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Upset About the Paris Climate Agreement? Here’s Something You Can Do

Posted by RJ Tee on Jun 20, 2017 8:08:00 AM

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Business leaders on both sides of the political aisle are charged up about the fact that the U.S. has pulled out of the international Paris climate agreement.

Many companies — particularly those who have been heavily invested in making their data centers more energy efficient — feel like their efforts have been in vain. There is a sense of hopelessness about the state of the climate that is spreading across the country.

Here at Server Technology, though, we are reminding our customers that just because the U.S. is no longer part of the Paris climate agreement doesn’t mean that the struggle is over. In fact, several cities and states are now looking for ways to continue fighting climate change on their own regardless of the strategy that the federal government is now using.

Your business can continue fighting climate change with the help of Server Technology’s advanced data center power monitoring and management solutions.

Server Technology offers a variety of helpful products ranging from basic PDUs to smart and metered options. Server Technology also offers the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform, for real-time and historical power reporting.

Using these solutions, you can gain complete visibility and control over your data center’s power consumption.

Remember: If your business wants to truly go green, the fight starts in the data center. Data centers can use a remarkable amount of energy, and oftentimes a large percentage of power is wasted on “zombie” servers that run all the time even though they are not being actively used. The trick is to locate these zombie servers, determine how much energy they are using, and then determine a proper course of action.   (You can learn more about zombie servers here in this interview with Server Technology’s Senior Director of Software and Firmware Development.)  

So if you’re fed up about climate change, then you’ve come to the right place. To learn more about how Server Technology can help your business maintain a responsible and eco-friendly data center, click here.

Topics: energy efficiency, SPM, Sentry Power Manager, Data Center Efficiency

All About Alerts: How SPM Keeps You on the Top of Your Game

Posted by RJ Tee on May 24, 2017 11:39:57 AM

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When your alarm clock goes off in the morning, there’s a good chance you react with something short of enthusiasm. “But I just fell asleep!” you shout to no one in particular. You’re tempted to toss the thing across the room, but then you remember your alarm clock is your $700 smartphone that contains 1,000 times the computing power of the original Mercury space ships. So, you gently dismiss the alert and start the business of waking for the day.

Annoying as alarms can be, they’re also vital to our lives. Without them, we’d be late to work, miss important flights or forget about doctor’s appointments. The same philosophy has gone into Sever Technology’s Sentry Power Manager, our award-winning software that provides a single pane of glass through which to view all your data center smart rackmount PDUs, wherever they are in the world.

With the ability to remotely monitor and manage power and environmental conditions in your data center, SPM provides the ultimate in data center efficiency, proving to be a money-saver from the start. Here’s a look at some of Sentry Power Manager’s top alerts, reports, and tools:

SPM Reports in a Nutshell

  1. Energy Consumed Reports: This shows your data center’s total kilowatt usage and is invaluable when you’re tasked with overseeing efficiency and cost. You can choose the power type, outlet or infeed. SPM will show you this data grouped by location, cabinet, PDU or other customized views.
  2. Cabinet Redundancy Report: When you have A & B power feeds for PDUs within the same cabinet, this report shows users where the PDU is within acceptable safety limits and warns when power is exceeding these limits.
  3. Inventory Report: This shows you model numbers, serial numbers, power ratings, current firmware versions and more. This also reduces the amount of time needed to look up individual PDU information if you ever need to contact Server Technology’s customer support.
  4. Trending Reports: These reports aggregate a massive amount of data, including temperature, humidity, and power usage from your PDUs to predict future risks.
  5. Email Alerts: Create, save and schedule reports to be sent automatically via email. You can generate system reports on trends and email them to a pre-defined list of recipients. This is a huge time-saver and it ensures that critical information is being passed along to the right people in your organization.
  6. SNMP Trap Forwarding and Alarms: Set up real-time PDU status and alarm notification via dynamic reports (SNMP traps), which allows monitoring and outlet control over conditions such as humidity, power, and temperature.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Sentry Power Manager can do. Discover more features by taking it for a test drive with a free, 120-day trial. Then, visit our YouTube page to learn more about how to set up alerts and reports in Sentry Power Manager.

Topics: power reporting, Alerts, SPM

What’s Better Than Control?  Complete Control.  Get It With SPM.

Posted by RJ Tee on May 1, 2017 11:36:52 AM

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Imagine Lennon without McCartney. Steak without potatoes. The Giants without Buster Posey. Sometimes, things just pair together so well you can’t fathom them ever being separated. We like to think the same is true for our rack mount PDUs and our award-winning Sentry Power Manager Software. Separately, they’re still pretty incredible, but when you bring the power of these two elements together, the greatness compounds exponentially.

Let’s explore how.

Alone, our rack PDUs are powerful right out of the box. With options from metered to smart, to switched, with and without POPS, Server Technology’s PDUs are designed to maximize your uptime while keeping efficiency high, as well. Many offer individual outlet control, expansion modules, environmental monitoring, current monitoring and branch circuit protection. When you bring SPM into the mix, however, you can suddenly roll all your PDUs across all your data centers into a single bird's eye view.

Sentry Power Manager is also a time saver. Its built-in SNAP feature allows you to create templates which can push down vital system, IP and security settings to the PDU. Setting up multiple PDUs? Push settings all at once to each of your PDUs, saving countless hours of frustration and headaches. Configuration is simple with SPM.

Reporting is also a key differentiator with Sentry Power Manager. Looking for an “at-a-glance” view of everything going on in your data center? See overall system statuses, including a programmable slide show of all NOC views and open tabs. Schedule system reports for critical data on billing, carbon footprint, cabinet redundancy and total energy expenditure for a high-level view of all your cabinets and servers. Predictive trending reports will estimate temperature and power usage so you’re never caught off guard.

And, when you combine Server Technology rack mount PDUs with Sentry Power Manager, you’ll enjoy seamless integration via an API that shares power and environmental information with third-party systems such as BMS and DCIM solutions. Get details on system, location, cabinet, outlet, PDU, phase, branch and sensor information in a single pane of glass.

Ready to give SPM a shot? Check out our 120-day free configuration tool and monitoring trial here. For four months, you can put SPM through its paces at no cost to see if it’s the right fit for your data center power monitoring needs. For more details, see the Sentry Power Manager version 6.0 data sheet here and watch our YouTube videos to discover just how easy and efficient Sentry Power Manager really is.

Learn More about Sentry Power Manager

Topics: SPM

Top Reasons Your DCIM Strategy Isn’t Working

Posted by RJ Tee on Apr 10, 2017 10:31:26 AM

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Awhile back, you and your team implemented a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) strategy to help control your rapidly-growing department. At the time, your thinking was that DCIM would streamline operations, aid in knowledge-based decision making and help your business respond to changing workloads. The whole point was to make life easier for you and your team members, while also making the data center more efficient and cost-effective for your business (which is now riding almost entirely its network infrastructure).

Let’s face it, though: Things aren’t going exactly as they planned. Your data center is still wasting vast amounts of power on a daily basis, and it’s still suffering from sporadic bouts of downtime. And on top of it, you’re continuously operating in the red zone and upper management is not happy about it.

So, why are your DCIM tools failing to get the job done? Just recently, our Product Manager Robert Faulkner sounded off in The Stack about why so many IT administrators are having trouble with their strategies.

Here are some of the main issues that administrators are having with DCIM:  

  1. A lack of manpower: One thing Faulkner pointed out in the article was that IT teams are being asked to do more and more in their data centers but with fewer resources — including manpower. “This brings up a catch-22 scenario where data center managers have to account for the time it takes to install, implement, integrate, and continually manage and monitor a massive system, while still fighting the seemingly never-ending battles associated with overall business growth,” Faulkner explained. Small IT teams, therefore, require tools that help them work smarter.
  1. Human error: Between 40 to 90 percent of data center downtime can be attributed to human error. So according to Faulkner, the main priority from a power delivery perspective should be to keep workers out of the data center whenever possible. Remote monitoring and management is, therefore, critical for success.
  1. A lack of actionable data: Many DCIM strategies will attempt to monitor and measure every part of the data center. However, they’re not getting much value out of the data they’re collecting because it’s typically all over the place and unrefined. As a result, many data center administrators are making decisions based on assumptions instead of using cold, hard data. This can lead to all sorts of capacity planning issues.

Ultimately, the root cause of the problem comes down to a lack of specific, purpose-build monitoring tools in the data center. Any business looking to improve its power management strategy, in other words, needs to collect real-time intelligence from the PDUs which are powering servers, storage, and network gear.

How Server Technology Can Help Your DCIM Strategy

Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform comes with access to an open API that can be used to share critical power and environmental data with other systems like BMS and DCIM. It allows users to see critical information related location, system, outlet, cabinet, PDU, branch, sensor, and phase.

To learn more, click here.

Topics: SPM, DCIM

Make Better Power Management Decisions - Use SPM and Switched PDUs

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 24, 2017 11:45:45 AM

John F. Kennedy once said that leadership and learning are indispensible to each other. In other words, if you want to be a good leader you need access to knowledge that will help you make informed decisions.

This quote applies directly to you, as an IT administrator who is responsible for ensuring that your servers remain up and running, and operationally efficient. After all, you can’t expect to make accurate power management decisions if you’re relying on guesswork and intuition. You need cold, hard data.

Here’s some good news:

Server Technology has the resources that you need to start making more informed data center power management choices. The two products that can help the most are Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM)— a real-time, Web-based power management console — and switched power distribution units (PDU).

SPM is unique in that it allows for real-time visibility right down to the cabinet — and even device — levels. Armed with this intelligence, it’s possible to identify the areas where your servers are hogging the most resources. You can also set up SNMP alerts with SPM, for instant notification when servers exceed their allotted thresholds. Environmental thresholds can be established, too, so that corrective action can be taken if temperature or humidity levels spike or plummet.

One of the coolest parts about SPM is that you can use it to safely scale your power usage. For example, once you understand how certain cabinets are using power, you can then expand your operation to monitor individual “zones,” or groups , of cabinets. SPM will let you accurately predict the available resources for each zone, so that you’ll be aware of how much wriggle room you have when adding more cabinets.

Of course, using SPM you can scale even higher and understand your power usage metrics at an individual location. For instance, you may want to turn up more cabinets in a key data center located at the edge of the network. Using SPM, you will be able to see how much capacity you have in your remote infrastructure, and whether it’s a good idea to make the upgrade—or whether you need to invest in more system resources first. This data can help you avoid running into a capacity pinch.

This is particularly useful for startup operations, which are often forced to scale rapidly.

Oh, and as for our Switched PDUs? They will not only collect real-time intelligence, but they also make it possible to perform remote power toggling functions.

So it’s time to stop guessing about your data center’s power usage, and start taking a different approach —one built around real-time intelligence.

To learn more about Server Technology’s approach to data center power management, click here.  


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

 

Topics: SPM Sentry Power Manager, SPM, Switched PDU

Top Tools For Environmental Monitoring in the Data Center

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 24, 2017 8:05:00 AM

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There’s an old proverb that goes, “Trust, but verify.” This sentiment is particularly apt for data center management, where it’s vital to track every metric you can get your hands on. The need for better environmental monitoring capabilities is increasing due to increasing compute, network, and storage densities and increasing operating temperatures in the data center. Thus, keeping close watch over environmental activity in your data center, particularly when it comes to temperature, and humidity in the rack are critical to prevent disasters if left unchecked. So, what is the best way to get four or more environmental monitoring points in your cabinets?

Sounds like a complicated question, but the answer is simple: Server Technology Intelligent PDUs are enabled right out of the box with the abilities to attach environmental probes that can precisely detail environmental conditions in your data center equipment cabinets. This information is most reliable when measured external to the devices in the cabinet.

Adding the ability to monitor environmental conditions in your cabinets can help you to optimize how you cool your equipment. In fact, we’ve seen time and again that it’s well worth it. Consider this: studies have clearly shown that data centers can trim four to five percent in energy costs with each one-degree Fahrenheit increase in server inlet temperature. 

The following are tools Server Technology’s Power Strategy Experts recommend to ensure that temperature and humidity remain in check on your data center floor.

Server Technology’s Environmental Monitoring Tools

Built in Temperature and Humidity ports: Recently, ASHRAE provided thermal guidelines suggesting data centers use at least three measurement points in the equipment rack. Server Technology’s Switched and Smart PDUs ship ready to support two combo humidity/temperature probes per PDU, providing four points of measurement in the equipment rack equipped with two PDUs. 

EMCU-1-1B modules and sensors:  The EMCU is an add-on module which provides additional temperature and humidity probes, door intrusion sensors, as well as water and fluid detection. Learn more about EMCU-1-1B units here.

Sentry Power Manager: Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager software provides you with a 360-degree view of activity in your data center. One of its main strengths is the ability to report and alarm on key power and environmental information trends, including predictive trending. It also shows you multiple parameters such as power usage and temperature within the same trend.

When combined with Server Technology’s smart or switched PDUs, our Sentry Power Manager can be paired with environmental probes and monitors to give you a full view of your data center. That, in turn, gives you peace of mind and saves you a bundle both in the short term and the long run.

Want to get a live demo to see without leaving the comfort of your office and computer? Check out our SPM Solutions page or request a live demo today.

Learn More about Sentry Power Manager

Topics: SPM, ennironmental monitoring

No Room for Errors When Planning for Data Center Power Capacity

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 10, 2017 3:36:37 PM

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As a data center administrator, one of the most important parts of your job — besides maintaining uptime and staying under budget — involves monitoring and managing your department’s resources. It’s your responsibility to make sure that your data center is fully capable of meeting the current and future needs of your enterprise and its changing customer base.

Of course, capacity planning is a broad topic that extends throughout all areas of the data center. It’s important to stay on top of resources like cooling, available rack and floor space, lighting and more. But all of these resources have one underlying commonality: They need electricity to function.  So data center power usage should be a top resource to monitor.

Many businesses, however, are still using outdated and ineffective power capacity planning solutions. Paper and spreadsheets, for instance, are still widely-used throughout the industry despite being prone to error and manipulation. With this type of system in place, it’s easy to miscalculate power usage data and submit reports that are inaccurate.

This can lead to the following problems:

Wasted dollars: Data centers are highly resource-intensive, which means every dollar must be put to good use. Power must be tracked and measured, in order to ensure that the most important infrastructure is receiving adequate amounts. It’s also important to know which servers are idle and how much electricity they are consuming — especially for data centers that operate at scale.

Greenwashing: Sustainability is a hot topic in marketing today. Unilever recently released a report showing that a third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their environmental and social impact. But if you’re thinking of using your data center to bolster your company’s status as an ecologically-friendly organization, you’ll have to be able to back up your claim with accurate reports and statistics. Otherwise, your business could be labeled as a “greenwasher,” or a business that spreads disinformation to appear responsible to the public.

Here’s how you can avoid this:

There is only one way to accurately manage data center power consumption, and that is by using intelligent power distribution units (PDU) with embedded monitoring, reporting and switching functions.

Server Technology offers a variety of smart PDUs featuring High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT), which provide an industry-leading 42 C13 outlets in a single chassis. Many units also work in conjunction with the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) which is a fully-automated, Web-based power management platform.

SPM predicts future power usage with Min/Max/Average values using predictive trends and ascension rates. Using this product, you will actually be able to see the approximate time that your data center will exceed its power, capacity or temperature thresholds.

Best of all, SPM makes it easy to compile and export data center power usage reports, so that all team members can stay informed about electricity allocation. Ultimately, this creates a better sense of teamwork and collaboration while eliminating errors. The end result is a data center that runs more efficiently, cost-effectively and securely.

Learn more about how Server Technology can improve  your business’s capacity management strategy 

Topics: SPM, capacity planning, Capacity planning solution

Five Great Things You Can do with SPM

Posted by Josh Schaap on Jan 9, 2017 12:05:41 PM

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Data center power management has never been easier thanks to Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform.  SPM is a fully-automated, Web-based solution that gives operators real-time visibility into the network and the ability to switch from any location. Using SPM, operators can more effectively manage their infrastructure — be it onsite or distributed — and fast-track power and cost reductions.  

SPM works in conjunction with most of Server Technology’s intelligent data center power distribution units (PDUs) including Smart and Switched, as well as Smart POPS and Switched POPs devices. These PDUs offer various levels of control and insight into each cabinet’s electricity consumption. And it all comes together in the SPM platform, the system’s central operational hub which can be accessed from any Web interface.

Here are five great ways that you can use SPM to improve operations in your facility: 

  1. Create reports: One of SPM’s most powerful tools is its reporting feature. This solution makes it possible to schedule and run custom power scans across specific areas of the network, at any time. This is useful for tasks like finding the time of the week when your data center consumes the most power. You can drill down into any part of the network that is connected to a smart PDU and gain access to critical performance metrics. Once a scan is complete, a full report can be easily generated and exported to team members so that everyone has a thorough understanding of how the data center is consuming power. It’s a much more efficient way to generate data than by manually combing the network for information and compiling it into spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are error-prone and can can be tampered with, while SPM, in contrast, is highly secure. The platform comes with strong authentication settings to ensure that only approved individuals can access the data. Multiple users can access SPM at the same time, making it easier for employees to work together when performing maintenance.
  1. Control your environment: SPM will keep a close watch on your facility’s temperature and humidity levels, to ensure operating conditions are optimal for your setup. SPM will alert you if action needs to be taken. Also, using this technology you can safely experiment with different environmental settings to reduce total energy costs. The platform can set minimum or maximum temperature thresholds, and it can provide critical data that you can use to see if your cost reduction strategies are paying off over time.
  1. Save time during firmware upgrades: Intelligent PDUs have one small drawback: They need to be upgraded with new firmware from time to time. This process can eat up precious hours during the week. With SPM, you can schedule firmware upgrades to automatically take place during the off hours on nights and weekends, so that updates will be complete by the time the devices are needed during the week. It’s also one less task you will have to worry about!
  1. Conserve resources: In a typical data center, about 40 - 60 percent of all power goes to the cabinets. So it’s important to ensure that the energy is being used effectively, and not being wasted on things like idle servers. SPM makes it possible to ensure that power is flowing properly across the network—meaning in a balanced and organized way.
  1. Ensure rack redundancy: In the past, operators were forced to perform network stress tests to see how they would perform during unplanned outages. Servers would have to be manually shut down and rebooted. This was a time-consuming, and somewhat risky process. SPM improves this process by automatically scanning the network to ensure that all systems are functioning properly. No shutdowns are required.

Ultimately, SPM will provide peace of mind and a greater sense of security in your data center. By using SPM, you can ensure that your data center’s most important foundational resource, electricity, is being used in the best possible manner. You and your colleagues will no longer have to waste time on menial power management research. This product will free you to take on higher-level projects.  

SPM, it should be noted, is especially useful for federal agencies which now must comply with cost and power reduction mandates. Federally-owned data centers must now track the resources they use and prove they are taking measures to slash costs and become more environmentally-friendly. Server Technology’s solutions are TAA compliant, and are being actively used in many federal agencies today.

Don’t wait to improve energy efficiency in your data center.

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

Topics: SPM, Sentry Power Manager

How Much Trouble Could One Technician Cause In Your Data Center?

Posted by Josh Schaap on Oct 31, 2016 10:14:17 AM

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Just recently, eWeek ran a Halloween-themed article titled “The Data Center: Where the Stuff of Nightmares Lurks.” The article pointed out some of the darkest fears that IT professionals are facing. And one caught our attention: “The ‘Help’ Desk Tech from Hell.”

“One of my greatest fears (brought about by an actual experience) is another absolutely pitiful on-site help desk tech who completely disregards procedures and starts moving cables around on network devices trying to get one device working again, but takes down six more in the process,” the article stated.

It’s sad, but true: Help desk technicians —as well as interns and careless, or sleep-deprived IT workers — can create a great deal of trouble in the data center.

Unfortunately, we can’t do much to prevent other employees from wreaking physical havoc in your data center. We’ll leave that t you. But there is something we can prevent: Unauthorized users adjusting your switched PDU settings.

Our Sentry Power Management (SPM) system comes with strong security settings and access controls. These controls can help prevent certain individuals from logging into your switched PDUs and making critical decisions which could lead to disastrous consequences.

It may seem like a small thing, but trust us: You don’t want other people messing with your power flows. With the SPM platform from Server Technology, you can rest assured knowing that only you or trusted colleagues have the ability to adjust your switched PDU settings. So if you get sick, go on vacation, or need to trust your data center with someone who is less qualified or experienced, you will not have to worry about coming back to an unfixable mess.

For more information, click here.

 

Topics: SPM Sentry Power Manager, SPM, data center power management

Data Center Power Management: The Key To Success in Silicon Valley

Posted by Josh Schaap on Oct 24, 2016 10:57:06 AM

rpm2-01.jpgSilicon Valley remains one of the largest and most competitive data center markets in America. Right now there is a data center vacancy rate of just 8.2 percent in the region. And according to a new report, the market is expected to continue to experience further growth in the near future.

As is to be expected, rents are sky-high in Silicon Valley. So if you’re planning to open a data center in the area, you’ll have to poke around to find a deal that aligns with your budgetary needs. We recommend you look in Santa Clara, which is an up and coming area of Silicon Valley that is quickly becoming a hotbed for data centers.

Santa Clara, it should be noted, is known for its ultra-low commercial electricity rates. These rates will vary depending on your monthly power usage.

It’s important to realize, though, that it doesn’t matter what electricity rates you are paying if you lack the ability to closely monitor your daily power usage. If you’re not careful, you could easily spend more money on electricity in a month in Santa Clara than in the heart of San Francisco. 

Data centers, after all, use a phenomenal amount of power on a daily basis. And if left unchecked, power consumption can quickly spiral out of control. Just think about all of the zombie servers that are running in your data center right now, sucking up power.

The only way to stay under (or even close) to budget is to invest in a reliable data center power management solution.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever before to control your data center power usage. In the past, data center managers only had traditional power outlets. But recent strides in data center power outlet technology have greatly improved this problem.

Server Technology is one data center power management provider that has been gaining a great deal of attention recently. Server Technology’s smart and switched Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS)-enabled power distribution units provide per-outlet power measurements for data center racks. These products allow managers to track metrics like current, voltage, power (kW), apparent power, crest factor and power factor.

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They also offer the most outlets per form factor in the industry, allowing for greater cabinet densities.

Plus, Server Technology makes the data center power management process easy with its award-winning Sentry Power Manager (SPM) solution. This product centralizes power management, allowing for complete control and visibility over all intelligent data center PDUs.

Using Server Technology’s solutions, you will have a much easier time succeeding in the Silicon Valley data center market. While your competitors struggle with sky-high power bills, you will be tracking your usage and continuously optimizing your facility guided by actionable metrics.

To get started, click here.

Topics: SPM, Sentry Power Manager, PDUs, Server Technology, data center power management