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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

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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

Top 5 Questions From the Edge Computing Webinar Answered

Posted by RJ Tee on Jul 24, 2017 2:19:29 PM

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You asked, we answered.  During our highly anticipated webinar last week, "Delivering Resilience and Uptime at the Edge," our speakers were asked a few questions in regards to the challenges presented by edge computing, their views on its future development, as well as how Server Technology's portfolio of products will address its demands.  

Here are the top 5 questions answered by our speakers:

1.  Bearing in mind that edge computing can take place in many different types of environments, what are some of the specific challenges that are unique to different sites? 

(Answered by Marc Cram, Director OEM and Global Accounts, Server Technology)  Let’s think about the environment in a telco hut, which may be adjacent to homes, a field or a roadside and you may have AC power or solar power or a UPS, all within the one facility and any part of that infrastructure may go down at any time due to a number of different circumstances. As a result, you need to have something that interacts with all of the various systems and has the ability to report status and to facilitate as rapid a recovery as possible. In addition, you want a system that can monitor the IT infrastructure in the building that will tell you whether you need to provide reset capability to that remote infrastructure.

 

2.  What are the features that Server Technology’s solutions have in terms of tackling the challenges thrown up at the various edge locations? 

(Answered by Wolfgang Goretzki, Senior Solutions Manager, Server TechnologyIt requires a combination of intelligent and importantly switched rack PDUs, so you can remotely reset connected IT devices, combined with a power management solution we call Sentry Power Manager (SPM). Another important requirement is high power density. Our High-Density Outlet Technology (HDOT) offers the maximum number of outlets in the smallest PDU form factor available on the market. Other features are the autonomous switching capability we call smart load shedding, which allows us to switch devices on and off again based on temperature or power load triggers. There are also many other important features, such as alternating phase technology, which allows a balanced load on all phases and helps with better cable management and airflow at the rear of the cabinet. Also, the high operating temperature range of up to 60°C means the PDU can cope with the rising temperature from cooling air flow.

 

3.  We’ve had several questions around temperature and humidity monitoring PDU functionality, with end users curious as to how Server Technology’s sensor, expansion modules, and automation components combine to provide a full solution stack?

(Answered by Wolfgang Goretzki) We can connect two temperature humidity sensors to each rack PDU, so that would be four if you have an A feed and B feed. If you wish to meet the ASHRAE standard of 6 humidity sensors, you can add an environmental monitoring unit which allows for additional sensors, fully covering these needs. The environmental control unit would provide additional capabilities of connecting water sensors or dry contact, this can all be connected to the rack PDU, saving switched ports, saving IP addresses and reducing the cable clutter in the rack.

 

4.  How do you see the edge computing landscape developing into the future? Could you share a few thoughts with us?

(Answered by Prof Ian Bitterlin, Principal Consultant, Critical Facilities Consulting LtdAs every year goes by, we do more and more IT capacity, using less and less power. Using cell towers for edge a few years ago would not have been possible, as there would not have been enough space or power capability left over for putting in edge computing. But as we have gone on and the computing power has got greater and greater per watt, there is power left over and one cabinet in a cell tower can now do a huge amount of computing very quickly, enabling edge computing, by virtue of the fact that the computing capacity per watt increases, encouraging more and more cabinets to be squeezed into remote locations (remote from the larger data centers). And that by its very nature will mean that they will be predominantly unmanned locations and that intelligent PDUs and remote monitoring solutions will be crucial in maintaining uptime and resilience in an emergency state. Edge computing is a perfect storm that will grow almost as a function of the fact that we have our mobile devices with more compute capacity and usage for video and data, and this will naturally grow, and we need to be ready to face the growth with these types of remote management solutions that can be reset remotely.

 

5.  How does Server Technology plan to develop its product portfolio to address the demands of edge computing? 

(Answered by Marc Cram) Server Technology is known for being an innovator in the power space and we will continue to integrate support for anything that will drive robustness, that will drive resilience, that will drive quick recovery and by that you can expect to see higher density, increased temperature ranges, more outlets in the smallest form factor, more control, and support for more software access and intelligence built in.

 

Missed the webinar?  You can view the recording and download the slides here:

Watch the Webinar Recording and  Download the Presentation Slides

Topics: Edge Computing

Overcome Environmental Challenges at the Edge with Server Technology

Posted by RJ Tee on May 30, 2017 10:45:14 AM

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Many businesses today are exploring edge computing, a process that involves decentralizing core network infrastructure and pushing it closer to end users in localized markets. With edge computing, the goal is to reduce long haul data transmissions, resulting in improved performance and lower operating costs. It can also provide access to localized analytics, which can help businesses understand and respond more effectively to users’ needs.

There are, however, some critical logistical issues at play in edge environments that need to be considered in order to experience a successful deployment — one of the most important being changing environmental conditions in and around edge data centers.

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Here are some things that data center administrators need to be careful of:

Unfamiliar weather patterns: Opening an edge data center in a localized market will mean branching out into potentially unfamiliar climates. For instance, an organization based out of Texas could be in for a wild ride by opening up a data center in New England, where the weather can unexpectedly change by the hour—resulting in fluctuations in air pressure, temperature, and humidity. Data center administrators need to be able to respond immediately when environmental conditions change, as it can impact computing equipment.

Natural disasters:  Right now it’s still hard to tell how this year’s hurricane season will pan out. In the Central Pacific, for instance, there is a 40 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 20 percent chance that it will be below-normal. Altogether, at least 5 to 8 tropical storms are expected in the area. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure that backup power systems at edge facilities are fully functioning and ready for seamless failover in the event of a major storm.

Accidents: Last month, San Francisco suffered from a major power outage when a fire broke out in a substation. It was a stark reminder that accidents can happen when they are least expected, causing chaos in facilities that are unprepared. Heating and cooling systems can break. Sprinkler systems can accidentally go off. When such things happen, administrators need to be notified immediately to prevent major damage.

Server Technology provides switched rack power distribution units with embedded Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) functionality, for advanced power monitoring and management in edge data centers. In addition to providing real-time environmental and power monitoring, these racks can also provide historical environmental reports to aid in long-term planning.

Using Server Technology’s advanced PDUs, in conjunction with the Sentry Power Manger platform, data center administrators can actively respond to important environmental changes at the edge of the network while reducing downtime and controlling costs.

Want to Learn More? Register for Our Webinar - July 20, 2017

Topics: Sentry Power Manager, environmental monitoring, environmental alerts, Edge Computing

5 Reasons to use Intelligent PDUs in Edge Data Centers [WEBINAR LINK]

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

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Editor's Note:  This post was originally published, March 2, 2017

A growing number of companies are now moving their servers to the “edge” of the network for lower latency data transmissions, and reduced network operating costs. This is one of the major trends occurring in the IT space right now, and industry experts predict it will continue to accelerate in the coming years.  (You can learn more about Edge Computing in our upcoming webinar.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Webinar Details:

Delivering Resilience and Uptime at the Edge - July 20th 2017

Edge computing has quickly emerged as one of the top data center trends, and we only see this pattern accelerating as the need for high-speed connectivity increases over the next 10 years. Edge, mobile edge and fog computing are being utilised to speed content delivery, improve services and localize analytics. However, these distributed and remote locations, often with no local IT support, produce additional challenges for the data centre and IT teams as they seek to ensure a seamless, always-on application service, whatever the infrastructure and wherever the data resides.

Moderated by Prof Ian Bitterlin, Principal Consultant of Critical Facilities Consulting Ltd and Phil Alsop, Editor of Data Centre Solutions magazine, Server Technology’s Marc Cram and Wolfgang Goretzki will discuss the key challenges faced by data center managers when migrating to the edge and explain how to:

  • Maximize uptime and resilience
  • Manage power remotely
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Plan growth and capacity
  • Remotely monitor power and environmental information

Reserve Your Spot Today

Topics: uptime, intelligent PDUs, Edge Computing

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