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Is Your Power-Hungry Data Center a Liability? Read This

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 13, 2017 2:52:14 PM

 

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Ireland’s state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) recently made headlines when the company publicly referred to its data centers as a liability for their heavy power consumption.

As explained in DatacenterDynamics, the remarks appeared in an interim financial statement from 1H17. The issue was referred to as a principal risk to the company, and was later clarified by a company spokesperson.

“To put it into context, the current load in Dublin is around 1,200 mega volt amps (MVA), which has grown over the last 90 years, and there is about 1,400 MVA in data center applications and enquiries in train.

“This level of demand growth is unprecedented and would almost double the demand in Dublin over a five-year period,” the spokesperson continued.

To accommodate this growth, the company is constructing two 220kV stations. This will make seven stations in total.

Now is a good time to analyze your own data center, and check to see whether it, too is a liability. Do you have the resources in place to accommodate future growth? And from a cost perspective, is your data center becoming a drain on the enterprise?

If so, real-time data center power monitoring solutions can help. By monitoring electricity consumption directly at the rack level, you can gain the insight you need to understand exactly how your facility is performing and understand what you need to do to keep it running at a high level into the future.

Server Technology provides a wide range of intelligent power distribution units, and even lets you build your own custom model. For more information, check out our PDU buying guide.

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Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, Rack Power Management

Three Data Center Power Goals for 2018

Posted by RJ Tee on Oct 5, 2017 9:48:15 AM

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October is already here, which means we’re rapidly approaching the end of the year. Before you know it, the holiday rush will arrive, followed closely by the start of 2018 — which means time is running out to plan your data center’s 2018 power management strategy.

Now is an important time to round up your team and discuss ways that you can reduce energy waste next year so that your data center can save money and become more efficient in the process.

Here are three data center power management goals that you should consider for next year: 

  1. Eliminate zombie servers: Chances are likely that if you are running a large-scale data center, you have quite a few servers that are running idly and silently wasting a great deal of energy. In 2018 your goal should be to identify these “zombie” servers, determine how much power they are using and then consider shutting them down.
  2. Ensure business continuity: As we have learned with hurricanes Irma and Harvey, major weather events can arise with little to no warning — wreaking havoc on unprepared data centers. Can your data center withstand a hurricane? Take a hard look at your backup power systems, and make sure they are capable of functioning properly when they need to switch into place with real-time monitoring
  3. Improve remote management: Do you have multiple data centers spread around the country or the world? If so, it’s time consider centralizing management. Invest in a platform like the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) from Server Technology, which can give you a wide range of power management options, directly from a single pane of glass. Your team should be able to execute real-time power management tasks from any location over the Web.

To learn more about how Server Technology can help with these initiatives, click here.

Learn Why Our Customers Choose Servertech Again and Again

Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, zombie servers, Power Goals

2017: A Record Year for Data Center Investment

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 29, 2017 3:59:01 PM

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There is still a full quarter to go in 2017, but already it’s been a record-setting year for the U.S. data center industry which has generated more business than ever before.

According to a new study, companies have thus far invested $18.2 billion in U.S. data centers, which is double the amount they pulled in last year. At this pace, they are on track to surpass the total amount for the last three years combined.

A big reason for this growth can bte attributed to skyrocketing demand for cloud computing, and data — both of which are expected to keep growing significantly over the next several years. Global Internet traffic, it should be noted, has already surpassed a zettabyte of data. And this should triple by as soon as 2021.

Here at Server Technology, we are thrilled to see such heavy investment in U.S. data centers. But we wanted to remind our readers about the need to support their ecosystems with real-time power monitoring at the rack level.

This is important for a few reasons:

Controlling costs: It’s very easy to lose track of expenses in a data center — especially a large one — when you aren’t even aware of how many servers you are running. Real-time power monitoring solutions can provide visibility into data center operations, giving administrators the ability to understand exactly where energy is being allocated. It can be used toidentify and eliminate “zombie” servers, or idle machines that tend to go unnoticed but consume large amounts of electricity.

Preventing downtime: IT administrators bank on the fact that UPS systems will seamlessly work when they are needed. Oftentimes, though, they fail to turn on. Connected power distribution units can be used to perform status checks and maintenance on UPS infrastructure, providing assurance that they are working properly and preventing unexpected downtime.

Sustainability: Data centers are notorious energy hogs, with some large-scale facilities using as much energy as towns or cities. As such, sustainability has become a top priority for data centers administrators — particularly federal organizations. Data centers can use connected PDUs to track progress, and prove that they are taking active measures to reduce emissions.

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

Puzzled Picking the Right PDU?  Check Out Our New Rack PDU Buying Guide

Topics: growth, Remote Power Monitoring, data center industry

Enhance Your UPS System with Real-time Power Monitoring

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 11, 2017 2:41:57 PM

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Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems have emerged as a main driver of growth in the booming data center power market — a market, it should be noted, that will continue growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6 percent until 2025, when it will reach $10.77 billion.  

As explained in a new report, UPS can now be considered the backbone of the modern data center. These systems ensure that servers and networking devices can continue to operate as normal in the event of an unplanned accident or natural disaster.

The UPS segment, it should be noted, took in the largest share of this market in 2016. This is partially due to the rising demand for data center power. And over the next several years, this market will continue to grow due to the increasing penetration of IoT technologies, and artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

Now, consider this:

If a UPS system can be considered the backbone of the modern data center, then we can liken intelligent power distribution units (PDU) to the nervous system. Intelligent PDUs can collect and report critical power metrics directly from the rack level. PDUs, in fact, are one of the most important supporting components for UPS systems because of the fact that they can provide real-time information about how servers are consuming energy — and whether they are operationally sound and efficient.

Intelligent PDUs from Server Technology can be combined with the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform, a web-based management console that can be used to remotely monitor energy consumption throughout all areas of the data center.

Remember: When the power goes out, there can’t be any question as to whether or not your UPS system will turn on.  Server Technology can provide you with that peace of mind.

View Switched POPS Online Demo Today

Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, uptime, UPS

Email Enhancements in SPM 6.1

Posted by RJ Tee on Sep 1, 2017 9:18:54 AM

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Sorry, hang on.  I just got an email from my rack PDU.

And with that, the word is out about the latest version of our Sentry Power Manager software.  In the new 6.1 release, the first major upgrade to the award-winning SPM 6.0 platform, the intelligence behind our power distribution units just got a little smarter.

Seriously, smarter intelligence in now a thing.

While the SPM introduced the data center and colocation world to outlet-level metering and management in a single pane of glass, our latest release brings your rack power distribution to new and uncharted territory:  your inbox.

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Here are some features of the new enhanced email release, all designed to allow you to send the right message at the right time to the right people:

Distribution groups.  You can set up single user or groups as recipients of alarms and notifications from your devices.  Multiple groups can also be created to support different policies that require notification of different personnel or departments.

Alarm policies.  You can set up separate policies for different types of alarms, based on the level or type of the alarm.  Depending on the situation, you can also establish the delay rules for the policy, which controls the amount of time between the alarm and the release of an email to the distribution group assigned to the policy.  Once set up, you can also toggle the alarm on and off.

Escalation.  If the alert is not resolved within an established timeframe, or within the distribution group you have established for the original policy, it will automatically roll over to the next policy in the chain.

Learn more about SPM alerts here.

For more information about our enhanced email escalation feature, check out the new Server Technology technical note about the software update. 

Need better insights into your data center?  Try Sentry Power Manager for a 120-Day Free Trial!

Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, Sentry Power Manager

Power Management: A Critical Need for Hyperscale Providers

Posted by RJ Tee on Aug 29, 2017 6:00:00 AM

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It’s no secret that data centers are massive energy hogs. As explained in a recent Server Technology white paper, “The Power of Hyperscale Compute,” a typical data centers can be 10 to 100 times more energy-intensive than an office. And altogether, data centers use about 3 percent of the U.S. electricity supply.

Over the last two decades, as compute and storage densities have increased, rack power densities have also skyrocketed. In the past, a typical rack would consume an average of 1 to 2 kilowatts of power. Now, as we move deeper into the hyperscale era, loads are hovering around 20 to 40 kilowatts. More servers and hard drives are being put into single racks today than ever before, in a scale out approach.

As such, hyperscale providers now require advanced technologies for tracking electricity consumption and for accurate capacity planning. And one of the best ways to accomplish this is to use cutting-edge power distribution units equipped with real-time monitoring features.

But that’s not all.

The white paper also explains how hyperscale providers today require the partnership of a supply base that can support the high volume, quick turn production of hardware. This includes servers, storage, networking, racks and more.

This is especially true with power management solutions which are integral for the daily operation of hyperscale facilities.

Server Technology specializes in offering top of the line power management products and accessories that can be shipped very quickly — sometimes even on the same day. Plus, Server Technology’s PDUs are Trade Agreements Act (TAA) certified which make them acceptable for use with federal government agencies.

To learn more about Server Technology, click here. To access the white paper on hyperscale computing, click here.

Your Hyperscale Data Center Demands Reliability. Why Compromise? Learn More Today

 

Topics: Remote Power Monitoring, remote power management, Hyperscale

Pushing the Easy Button: Tips for Remote Power Management

Posted by RJ Tee on Aug 15, 2017 11:50:47 AM

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For those of you who are working through the issues of remotely managing your data center power, or are thinking about heading in that direction, we have a few pearls of wisdom.

There is definitely some confusion in the industry about smart versus switched power distribution units.  I’d like to take a minute to talk about the latter.  Although both types of rack PDU’s have the same features such as circuit protection, monitoring, security, and communications, it is the switched variety that opens the doors to remotely managing your data center.

Not exactly like a T.V. remote, but I think you know what I mean.

Switched PDU’s give you the ability to control power to a server or other device using a single command to the unit.  Particularly handy for multi-site or colocation applications, the ability to reboot a machine without leaving your desk is a big step for productivity improvement, and one giant leap for mankind.

You can also more closely control power utilization at the rack level.  Based on trending data or analysis of the historical use of equipment within a rack, a data center manager can lock out unused outlets so that the circuit feeding the rack is not overloaded.  Again, managing power at the rack is now an armchair activity.

Data centers are also known to waste power by running equipment during off-hours when it is not in use.  But what if you could push a button and manage the working hours of your equipment?   A switched PDU allows operators to strategically schedule power to specific equipment to improve the efficiency of their facilities and reduce their electrical bills.

For more information about these kinds of strategies, take a look at a recent white paper about a government agency that reduced its power usage, by an average of 50 percent, using a switched PDU.

Learn more about how Server Technology can improve your remote data center management, click here.

 

Puzzled Picking the Right PDU?  Check Out Our New Rack PDU Buying Guide

 

Topics: switched PDUs, Remote Power Monitoring, remote power management

If You Can’t Stand The Heat … Fix It

Posted by Josh Schaap on Aug 26, 2016 9:14:36 AM

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When President Harry S. Truman coined the phrase, “If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen,” in 1942, he was referring to critics of his aggressive use of war contracts in the Second World War. Good advice for politics, perhaps, but not so much for data center management. In fact, when heat becomes an issue in your data center, it’s time to do something about it.

Each kW hour of server power creates and equivalent amount of heat. Over time, this heat can accumulate, impacting server performance.  You canmonitor this within the cabinet, zone, and location levels.  While servers have been adapted to withstand higher temperatures, computing power is rising, and this is generating more heat.  Add on top of this the growth of virtualized servers leading to fewer idling computers, and you have an endless cycle of heat generation.

The fact is that many power and cooling systems can’t efficiently meet the demands of today’s data center. The perimeter-based CRAC units of yesterday were sufficient when rack densities hovered at the 2-4 kW per rack range, but this doesn’t really work in a modern data center.

The two main problems that currently exist are:

  • More heat means more cooling infrastructure is required. New servers and switches can create 10 times the heat per square foot as those made 10 years ago.
  • Often, high-density servers are installed in the same data centers as prior generation systems. Because of this, rack densities aren’t increasing evenly across the data center, leading to areas that are hotter than others. Bottom-of-the-rack equipment may consume so much of the cooler air that any remaining cold air isn’t enough to cool top-of-the-rack equipment.

The Power Strategy Experts at Server Technology offer a couple of tips to follow in order to keep cool and carry on in your data center.

  1. Monitor, monitor, monitor: Monitoring is crucial at the branch and in-feed levels for capacity planning purposes if you’re looking to identify zombie servers and stranded capacity. Doing so will help achieve higher efficiency. As Calvin Nicholson, Server Technology’s Senior Director of Software and Firmware Development, says, “you can’t manage what you don’t monitor.” Monitoring tools such as Sentry Power Manager help companies report on and track device-specific power consumption.  Learn more about the top tools for environmental monitoring.
  2. Provisioning: It’s vital that data center operators not only embrace the idea of provisioning, but that they act upon it. Often, companies overprovision power to under-used cabinets, wasting money. As real estate costs rise, it’s getting harder and harder to justify this sort of practice. And, provisioning the wrong type of power can also negatively impact data center operations. Server Technology recommends provisioning at a higher power source such as 415V.

Learn more about our solutions for power monitoring and provisioning here.

Topics: data center temperature, Remote Power Monitoring, Data Center Density