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Environmental Monitoring: Mission Critical Monitoring, or Mission Impossible?

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

data center environmental monitoring mission impossible

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.

Click to

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

Location Is Only Half the Battle When Building a New Data Center

Posted by RJ Tee on Jul 5, 2017 2:19:57 PM

Just recently, Network World ran an interesting article explaining how Ireland is the best place to set up a data center in Europe.

The author pointed out how strong connectivity, affordable taxes and active government support make Ireland a premium destination for businesses seeking colocation and interconnection services.  

On a side note, you can learn more about how your colocation service can benefit from Server Technology's solutions here.

This got me thinking…

Sure, it’s important to consider all of these factors when building a new data center, or moving your facility to a new area.

But they are all irrelevant if you don’t take care of your own backend maintenance.

Who cares, in other words, if you open a facility in rural Ireland or in the middle of the desert if you’re wasting boatloads of money every day due to wasteful data center practices? You may save some money on something like tax benefits, but you could easily lose it due to waste.

Businesses can benefit from pro-data center markets like Ireland only when all backend systems and processes are fully tracked and optimized. You can’t expect to capitalize on favorable market conditions until you streamline your own network services.  

Server Technology offers essential data center power management technologies that can help with this process. Using Server Technology’s intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) and the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform, it’s possible to easily identify and eliminate power drain and start putting your energy to better use.

To learn more about how Server Technology can help your data center improve its operational efficiencies, click here


Topics: Affordable Data Center Locations, Sentry Power Manager, data center locations, intelligent PDUs

Smart Cities Need Fog Computing with Intelligent Power

Posted by Marc Cram on Apr 26, 2017 11:02:06 AM

Businessperson holding media image of city in palm. New technologies-1.jpeg

Mainframes and Moore’s law led to personal computers.  Client-server applications became possible with the first local area networks. Cellular radio systems and Wi-Fi, along with Moore’s law (again) combined with improved battery technology have made laptops, tablets, cell phones, and augmented reality headsets key drivers of internet activity today. Tomorrow’s applications will be more widespread, and possibly less visible. Think smart cities, where the lamp posts and the sidewalks work together to guide you to your destination so you don’t have to watch your progress on a map application on your phone. The solar powered talking trash bin on the corner can call a driverless Lyft for you. Need to make a phone call? Put your hand on the glass of the bus stop shelter and you can have a video call for a few micro-cents.

These distributed “fog” applications need local compute support, and that requires reliable electrical sources to power them along with remote management tools to monitor and report issues to the appropriate companies and agencies.

Are you tasked with enabling these projects?

Would you use this infrastructure if it was available?

I’d like your vision and feedback on this. Drop me a line at [email protected] or @mcram01 on twitter.

Learn More About What We Can Do For Your Edge Computing Application

Topics: intelligent PDUs, smart, fog computing

Migrating to the Cloud? You Still Need Intelligent PDUs

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 17, 2017 11:28:24 AM


We see this problem time and again with cloud computing: First, a business will partner with a hosted cloud provider offering affordable access to premium infrastructure; then, the business will migrate its workloads and wait for the cost savings to roll in.

Oftentimes, though, the cost savings never materialize. In fact, it's very common for a business to spend more money on cloud services in the long run than it would on legacy network expenses.  

Here’s why:

Cloud providers typically sell bare metal infrastructure at scale, but not much more than that. Unless a business opts to layer managed services on top of its cloud infrastructure, it will still be responsible for maintenance and upkeep, and for keeping operating costs at a manageable level. Cloud providers, in other words, are not there to hold your hand; they only provide servers. Countless organizations have learned this the hard way.

One responsibility that tends to go overlooked during cloud migrations is power management. Many IT departments today are still using archaic power outlets in their data centers and cloud environments that do not have IP connectivity. These units are highly prone to power faults, and lack real-time reporting components. As such, they are often the root cause of high costs and unexpected outages.

Instead of using traditional power outlets, IT administrators are encouraged to use intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) containing embedded solutions for recording and reporting power usage metrics, and for evenly distributing power across the cabinet. Intelligent PDUs are necessary for supporting today’s heavy workloads and advanced computing processes.

Here are some reasons to use intelligent PDUs with cloud servers:  

Perform rapid-response troubleshooting: Server Technology’s intelligent PDUs come with full switching capabilities, meaning it’s possible to use them to toggle power on and off from any remote location. This saves time, and eliminates the need to travel or rely on remote crews when performing system maintenance. This feature can be easily managed in Server Technology’s Sentry Power Management (SPM) platform — a secure and user-friendly Web-based management console.

Manage environmental settings: The servers you are using today are resilient, meaning it’s possible to experiment with different environmental settings in order to maximize performance and efficiencies. Still, you’ll want to be very careful when raising or lowering data center temperatures. Using intelligent PDUs from Server Technology, you will gain access to real-time environmental data and alerts. If a cabinet surpasses its environmental threshold, an SNMP alert can be triggered so that immediate action can be taken.

Obtain accurate metrics: All power usage data can be easily tracked, stored and exported into reports using intelligent PDUs and the SPM platform. By analyzing accurate power usage information at the cabinet level, it can help to save money in the data center.


Learn More About  Server Technology's Intelligent PDUs

Topics: intelligent PDUs

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

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


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.)


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

The One, The Only: HDOT With POPS

Posted by Josh Schaap on Dec 22, 2016 9:17:40 AM


What do you get when you take the flexibility of Server Technology’s High Density Outlet Technology and combine it with Per Outlet Power Sensing? A pretty amazing product, says Vimal Bhakta, Senior Engineering Manager for Server Technology.

“It’s great,” he says with a smile.

If you haven’t already, take a second to watch Vimal share the good news about HDOT POPS PDUs in our new video:

In the video, Vimal runs down the key benefits of adding POPS technology to our award-winning HDOT alt-phase rack PDUs. He discusses how data centers can use this winning combo to find solutions for density, capacity planning and remote management.

HDOT’s alternating phase power is designed for three rack power configurations, and with each configuration, there are four product types to choose from, depending on the level of control you need:

Thanks to its modular design, each HDOT product type gives customers the flexibility to configure the location and quantity of C13 and C19 outlets on the PDU. As a result, there are literally thousands on thousands of configurations possible. To get a sense of how customizable our PDUs really are, check out our Build Your Own PDU tool which walks you through four easy steps to building the perfect power solution for your data center. It’s so remarkably easy that you can even build a PDU right from your tablet or phone.

So, why HDOT? The short answer is that it provides 20 percent more outlet real estate than conventional outlet-based PDUs. We’re able to achieve this by removing unneeded material around the outlet and group them as close together as physically possible.

HDOT PDUs also feature high native power cord retention and alternating phase power for cable management and load balancing. Ultimately, this helps customers operate at the highest efficiency possible.

Available in Smart and Switched POPS, these PDUs provide +/- 1 percent energy consumption accuracy at each outlet for typical data center equipment loads. As a bonus, it’ll also help you identify abnormal rack equipment power behavior such as zombie servers on the data center floor.  

In the end, HDOT is the most reliable and adaptable customer power solution for data center rack equipment, Vimal says.

“HDOT is a true game-changer out in the PDU market,” he says. “Customers love it … I love it … Only with Server Technology will you Stay Powered, Be Supported and Get Ahead.”

Topics: data center power, intelligent PDUs, rack PDU

How Can Intelligent PDUs Improve Your Data Center?

Posted by Erik Stabile on Jul 18, 2016 12:22:09 PM


Let’s be honest: Your data center is one of the most expensive components of your organization. For this reason, your key stakeholders may very well be considering outsourcing operations to a cost-effective colocation center at some point in the future if you don’t gain control over your spending.

Why is your data center so expensive to operate? There are countless contributing factors. First and foremost, infrastructure is not cheap. Every year, a large portion of your budget is allocated toward hefty CAPEX and OPEX on equipment and cutting-edge technologies. Plus, there are workers’ salaries to consider, as well as costs related to heating, cooling and real estate.

Unfortunately, you can’t do much to reduce the Top majority of the aforementioned expenses. Laying off employees or downsizing your operation will only make matters more difficult for your depaGot rtment—especially now that your business is depending so heavily on its network.

But there’s one huge inefficiency you can streamline: Your rampant, unchecked electricity usage. For most data centers, electricity is a major expense which costs hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of dollars annually.

By gaining control over your power usage at the rack level, you can slash costs and waste while also making your data center operationally safer.  

One tool that will help you accomplish this goal is a smart power distribution unit (PDU). A smart PDU works just like a standard PDU in that it reliably delivers power directly to the rack. A smart PDU differs, however, in that it streams real-time and historical power and environmental data for each unit. This data can be accessed over any Web browser, which is ideal for IT managers in charge of multiple facilities.

The primary benefit of using a smart PDU is that it allows you to identify problematic devices that are using large amounts of power on a daily basis. You may notice, for instance, a particular rack that is constantly running, yet is serving no real purpose for your data center on a daily basis; this is called a zombie server. Once you get a sense of all of the equipment you are running and their average power loads, you can then make strategic decisions to reduce energy consumption.

A smart PDU will also provide you with the freedom to experiment with different power densities, without fer of tripping your circuit breakers in the process. This is where a smart PDU’s environmental monitoring comes in handy. When consolidating devices and experimenting with different densities, it’s vital to keep a close watch on temperature and humidity levels. Otherwise, your devices could overheat and cause a fire.

One thing to keep in mind before buying a smart PDU  is that not all models offer the same level of visibility and control. In addition to environmental control and remote monitoring, here are some key features you should look for in a smart PDU:

  • Branch circuit protection: If too much electric current passes into a conductor, it could overheat or damage the equipment. A smart PDU with branch circuit protection will protect your equipment from overcurrents, thus providing peace of mind and enabling healthier equipment life cycles.
  • Input current monitoring: Be sure to look for local LED input current monitoring. This will help prevent phase-related accidents while IT is installing rack or cabinet equipment.
  • Strong security: One of the risks of using a smart PDU is that if hackers break into your network, they could potentially see power distribution information for all of your servers. It’s therefore critical to invest in a smart PDU that comes with strong security settings and access controls (to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access).

Server Technology’s smart PDUs come with all of above-listed features. They’re also capable of integrating with Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM) solution for easy configuration, reporting and capacity planning, as well as its expansion unit for extra outlets. These PDUs are designed primarily for monitoring and power distribution purposes, and cannot provide switching on an individual outlet basis. However, if you are looking for this feature, you will find it in the Smart POPs PDU, or the Switched POPs PDU.

It’s time to take the intelligent approach to data center power management. By investing in smart PDUs, you can gain more visibility and insight into your data center’s power usage than you ever thought possible.

For more information about how Sever Technology’s smart can help your business, click here.


Topics: intelligent PDUs