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Every Data Center Needs Real-time Reporting

Posted by RJ Tee on Nov 14, 2017 11:14:29 AM

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Over the last few years, something has been happening in the business world: Communications have been speeding up at an aggressive pace.

Now, we are living a real-time world where processes that used to take hours or days can now happen almost instantaneously.

This is true across all levels of the enterprise, ranging from marketing to sales to design. And it’s happening in the data center, too. In fact, the data center is now leading the drive for real-time communications.

In the past, for instance, data center administrators were at a major disadvantage while trying to drive power-related efficiencies. Most data center reporting was done manually, in spreadsheets. It took a long time to request and generate reports, and it was hard to share these reports with team members. What’s more, these reports were often riddled with errors.

Human error, it should be noted, is one of the causes of data center downtime.

Now, the data center power monitoring process can be fully-automated with the help of intelligent, IP connected power distribution units (PDUs). By providing real-time power monitoring at the rack level, data center administrators can gain instant access to power usage metrics and then use the information to make improvements that can boost uptime and reduce operating costs.

Server Technology provides a wide array of customizable data center power management solutions including the advanced Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform. To learn more about how Server Technology can provide your data center with real-time monitoring and reporting technologies, click here.

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Topics: intelligent power strip, environmental monitoring, intelligent PDUs, real time monitoring

Environmental Monitoring: Mission Critical Monitoring, or Mission Impossible?

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 23, 2017 6:45:00 AM

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Data center environmental monitoring is nothing new.  Systems such as the first Sensaphones have been around for decades, dialing out on POTS lines to report on space, power, and cooling.  But don’t get me wrong – we’ve come a long way, baby.

Haven’t we?

As our friends at the Green Grid have correctly noted, you cannot improve what you are not measuring.  It is safe to say that, up until now, we have never had access to the volume of information we can capture now, nor could we process it into useful and actionable data.  But one thing has not changed, and that is the fact that we still rely on probes and sensors to capture all those little kernels of information.

What if I told you that Server Technology, known around the globe as the power strategy expert, with its team of electrical engineers and their trophy wall of industry patents, is really a data center environmental monitoring firm in disguise?  Or that a typical rack PDU is an advanced monitoring solution with a little power distribution thrown in to keep up the ruse?

Yeah, I’ll accept ‘crazy’ as your answer, but hear me out, Ethan Hunt.

What’s more, did you notice that we are capturing information at the source, from the source? 

Since our rack PDUs speak BACnet and Modbus, you can report the information back to the DCIM package of your choice.  The information gathered can provide instant feedback on environmental conditions, as well as the numbers you need to evaluate your PUE, cooling efficiency, power utilization, capacity planning, and more.

Not bad for a rack PDU. 

Click here for more information about Server Technology’s mission, or check out our full field report on Advances in Power and Environmental Monitoring.  Or stand watch with the Sentry Power Manger.

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Topics: Sentry Power Manager, environmental monitoring, DCIM, intelligent PDUs

Winter is Coming: Is Your Data Center Ready?

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 20, 2017 10:36:15 AM

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As they say in Game of Thrones, winter is coming. And while you may not have to worry about ice zombies invading your data center, if you are located in the north may have some tough power-related challenges to face when the temperature plummets.

Some of these challenges may include…

Winter storms: Heavy wind and snowfall can produce local power outages which will put backup UPS systems to the test. So it’s important to make sure that your UPS system is functioning properly. (Real-time power monitoring can help enhance this system)

Heating: Once the weather gets cold, you’ll need to ensure that your data center stays at an optimal operating temperature. Real-time environmental monitoring is necessary to prevent sudden dips or spikes in data center temperatures.  Top tools for environmental monitoring.

Extra bandwidth: This year, analysts are predicting an above-average holiday shopping season. In order to accommodate new customers, many businesses will be firing up reserve servers in their data centers. This can lead to higher operating costs.

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Of course, after the holiday season a new year will be here as well — and with it, a new set of challenges for your data center.

In light of this, time is running out to winter-proof your data center. Make sure to take the next few weeks to assess your facility, and look for ways of improving your power management strategy before it’s too late.

Server Technology can outfit your organization with a wide range of intelligent power distribution units, which can provide real-time power and environmental monitoring at the rack level.

To learn more about how Server Technology can keep your data center safe this winter, click here.

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Topics: environmental monitoring, winter, real time monitoring

Schools: Use Summer to Overhaul Your Data Center Power Strategy

Posted by RJ Tee on Jun 27, 2017 8:11:00 AM

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Students may have left for the summer, but for data center professionals working for school systems and universities, the work is just getting started.

Summer is a time to reflect on how the data center performed during the previous year, for identifying areas that need improvement and for making critical adjustments before September rolls back around.

One issue that must be addressed during summer planning is data center power management. After all, power is a critical foundational element in the data center. But it’s also very expensive, and risky.

Most school systems today are operating on tight budgets, and cannot afford issues like:

  • Downtime: Unplanned power surges can lead to lengthy bouts of downtime for a school, knocking servers offline and requiring lengthy repairs. This can bring network operations to a halt, impacting everything from classroom connectivity to emergency communications systems.  You can learn more about Server Technology's uptime solutions here.
  • Zombie servers: Many school systems are running idle “zombie” servers, which will remain on all summer despite the fact that they are not needed. These zombie servers must be identified and managed to prevent waste.
  • Disasters: Servers can get very hot. If left unchecked, they can overheat and catch on fire. For this reason, environmental monitoring is very important.  Need a place to start looking into the top environmental monitoring tools?  Read this.

Server Technology offers a variety of hardware and software solutions to simplify data center power management. Using Server Technology’s cutting-edge PDUs, and the Sentry Power Management (SPM) platform, data center administrators can perform real-time monitoring and maintenance, environmental control and remote power management.

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Topics: SPM Sentry Power Manager, uptime, environmental monitoring, zombie servers, education

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

Don't Let Cooling Costs Burn Your Dollars

Posted by RJ Tee on May 17, 2017 1:05:36 PM

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Server Technology product manager Robert Faulkner knows a thing or two about data center power. With nine years at the company under his belt, Faulkner is keenly aware of the problems presented when you’re trying to walk that fine line between properly cooling your data center floor and keeping your costs low.

The problem, as he explains it, is like this:

“As temperatures rise, the life of your equipment drops. Most of your money is in servers, network gear and storage, so you want to make sure these elements have proper cooling,” Faulkner says.  (You can learn about top tools used for environmental montoring here)

Faulkner explains that with power strips residing in the back of the rack, the heat produced by servers is not always accounted for. One solution, he says, is proper cable routing.

“If you have a lot of cordage in the back, that’s a horrible situation,” he says. “The fan can’t cool the server. It’s just spinning, it’s really hot and it’s damaging your equipment.”

As a result, many data center managers assume their cooling is working efficiently, when it’s really burning up dollars by the minute.

The answer, Faulkner says, is to adopt smart rack PDU technology, such as the Alt-Phase HDOT PDU from Server Technology.

The benefits are many:

  • HDOT PDUs allow for shorter, more simplified cable runs
  • Increased airflow through the equipment
  • Intelligent rack PDUs report on current draws
  • Complete compatibility with Sentry Power Manager

Server Technology’s High Density Outlet Technology PDUs simultaneously monitor both power consumption and temperature within cabinets. Built-in alerts and reporting functions transmit data to HVAC systems, DCIM tools and key personnel. And in keeping with current trends, HDOT PDUs are built to operate at full power load in a 65 ̊C (149 ̊ F) environment, allowing you to run your data center at a warmer ambient temperature.

When combined with SPM, Server Technology’s smart rack PDUs become exponentially more powerful. SPM allows you to see in real-time what’s going on with your data center equipment. With optional temperature and humidity probes, you can maintain the proper cooling and heating mix on your floor 24/7. Customizable reports let you regularly see temperature data, allowing you even predict when equipment may be about to fail.

Learn more about  Server Technology’s alt-phase HDOT PDUs and sign up for a free 120-day Sentry Power Manager trial here.

Click Here To Build Your Own HDOT PDU  with Alt-Phase and POPS

Topics: HDOT, environmental monitoring

Downtime Is a Big Problem, According to Fed IT Workers

Posted by Eric Giacomini on Apr 9, 2015 7:00:00 AM

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A total of 300 federal IT workers recently took the time to grade their departments’ downtime management strategies in a survey conducted by Meritalk, as was reported in a Financial Times article.

The results of the survey were not pretty, indicating that downtime is one of the biggest cyber issues facing the federal government in 2015.

Some 36 percent of federal IT professionals gave their IT departments a grade of “C,” meaning average to below average, for downtime management performance. Additionally, just 29 percent of federal IT professionals believe that their IT department is fully aware of the impact that downtime can have on their agency’s overall performance.

Furthermore, about half of those surveyed indicated that their data center lacks the necessary computational power, data storage and personnel needed to ensure optimal efficiency.

This study is alarming given the fact that the transmission of real-time information is critical for facilitating a wide range of important federal tasks. These tasks range from safety inspections to healthcare. Without the help of a reliable network and a fully optimized data center, many workers are finding it difficult to complete important tasks.

What can be done to rectify the federal government’s data center woes? Real-time data center power monitoring, as well as environmental monitoring, is an essential technology that would help ensure the safety and stability of core government networks, in regard to power. Federal IT professionals require real-time access to energy consumption metrics provided by this technology in order to prevent system overloading, network crashes and capacity shortages. With such a technology, the federal government could gain critical oversight into real-time power consumption as well as environmental data. 

Learn how to improve your uptime

Topics: Data Center, environmental monitoring, power monitoring, downtime, federal government

Question of the Month: How Can I Ensure Uptime in My Unpredictable Data Center?

Posted by Josh Schaap on Jan 28, 2015 8:00:00 AM

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Recently, a lot of customers have been asking us here at Server Technology about maximizing uptime.

Customers want to know: With the multitude of power-related challenges facing data centers today, like unplanned outages; increasing security threats; new, relatively untested technologies such as SDN; and the ongoing threat of natural disasters, is striving for constant uptime a realistic goal or a pipe dream? Many feel that they are fighting a losing battle against this slew of challenges.

Our response is that it’s easy to get frustrated with the increasing number of demands facing your data center. But it’s also easy to manage power effectively when you have access to a reliable data center power management solution that can provide the following features:

  • Real-time environmental alerts: Stay on top of environmental challenges like heat spikes and condensation with advanced temperature and humidity monitoring.
  • Capacity planning: See exactly how new infrastructure and technologies fit in with your existing equipment. Capacity planning tools will let you see how much power your equipment is using, and how much room you have left before reaching your ceiling.
  • Power draw data: When downtime occurs, you need to be aware of it. Don’t let servers and switches fail for extended periods of time without being noticed. Gain advanced power draw information so that you can keep a close watch on your facility at all times.
  • Remote management: Make critical power adjustments from any location with remote management. You don’t have to be physically present in your data center to oversee your equipment and make key changes.

So, don’t get overwhelmed trying to maintain uptime. Get the right technology to ensure it. Server Technology, a leading provider of data center power management software, can help you ensure uptime in an unpredictable environment. Click here to request a demo today.

Topics: data center power, uptime, environmental monitoring, capacity planning, Server Technology, remote management

Putting Your Excess Data Center Heat to Use

Posted by Eric Giacomini on Jan 26, 2015 9:48:50 AM

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Your servers generate a ton of heat over the course of a single day. So, why not take this excess heat and pump it back into your office building during cold winter months? It’s a great way to save money and reduce waste at the same time. 

Think about it: A typical server running at 400 watts will generate almost 1,400 British thermal unit (Btu) per hour. A standard 20-by-20 room with a 10-foot ceiling only needs about 35,000 Btu per hour to maintain a 72 degree temperature. Since a large enterprise will run several thousand servers at a given time, it will generate more than enough energy to keep an entire building heated for an extended duration.

In fact, as Amazon is proving, it could be enough energy to heat a whole skyscraper.

Amazon is in the process of constructing a system that will take waste heat from one of its data centers and transfer it to the company’s nearby high-rise office building. The project is expected to save Amazon about three-quarters of the electricity that it would have otherwise had to purchase to heat the facility. Additionally, by removing the heat from its main data center, Amazon will reduce the amount of water and air needed to keep its infrastructure cool.

If you’re thinking of implementing this strategy in your facility, don’t move forward without a reliable environmental monitoring solution that will give you real-time information about the temperature in your data center. After all, when transferring large amounts of heat, it’s critical that you maintain a close watch on your equipment to ensure safe temperature levels.

Click here for more information about how Server Technology can help you put your company’s excess heat to good use.

Topics: data center power, environmental monitoring, Server Technology, heat, Amazon

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