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Server Technology to Bring the Power to SDN Lab at Interop

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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?

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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.

Enhance Your Data Center PDU With These Three Accessories

 

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Purchasing a smart cabinet power distribution unit (PDU) is the first step in obtaining reliable data center power distribution and branch circuit protection. It is essential for building an efficient, eco-friendly and cost-effective facility. Now, take it a step further and enhance your PDU with these essential accessories that Server Techology has to offer:

Environmental monitoring: Power consumption isn’t the only thing you should be observing in your data center. Temperature and humidity can make or break the performance of your network infrastructure. Server Technology’s temperature and humidity probe uses built-in firmware in cabinet PDUs to provide alerts in the event those environmental conditions begin to become an issue. The environmental monitoring solution provides you with the data necessary to address system problems before they can lead to overheating or a power failure.

ST Eye: You are rarely in front of your desk during the day; instead, you are moving among your data center, the executive suite and the business floor. With the ST Eye, an app that transmits power, system and environmental data straight to your mobile device, you will stay connected and receive alerts from your cabinet PDUs wherever you are in the building. This means you will never have to worry about missing critical alerts when they arise.

Cord retention: Cable management is still one of the biggest headaches that IT operators struggle to overcome. Cables can become bunched up, mixed up and uplugged. Server Technology provides locking cables, latches, cord sleeves and cable retention clips to make it easier to store cables and prevent mishaps from occurring. 

Is My Data Center Too Hot?

 

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We’ve reached that point in the year when, in an effort to combat steep cooling costs, IT managers start toying with the idea of changing the temperature in their data centers. But is this a wise decision?

As it turns out, it’s safe enough to be backed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which now recommends network professionals raise data center temperatures from the recommended 72 degrees to as much as 80 degrees. The association claims that for every degree you raise your data center, you will save 4 to 5 percent in energy costs.

Right now, however, an overwhelming 47 percent of data center managers keep their data center between 71 and 75 degrees. Only 7 percent claim their average server supply air temperature is above 75 degrees.

Ultimately the decision as to how cool your data center should be is up to you. You could play it conservative and pay more in electricity, or you could test your equipment and potentially save some valuable resources in your data center like water, energy and money. In either case, you should always know exactly what temperature it is in your data center. And data center environmental monitoring devices will allow you to do this.

Server Technology’s data center power monitoring software can provide critical information about the temperature and humidity of your data center. This will give you the ability to benchmark progress and understand exactly how your equipment operates under different climatic conditions. This solution, when coupled with a smart power meter, will give you the equipment you need to experiment with temperature safely and accurately.

Click here to learn more about Server Technology’s environmental monitoring equipment. 

Don't Let Your Data Center Get Caught in a Power Pinch

 

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In a data center, power-usage problems can sneak up just like old age. It’s hard to spot long-term consumption issues when adding equipment and applications to your data center on a day-to-day basis. You might add a server here or an application there and not really think much about the bigger picture. Then, you run out of capacity, and problems such as network outages begin to arise.

The key is to avert a power-capacity pinch before it happens through proactive data center power monitoring. By taking this approach using real-time and long-term predictive analysis, data center operators can gain a clear view of the impact to their data center power supply before they install a new piece of network hardware.

Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM), the 2014 DCS Data Center Management Product of the Year, is one solution that can provide this level of insight. SPM uses two different time parameters to anticipate future power usage, so technicians can be advised when more resources are needed ahead of time. The system also uses email notification to show where problems might occur in the network.

If left unchecked, the costs of an unplanned network outage can be devastating. Research shows that just one minute of data center downtime can cost as much as $7,900 on average. Most organizations simply don’t have the resources to recover from such a disaster. Instead of waiting for a power pinch in your network, click here to learn how Server Technology can help you stay ahead of the curve. 

How Quickly Can You Diagnose Problems in Your Data Center

 

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Picture this: you go on break believing that everything is fine with your data center. An hour later, you come back to chaos- the network is down and nobody knows why.

What is your plan for this type of emergency? How will you go about fixing the problem? Has your team even previously agreed on a charter to rectify the situation in a step-by-step process? Unfortunately, every second that you waste is lost revenue, data and, most likely, customers. What you need is a plan in place so that you can spring into action and resolve the problem.

One of the most crucial steps in getting your data center up and running again is your ability to quickly observe your network and find out the power levels of your equipment. You need to be able to glance at a single interface and see a working map of hardware in real time in order to bring your network back up to a working order.

With a data center power monitoring solution, you can measure and manage your power levels so that you can find out the exact location of a power failure almost instantly, in real time. Automated cabinet-redundancy status will also ensure cabinet redundancy in the event of a power loss, which will provide statistics and reporting in a bar graph form. You will also gain access to visibility indicating whether any additional space is left in cabinets for re-allocating data during the recovery process. 

For more information about how Server Technology can make this happen in your data center, please click here

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