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Make Your Data Center More Efficient With a Smart PDU



Does the thought of having to make your data center “greener” make you want to run and hide due to the effort and costs involved? If so, here’s the good news: It’s easier and more affordable than ever to make your data center environmentally friendly thanks to recent advents in data center power monitoring solutions.

One of the best solutions on the market right now is a smart power distribution unit (PDU). A smart PDU is a network device that contains multiple outputs for distributing power to racks and servers throughout a data center. But unlike basic PDUs, or “power strips” as they are commonly known, smart PDUs come with the ability to transmit data center power metrics directly to mobile devices throughout the enterprise. They are easy and affordable additions to your data center that require little CAPEX or OPEX.

Here are two great benefits of using Server Technology’s smart PDUs in your data center:  

Reduced energy consumption: Investing in a smart PDU will give your data center the ability to identify specific devices that are sucking up energy. For instance, you might have several idle servers that are draining power even though they are not being used. Smart PDUs will provide real-time and advanced reports so you can make sure every kilowatt of energy is being put to proper use in your facility.

Monitoring of your data center environment: Smart PDUs come with the ability to report on critical temperature and humidity data. So, if an air conditioning unit or cooling fixture breaks, you can be alerted about temperature spikes before equipment overheats and fails—or a fire breaks out in your cabinet. Smart PDUs will also allow you to experiment with different cooling temperatures, which could allow you to rely less on cooling systems.

Want to learn more about Server Technology’s line of smart PDUs? Click here for more information.

Don't Ignore These Important Regulatory Power Changes


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During the past several months, the U.S. power sector has been in a state of flux as several important changes have arisen that will directly impact the way you do business. Here are three of the most notable updates:

Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS): Back in April, the MATS ruling came under fire from industry leaders, state government officials and environmental lobby groups who were concerned that the decision to impose standards on the coal power industry would drive up electricity prices and thus damage the industry. However, the ruling was upheld, meaning that plants that use coal still have just until April 15, 2015, to meet specific emission limits for particulate matter, mercury and acid gasses.

Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG): The EPA in June proposed President Obama’s Clean Power Plan to Congress, which proposes state-specific goals and rates for emissions reduction. The Clean Power Plan is seeking to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector by 30 percent of its 2005 levels through 2030.

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court also granted the EPA the ability to regulate GHGs through the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Deterioration permit program. Now, the EPA can ask permit-requiring sources to use GHG Best Available Control Technology (BACT).

Cooling water rule: On August 15, the EPA finalized rule 316(b) of the Clean Water Act, which requires facilities that consume more than 2 million gallons per day of U.S. water and use 25 percent of the water they withdraw employ low-cost compliance options and take action to reduce fish entrainment and impingement. 

U.S. Data Center Power Usage Is on the Rise


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Data center managers across the U.S. are facing a difficult challenge: IT budgets are shrinking, yet the demand for fast and efficient data processing is increasing.

Faced with limited resources, many IT managers are now trying to save valuable floor space and increase hardware efficiencies by increasing rack density as much as possible. This means that more power is being distributed to individual racks. About 10 years ago, for instance, the average U.S. data center rack used about 1 kW to 2 kW of power. Now, that rate is hovering between 4 kW and 5 kW per rack. And in some data-intensive operations that use heavy amounts of big data and employ new technologies like blade servers and virtualization, this number can skyrocket to anywhere between 10 kW and 20 kW of power.

While the practice of increasing rack density saves money by reducing the total amount of servers in use at once, it can also lead to problems if not closely monitored. First and foremost, denser racks require more cooling. Low-density operations have more airflow at their disposal, since equipment is often spread out. But stacking servers on top of one another in a dense environment generates large amounts of heat, which can drive up the cost of cooling considerably.

The demand for more rack power is also causing many data center managers to switch to three-phase power distribution. And while this provides greater wattage, it also comes with the need to balance individual phases to prevent overloading. Overloading servers can lead to expensive outages, damaged servers and wasted electricity.

Chances are, your business is looking to save money and increase efficiency in its data center. But if you want to avoid the aforementioned risks when incorporating new technology, look into an alternating three-phase power distribution and monitoring solution to do it safely and effectively.

Where in the World is Server Technology This Fall?


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It’s been busy here at Server Technology over the past several months, as we recently unveiled our new alternating-phase data center power distribution unit as well as the Fast Movers service for distributing popular products more quickly. And now, fresh off of our recent assignment to power the SDN Lab at Interop New York, we are looking to carry our momentum forward into autumn with a busy lineup of planned events.  

Here is a look at where you can find us during the next few months:

Datacenter Dynamics (DCD): We will be attending several exciting DCD conferences this fall.  Server Technology will be represented in Amsterdam (Oct. 15), Toronto (Nov. 6) and London (Nov. 19-20). We also plan on attending the March 11 DCD conference in New York. As the world’s premier peer-led data center conference series, DCD will provide direct access to global business leaders and international data center experts.

7 x 24 Exchange: On Oct. 26, we will be headed to the 7 x 24 Exchange in Phoenix, the go-to conference for mission-critical data centers that cannot afford any downtime. We are very excited to showcase how our data center power distribution and monitoring technology can help ensure constant power to the rack, preventing costly outages.

Data Center World:  At the same time as the 7 x 24 Exchange, we will be in Frankfurt, Germany, for the highly anticipated Data Centre World conference. This show will help us explore the exciting German data center market, where overall capacity is expected to grow in by 30,000 square meters over the next year.

Data Center World and Cloud Expo Asia: The world tour continues after Germany, as Server Technology will head east to Singapore for Data Center World and Cloud Expo Asia, October 29 to 30.  

We hope to see you at these exciting events!



Clean Energy Poised for Growth in the US


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Rising fuel prices and tensions in the Middle East are causing business leaders everywhere to search for alternative fuel options. Just look at the recent decision by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to divest its oil interests and make the switch to clean energy. It’s clear that the world is moving in a different direction from fossil fuels, and this includes data centers.  

You might be exploring solar or wind energy as viable options for powering your data center. These options are becoming more affordable and easy to access than ever before, especially in states that support energy deregulation. So, if you have the option to choose your power provider, you should definitely be exploring these enticing, low-cost fuel alternatives. This is especially true when considering just how much power your data center uses annually. Making a switch to a clean energy source could have a dramatic impact on your local community and the environment as a whole. And it could have a big impact on your bottom line, too, as alternative energy is less expensive.

To reap the benefits of an alternative energy solution, you still need to monitor exactly how much energy your data center is using. So if you’re considering going green, make sure to invest in a reliable data center power monitoring and management solution that will provide you with real-time information about your available power levels. This will help you better control power as it streams into your facility. And it will give you the peace of mind to explore green options knowing you have total visibility into the most critical component of your data center: its power supply.


You Can't Really Go Green Without Benchmarking Progress


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Right now, the data center industry is focused on increasing energy efficiency and reducing waste. These are very important goals, as we’re reaching a critical point where energy prices are rising, environmental concerns are multiplying and government pressure for responsible power usage is increasing.

So chances are your data center is looking for ways of joining the environmental movement and going green. But here’s the reality: Unless you have a viable method of charting your progress and actively benchmarking your energy reduction goals, there will be no way of truly charting your consumption and proving that your business is in compliance with state or federal mandates. Your data center needs hard evidence to show that it is doing its part to become a greener operation.

A data center is a complex entity filled with many different components. And the only way to properly account for every amp of energy you use is with a reliable data center power management system.

 A data center power management system from Server Technology will give you the ability to manage all of your power distribution units from a single dashboard. You will receive metrics about your power consumption in real time, and you will also receive access to reports that will give you an in-depth look at previous daily, weekly, monthly or yearly usage. Using this software, your IT technicians can analyze the information and make necessary changes to improve its energy consumption—and prevent making unnecessary decisions or purchases, too.

Click here to use a free virtual trial version of the Sentry Power Manager from Server Technology. 

The Challenges of Implementing a Power-Dense Data Center


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Data center technicians across a swath of verticals are increasingly focused on expanding cabinet density. This need for expansion is being driven largely by the need to reduce capital and operational expenditures, improve energy efficiency and reduce latency.

But as outlined in a recent Server Technology white paper titled “Density in the Data Center,” increasing cabinet density does not come without its share of challenges. Here are a few:

Phase balancing: Heavier server workloads can lead to dramatic fluctuations in server power demand, which can make load balancing very hard to manage. This can lead to energy inefficiency and higher electric bills.

Complexity: Whether you are using a SAN or a NAS for virtual storage, or if you are engaging in SDN, your supporting systems need to be constantly monitored to ensure adequate performance. You don’t want to guess when it comes to the performance of your network infrastructure.

Power consumption: In order to support a higher-density operation, higher voltages and currents are needed, such as 208V three-phase alternating 60A circuits. Due to the fact that power comes at a premium price these days, your consumption needs to be monitored.

There is also less room for server error in a high-density environment. For example, a problem like thermal runaway can lead to a rapid increase in temperature which can destroy sensitive equipment. Other issues include configuration management, idle and unused servers, and heavy capital expenditure.

The good news is that these challenges, though numerous, are not insurmountable. Using Server Technology’s high-density outlet technology (HDOT), which provides safe and reliable power distribution as well as a variety of smart and metered power and environmental monitoring capabilities, you can confidently condense your hardware and run a more powerful operation.

Click here to take a deep dive into the Server Technology white paper and learn more about how HDOT can help you migrate to a denser data center.

Need More Rack Space? An HDOT Solution Can Help


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Your business is no longer looking for more floor space in its data center. Now, cabinet space is becoming your biggest need as you increase your rack densities and add more servers.

If you are engaged in this practice, you will likely save valuable space and money. But you could also run into the following problems:

•      Cable load: Adding more servers to your racks will mean adding more cables. These cables can become tangled and damaged if not properly managed. It could also lead to a lack of airflow due to their bulky nature. Keep in mind that servers will get very hot, and airflow is critical for maintaining a safe temperature.

•      Network capacity: Adding more servers and engaging in virtualization will tax your network capacity, which could sneak up on you and lead to major costs down the road if you are not careful. Always be mindful of the fact that with each server you add to your data center, you will get closer to reaching your power and data storage ceiling.

Fortunately, there is a solution: high-density outlet technology (HDOT) from Server Technology. This solution packs more outlets into a single power distribution unit and also cuts down on the excessive amount of plastic material that is typically used in most power outlets. It is completely customizable to fit the exact needs of your rack, and can even be stored conveniently on top of your racks. This means you can invest in shorter cables that are easier to store and less prone to blocking up airflow into your servers.

HDOT technology also comes with the ability to monitor your outlet usage in real time, so you can understand exactly how much power and network capacity you have remaining at your disposal. Click here for more information about how Server Technology can help you gain more rack space in a safe, efficient and affordable way.

Could Your Data Center Handle a Long-Term Power Outage?



How long could your data center continue operating following a major power shortage? It’s not an easy question to answer, but doing so could be one of the most important things you accomplish in the process of protecting your facility and ensuring uptime in the event of a disaster. Unfortunately, many data centers do not have a comprehensive response to the challenges that would ensue from a major power outage.  

Suppose, for instance, something were to happen to the U.S. power grid and your facility was left without electricity for several days. If unprepared, your business could experience irreversible data loss, as well as other critical problems like damaged equipment or facilities. But with the right technology in place, your business could stay up and running using backup power and spare fuel.

So, what can you do to protect your data center? First and foremost, you need to diversify your fuel delivery sources. Investing in more than one company for fuel delivery is essential, as a disaster could happen at any point along your supply chain. Something as simple as a route blockage or a shortage of supplies could leave your data center in a pinch. Best practices, therefore, call for partnering with several fuel delivery providers.

As important as it is to diversify your fuel delivery options and invest in a backup power supply, it’s also important to understand exactly how your network is using energy in real time. This will be critical for transferring data to conserve power, and for understanding how much time you have left before your power reaches capacity.

Click here for more information about how Server Technology can keep your organization prepared with its data center power monitoring tools.

Want to Reduce Your Power Consumption? Optimize Your Server Workloads


A view of the server room at The National Archives

You’re looking for ways to reduce your environmental impact and save money in your data center. Have you considered prioritizing your server workloads? This is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of reducing power consumption without having to replace your network equipment. Here are some ways that you can optimize your data storage to create a greener and more efficient network:

Only run core workloads: Power down servers not in use. For instance, turn off equipment that is not essential for customer service, and automate servers to go on when they are needed instead of idling during much of the day. In other words, think about what services are absolutely essential and avoid running excessive amounts of programs unless they are needed

Consolidate your servers: Instead of using many different servers, try consolidating more data onto less equipment through the process of virtualization. This will help reduce the cost of cooling equipment, and will make your data center easier to manage.

Migrate to new hardware: Make sure you are using the latest network hardware—like servers, switches and routers—in your data center. Newer equipment tends to be more energy efficient than older network hardware.

Benchmark your progress: Invest in a data center power-saving solution like a smart or metered power distribution unit. This way, you can measure your total energy consumption in real time or over time to see whether your optimization processes are conserving power.

Do you have any techniques for reducing server workloads and saving energy in your data center? Tell us in the comments section below! 

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