (hot aisle) side of the data center rack … The more individual loads within the racks, the more critical it becomes for the PDU to have granular measurement and reporting capabilities along with supporting the targeted hot aisle temperature.” In the whitepaper, we walk you through computational fluid dynamics software tools and why they make a difference.

On High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT): “With its modular construction and its completely re-thought outlet layout, HDOT provides as many combinations as possible of locking C13 and C19 power outlets, all in a standard form factor that fits most data center cabinets … HDOT is also capable of operating at full power load in a 65˚C environment, allowing the data center to run with a warmer ambient temperature.”

To learn more, take a closer look at the whitepaper and see why Server Technology has been the go-to power solution for labs, data centers and telecom operations for 30 years.

Topics: density, Server Technology, data center power delivery

On a Budget? Here’s How to Get More Rack Power Cheaply and Safely

Posted by Eric Giacomini on Jan 13, 2015 4:49:00 PM

Like most data centers, your server racks are becoming increasingly dense as you adopt cutting-edge new technologies. This is creating the need for more power in your data center. Your challenge, therefore, is to increase power to each individual rack safely and affordably.

But you are limited in your ability to meet this challenge due to escalating power prices in some parts of the country, particularly in New England where there is a natural gas shortage. Many businesses are also rebounding from the stagnant economy, meaning budgets are still under close surveillance.

So what’s the best solution to deliver power to your server racks? The answer is to migrate to a three-phase power distribution system. Three-phase power distribution generates and distributes an alternating current, which means power that is typically run into the ground in single-phase architecture can be pumped back into the data center. In other words, you gain more power without having to purchase an additional amount when you employ three-phase distribution; you simply optimize the distribution method.

How effective is three-phase power distribution? Research shows that it can increase the available power in a rack by as much as 300 percent. Installing the technology also reduces your copper conductor count, too—meaning you will have more storage capacity.

One of the best parts about three-phase power distribution is that it is safe. Since it uses more branches, there is less chance of experiencing an overload that could severely damage your equipment.

Server Technology’s advanced line of power distribution units (PDUs) combines three-phase power distribution with advanced local and remote power and environmental monitoring capabilities, so you can keep a close watch on your equipment at all times.

Click here  to read Server Technology’s white paper about three-phase power distribution in the data center. 

Topics: density, PDU, Power, power distribution, Server Technology, three phase, natural gas

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