Contact Us

Subscribe via E-mail

Your email:

Follow Me

Data Center Power Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

NASA Exploring Options for a More Energy Efficient Data Center

 

nasa

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is currently looking for ways to make its data center at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) more energy efficient. The administration recently released an official request for information as it looks to devise a short-term solution, a transitional solution, and one that will support its long-term energy goals.

The request for information indicates that NASA is looking to invest in the following power management options, in addition to other data center solutions:

• Transformer-free UPS
• Power distribution units (PDU)
• Remote power monitoring at the rack level
• Server utilization solutions

Why is NASA exploring ways of becoming more energy efficient? The decision to investigate data center power-saving strategies is part of the Federal Data Centers Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI), which was established in February 2010 to combat unsustainable data center growth. The FDCCI aims to reduce the cost of data center software, hardware and operations. To accomplish this, it asked agencies to consolidate at least 800 data centers by 2015. The purpose is to drive cost savings and sustainability efforts and increase security in data center environments.

Here at Server Technology, we support the FDCCI and believe that every organization has a responsibility to consolidate and optimize data center operations. And we have all of the equipment that you need to consolidate your data center. Our PDUs and first-class power management software will give you the ability to monitor your power consumption and save valuable resources, including rack space. So you can grow your data center and go green at the same time.

Click here to read our new industry brief titled “Density in the Data Center” and learn how you can consolidate your data center and drive efficiencies with new high-density outlet technology.

Responsible Energy Consumption Is Now Everyone’s Priority

 

camel california

Picture credit: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101958039#.

The current drought in California is getting so bad that the California Water Foundation has proposed changing the featured animal on the state’s flag from a bear to a camel. The three-year drought has devastated the environment, and experts believe that the disastrous effects could last a full decade. The state recently announced that 17 of its rural communities are within 100 days of running out of drinking water. Despite all these dire water-related outcomes, data centers continue to pump out massive amounts of water and energy on a daily basis to cool and power their networks.

If we want to end the current water shortage that is engulfing the Southwest portion of the U.S., business leaders need to take a more active role in curbing the amount of energy they consume. But here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be a painful process. Reducing power consumption in your data center can save you money, and it comes with many different green initiatives. And with the right technology, you can increase efficiencies and gain more visibility into how your network operates—all with small capital and operational expenditures.

Server Technology is one company that can help you run a greener data center. Its Sentry Power Manager solution provides real-time power measuring, monitoring and reporting tools that your business can use to understand how each amp of energy is used. With the Sentry Power Manager, your business can improve uptime, plan ahead for future growth and get the most out of your data center equipment.

Click here to download a free demo of the Sentry Power Manager.

Introducing Fast Movers with Server Technology

 

FM blog img 600x354 resized 600

What are Server Technology Fast Movers? With a 30-year legacy, our desire to meet our customers' ever changing data center power distribution requirements resulted in thousands of designs across multiple product lines. Sorting through this dizzying array to find that right one for your needs is like car shopping. Do I want a base model or tons of features? A compact or full-size? 2WD, AWD or 4WD? Colors? To help relieve some of that anxiety, our product managers identified the Fast Movers consisting of not just popular PDUs, but units with quick turnaround, typically shipping in 2-5 days, and you still get to pick your color.

Where do you find these STI Fast Movers? As you browse through our Products, look for the FM badge on the lower left-hand corner. These Fast Movers are some of our most popular designs and used by some of the industries' most recognized names.

Not finding what you are looking for? Server Technology has thousands of other possible PDU designs available. Still not finding what you are looking for? Try building your own PDU with the Server Technology Build-Your-Own HDOT configurator where you will be able to, well…build your own Smart PDU.

Successful SDN Migration Needs a Reliable Power Monitoring Solution

 

SDNLab header2

How safe is software-defined networking (SDN) for data centers? Here at Server Technology, your source for data center power monitoring solutions, we hear this question a lot. Our response is that it would be unwise to invest in such a new and emerging technology without the ability to ensure safe and responsible power distribution throughout its life cycle, from installation to when it’s time to scale.

SDN, like many other emerging technologies currently being considered for use in data centers, has the ability to facilitate cost savings by driving network efficiencies. As the technology allows for the physical separation of the control plane from the forwarding plane on a network, the network becomes more agile, easier to program and control. So, by this means, SDN allows the network infrastructure to be abstracted and capable of hosting services and applications using the OpenFlow protocol.

But achieving a carrier-grade network through SDN does not come without its share of risks. There are many concerns about SDN, which will be addressed in the SDN Lab at the upcoming Interop New York Conference (Oct. 1-2 at the Javits Center). The purpose of the lab is to ascertain whether SDN, a technology that is still in its nascent stage, is ready for full-scale use at the enterprise level. Right now there are many concerns about SDN performance, security, interoperability and scalability. To ensure continuous energy for the experiments at Interop, Server Technology has been tasked with providing power monitoring throughout the expo.

One SDN concern to be addressed by the lab is power draw. For capacity planning, operators need to see SDN power draw in real time and whether system crashes can be avoided. 

Server Technology’s data center power monitoring solutions, which include data collection management, power measuring and device-level management, make it possible to gain a crystal-clear view of how every piece of software and hardware interact in the data center. If you are considering installing SDN, or other new technologies, click here to learn more about how Server Technology can provide your business with the critical oversight necessary for ensuring a safe migration.  

Server Technology to Bring the Power to SDN Lab at Interop

 

iny14 210x60 seeusat

On Oct. 1-2, New York City’s Javits Center will host the much anticipated Interop expo, a premier convention where network professionals will come to test and showcase the latest business-driving technologies. And this year, all eyes will be on Interop’s Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Lab, a purpose-built lab designed to test open source SDN software, as well as vendor-specific SDN systems and applications. Its purpose will be to ask the question of whether SDN is reliable enough to drive data center efficiencies.

As a complex multivendor standards-based testing facility, Interop’s SDN Lab presents a challenge to vendors that require constant and reliable power distribution. In order to freely experiment with bleeding-edge technologies, vendors need a way of ensuring that they will not overload circuits and cause outages—a problem that if unchecked could have disastrous consequences for the entire expo.

Server Technology, a longtime power monitoring and distribution provider for Interop, is proud to announce that it has been selected to provide essential power distribution services for the SDN Lab as it tests the interoperability of SDN products and demonstrates how they can be used in a variety of different environments.

Server Technology’s power monitoring software will provide necessary oversight as network professionals experiment with changing workloads and conditions, route various amounts of traffic to devices, and integrate applications and network resources using APIs and controllers. In so doing, Server Technology will prove how power monitoring is absolutely essential for companies looking to experiment with new technologies. 

Click here to learn more about the equipment that Server Technology will use to power the SDN Lab at Interop New York. 

Are you Expanding Your Data Center? Read This First

 

presents

Christmas came early in your data center this year. You got a budget increase. Right now you are probably feeling like a kid in a candy shop as you eye new servers, routers and switches and plan exactly how you want to expand your facility.

But hold your horses and stop for a minute before you make any big purchases. Sure, right now your IT department has the money to expand its network infrastructure. But will it still have the money to support it next year? Or the year after?

Unfortunately, many IT managers fail to take capacity planning into account when expanding their facilities. And they don’t realize it until they run out of room and need to compensate by purchasing extra storage space or power—which comes at a premium—when they get into trouble.

So, if you are looking to expand your facility, we encourage you to look into a way that you can monitor your data center power consumption at all times. It’s all about having access to previous energy history, current draw and anticipated future power consumption levels. This way, you can spot a capacity shortage before it happens and save the headache of having to deal with it.

Server Technology, a supplier of data center power monitoring solutions, can provide your organization with smart and metered power distribution units that can provide you with everything you need to know about how your facility uses power. With this information, you can confidently expand your operation and grow your business. Click here for more information. 

Power Management Solutions for a Mobile World

 

ST Eye Logo Android 250

You’re installing a new piece of IT equipment into a rack, and you need access to critical information from your power distribution unit (PDU) so as not to overload the system. Unfortunately, it’s well over 100 degrees in your data center, which is very uncomfortable. Isn’t there another way to obtain the data without having to be around the equipment?

As it turns out, there is. The trick is to invest in a mobile power distribution monitoring solution that will stream data directly to your cell phone. Instead of having to manually extract information from hot, uncomfortable servers or locked areas of your facility, a mobile solution will grant you easy access to critical information right over the interface of a tablet or smartphone.

Server Technology is pioneering this technology with its ST Eye Bluetooth mobile application, which allows you to monitor critical POPS, PIPS and PDU environmental data on any mobile device. All you have to do is connect to your wireless network and the app will stream information without linking to a physical device. By simply logging into the PDU through a secure Web interface, you can obtain access to any cabinet in your data center.

This affordable solution gives data center operators the ability to carry around their mission-critical power information wherever they go. From the boardroom to the lunchroom, the ST EYE allows end users to be constantly connected to the data center power supply. Click here to read the application note and learn more about it. 


SPM Guides You Forward : Part Five - What happened?

 

alg resize titanic sinks jpg resized 600

 

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts providing tips and tricks for answering common data center questions with the use of SPM. In my last post, I gave some guidance on answering, “How do I prove power system redundancy?” Though uptime is of prime concern, there will occasionally be outages at some level of the power chain which leave us scratching our heads.

Question: What happened to cause this outage?

Depending upon who you ask, anywhere from 40% to 80% of outages are caused by “human error”. Of course, there is wide variation in the definitions of “outage” and “human error”, but the point is that power outages caused by human error are presumed to be correctable and preventable.

  1. Before you worry about the details of what happened, you must have received notification that something of negative impact did occur. SPM brings these alerts to you in the form of emails.
    1. Meaningful alerts start with naming the components and sub-components of a system appropriately based on connections with other equipment and physical location or relevance. SPM allows access into the depths of the Server Technology CDU for convenient naming of infeed power connections, outlets to rack devices, and environmental sensors. Additionally, groupings of outlets and racks/infeeds allows for larger scale organization of equipment.
    2. The alerts are, of course, based on thresholds that describe the in-bound / out-of-bound conditions of particular power and environmental measurements. These are best set with the culture of the organization in mind. That is, set them initially lax or tight based on whether it is better to receive under-alerting or over-alerting. Then, most importantly, review those threshold levels on a regular basis to keep your system in tune with the organizational goals.
    3. Finally, SPM will provide its alerting through email. Be sure to set these to send to the right personnel, and only the right personnel.
  2. Once you get that alert, it then becomes incumbent upon you to identify what led up to the condition of concern. SPM provides trending and reporting of all critical values for these purposes.
    1. Create meaningful trends within SPM to display the critical power and environmental parameters. The trending configurator allows for multiple point metrics, overlaying of time periods, and overlaying of different types of metrics such as temperature with power.
    2. Once an event has occurred, it can be quite useful to keep a close eye on that particular section of the data center or particular equipment. SPM’s built-in live-updating Views configurator will allow each user, no matter their responsibility to see what is happening in the data center while performing their everyday tasks.
    3. Continuing on the proactive discussion, any trends and reports you build for understanding recent events can be, in turn, set to a scheduled email to keep you informed of conditions that may be approaching alert again.
  3. Returning to the concept that most downtime in the data center is due to human error, an analysis of what happened leads to the question of “who did what?” and “what can we do better?”
    1. The first step to accountability and traceability is to assign appropriate user rights to personnel interacting with SPM. Authentication can be setup using LDAP(S) or TACACS+ like most other network software. Additionally, setup user rights within SPM to be sure that only the right people have access to make changes to the system or to control CDU outlets or configurations.
    2. When an alert occurs that could be personnel related, be sure to check the SPM logs for event details and times.
    3. Finally, SPM can help avoid certain personnel errors through scheduling maintenance outlet control actions. This can be particularly useful when the desire is to be sure that certain equipment is powered up at particular times.

Though your data center may be designed to Tier IV, and your personnel and processes proactively optimized, downtime will happen at some time at some level in the power chain. It becomes incumbent upon the responsible personnel to find out “What happened?” to cause the outage. SPM helps find the answers. For more information on troubleshooting using SPM, contact our technical staff at support@servertech.com.

Upgrade Your Power Distribution With HDOT Alt. Phase PDUs

 

describe the image

Challenge:

Right now data center power consumption is on the rise in North America, as the number of racks increased by 9.1 percent in Canada and 4.3 percent in the U.S. in 2013. All signs are showing this trend continuing through 2014 and beyond as data centers standardize on high-density equipment to achieve more processing power in a smaller space.

As power requirements increase, data center managers everywhere are looking for ways to deliver more power to the computer cabinet in a cost-effective way. One way they are accomplishing this is by upgrading their power distribution systems from single phase to three phase.

Why are three phase systems more cost efficient? A single phase power cord contains three wires. A three-phase delta power cord contains four wires. For that one additional wire, three phase delta delivers 52% more power than single phase. But it doesn’t come without risks.

Thankfully, Server Technology makes it easy and risk-free for you to migrate to three phase power distribution with its new line of alternating phase power distribution units (PDU).  These PDU’s alternate the phase pairs on a per-outlet basis instead of a per branch basis.

In addition, Server Technology has incorporated its patented High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT) into the Alternating Phase PDU’s, resulting in the maximum achievable number of outlets in the smallest form factor PDU. This provides the utmost flexibility when it comes to supporting the myriad array of IT equipment in the rack.

Here are some major benefits HDOT Alternating Phase PDUs can provide:  

Phase Balancing simplified:  The inherent design of Server Technology’s Alternating Phase PDUs simplifies the task of balancing equipment loads across the multiple branches of the PDU.  The alternating phase outlet arrangement allows a simple ‘top down’ deployment of the equipment connections to the PDU, resulting in minimal cord runs, which de-clutters the back of the rack and improves air flow.

Less chance of power overload:  Unbalanced branches can result in a circuit breaker trip during a fail over event. Alternating phase PDU’s minimize the chance of running with unbalanced loads due to the ease of balancing. 

Data Center Power Efficiency:  Large Phase imbalances in the data center can lead to voltage and current distortions on the individual phases, increased heat dissipation, and reduced equipment life. Phase balancing in the data center starts at the PDU.  Alternating Phase PDU’s simplify the phase balancing challenge.

More Outlets in a Smaller Space: Taller racks with smaller footprints push the need for smaller, denser PDU’s. Server Technology’s (HDOT) provides the highest outlet density of any network PDU on the market.     

 

Want to learn more? Click here to read the Server Technology white paper.

The Secret to Safe, Affordable Three Phase Power Distribution

 

landing page image   altphase 01

Up until now, you were able to power your servers and applications using a 30A single phase, 208V power distribution unit (PDU) that contained two 20A circuit breakers. This power cord feeding this PDU contained two power wires and a ground wire. In order to properly distribute 30A of power without overloading any branch, you needed two 20A branches with an equal quantity of outlets per branch.

But now, you are investing in denser applications that require more power. To achieve this power density, you are considering upgrading your cabinet power feeds to three-phase distribution and 60A service. Doing so will increase your power availability from 5kW to 17.2 kW, but it will also require tripling the number of branches in your PDU from two to six.  

When utilizing a three-phase six branch PDU, balancing your loads evenly across the six branches is very important so as not to overload a single branch. In addition, as outlined in a recent Server Technology white paper, equally loading all three phases in the data center will result in the highest power usage efficiency, minimizing heat in your cable runs, as well decreasing the likelihood of tripping an upstream circuit breaker.

Traditional PDU’s have branches bunched together in groups along the length of the device, requiring a multitude of different cable lengths from the PDU to the equipment to achieve balanced loads.  This scenario typically results in a large amount of cable in the back of the cabinet which subsequently inhibits air flow increasing heat, and shortening equipment life.

You can overcome these challenges by using an alternating phase PDU from Server Technology.  In alternating phase PDU’s, the six branches are distributed on an outlet by outlet basis instead of grouped together in six discreet zones.  This results in shorter power cords between the rack equipment and PDU, resulting in a cleaner cable structure and maximum air flow.  Assembly also becomes faster and easier, as the installer typically just needs to connect the equipment to the nearest outlet, and the branches inherently balance.  

Are you ready to increase your power flow, safely, efficiently and affordably? Click here to view Server Technology’s complete line of alternating phase PDUs.

All Posts