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Stay Powered Blog

Use Smart PDUs to Gain Visibility Into Your Data Center

Posted by RJ Tee on Jul 31, 2017 11:25:57 AM

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We were recently approached by a C-level executive who was facing a challenge.

His company had recently acquired another organization, and was now in the process of trying to determine the best way to integrate its data center. The data center, however, was in need of a major overhaul.

A big part of the problem was the fact that the former company’s IT team had been using traditional spreadsheets to track its devices and daily power metrics. These spreadsheets were rife with errors (and possible manipulation). For example, the team discovered several network devices in the data center that did not appear in any records.


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(Need to add some bling to your power reporting?  Check this.)

As such, the team had no way of understanding the data center’s average power load — and was afraid to add or remove anything from the network out of fear of disrupting its delicate balance. At the same time, they couldn’t proceed out of fear of running into unexpected downtime or reaching network capacity.  

To improve power management in its new data center, the team implemented Server Technology’s intelligent power distribution units (PDUs), which provide a wealth of real-time data center power metrics directly from the rack level.

After implementing Server Technology’s industry-leading PDUs, the team was able to instantly understand how their facility was using energy. Now, it’s as easy as logging into the Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform and browsing the list of connected devices.

The team can now confidently make changes in its data center, and plan for future growth, knowing exactly what the output will be from an energy standpoint. The result is that they save a tremendous amount of time, energy and frustration.

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

To learn more about Server Technology, click here.

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

So, You Say Your Data Center Is Green? Prove It!

Posted by RJ Tee on Jul 10, 2017 11:50:22 AM

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Demand has never been higher for eco-friendly products and services, and this holds true across just about every vertical market today.

According to a study from Unilever, there is now a $1 trillion market opportunity for companies that can successfully explain their sustainability practices to consumers.

For many companies — particularly technology providers — the data center is a natural place to start. After all, data centers have a reputation for being notorious energy hogs, often using as much power as a small city. So businesses like to flip the script and differentiate their services by focusing on steps they are taking to become more environmentally responsible.

Here’s the catch, though: Not all businesses today can back up their eco-friendly claims. And in the eyes of consumers, this is a huge offense.

Make no mistake about it, reporting misinformation about environmental reports or strategies is called “greenwashing.” If you are found guilty of this practice, it’s a sure-fire way to draw the ire of consumers and consumer advocacy groups alike.

So if you plan on highlighting the steps that your business is taking to become more environmentally conscious, then take our advice: Back up your claims with real-time and historical data center power and environmental monitoring services. Show consumers how you are reducing energy consumption over time, so there are no questions.  Need help finding the top tools for environmental monitoring?  Check out this blog.

Server Technology offers a wide range of data center power distribution units that can help with your reporting needs. These products will pull power usage metrics directly from your racks, and make them easily exportable and shareable with other team members.

To learn more about how Server Technology can help your business prove its energy efficiency policies, click here.

Topics: SPM, Sentry Power Manager, green data center, greenwashing

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

Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Own Data Center (But Should)

Posted by Josh Schaap on Jan 12, 2017 1:19:38 PM

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Originially posted Jan 12, 2017, Updated Aug 09, 2017

This is your data center speaking. You think you know me pretty well, right? After all, you spend almost all of your time around me. Take a harder look, however, and you’ll see that there are some important things about me that you aren’t aware of! 

Ask yourself the following questions:

How many devices do I have?

Take a guess; I’ll bet you’re off by at least 15 or 20 pieces of hardware that have gotten buried while you’ve been expanding. You keep adding new components like servers, racks and switches; but you don’t monitor any of these devices in real-time. As a result, you’ve lost track and many of the devices are now sucking up power without your knowledge and steering you ever-closer to network capacity.  Learn how to find and get rid of zombie servers in this blog.

What is my ideal temperature?

I’ve been running at a cool 65 degrees ever since I was built. Did you know, however, that I am capable of safely operating at a temperature of about 15 degrees warmer? No, you didn’t, because you never experiment with different settings! If you did, you might find that you could significantly reduce your monthly expenses by raising the temperature on your cooling system.

How much power do I use on a daily basis?

You know how much you pay for electricity. But you don’t know how much power each one of your devices actually uses. A data center power monitoring solution, like the All-In-1 Solution, will provide this information, and will distribute it directly to your mobile phone—so you can see every device on your network, and how much power each one is using in real-time. So, it’s time to get to know me better. After all, I’m one of the most critical parts of your entire organization. So I suggest you check out Server Technology’s advanced line of data center monitoring products to see how you can protect me.

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

 

Topics: data center power, SPM, Sentry Power Manager