header-about-us-sub

Rack PDU Power Rating vs. Load Capacity

datacenter45

Understanding Power Rating and Load Capacity for PDUs

A PDU (Power Distribution Unit) is an electrical component that distributes power to multiple devices in computer data centers and high energy use areas.Able to handle more energy than ordinary power strips, PDUs can easily power multiple equipment racks. However, choosing the right PDU requires understanding power ratings and load capacity, as well as knowing the power requirements necessary to run the specific devices.

What Are Power Ratings?

A power rating is the amount of electrical power needed to operate a specific device. Ratings are expressed in amps, volts and watts to reflect power usage requirements. Amps, or amperes, reflect the actual electrical current coming through the power lines. Power distribution units are designed to support a specific number of amps or amount of electrical currents. Volts refer to the pressure that moves the amps along a specified path (cable, cord or line). Standard electrical plugs in the United States have voltage ratings of 110 and 120, which is the maximum amount of power they can handle. Watts represent the actual electrical power that a network switch, server or other device uses.

What Is Load Capacity?

Load capacity refers to the maximum amount of power required to operate a specific device. In a data center where a power distribution unit supports an entire rack of equipment, the PDU must provide the minimum amount of power needed to support the rack’s load. To avoid circuit overload and fire risk, the load capacity for circuits in North America is 80 percent of that circuit’s maximum capacity. For example, a 15 amp circuit has a maximum load capacity of 12 amps. The 80 percent value is the load capacity.

Selecting a PDU

When choosing a rack power distribution unit, there are several key elements to keep in mind:

  • Type and number of outlets needed on the PDU and types of plugs on devices.
  • Power rating and power requirement of devices to be supported by the PDU.
  • Infrastructure voltage (in North America 120V and 208V single phase, 208V three phase or 400V three phase).
  • Determine circuits, phase and amperage needed to power the rack of equipment.
  • Decide if switching and metering is required.

 

Review PDU installation options

Establish what, if any, additional features are needed.

The most vital part of choosing a PDU for a data center is understanding power rating and load capacity. It could mean the difference between overloaded circuits and down time and increased productivity and profits.

Posted in Power Distribution Unit | Comments Off

What DCIM Tools? You Mean Spreadsheets and Tape Measure?

DCIM

DCIM Tools: Beyond Spreadsheets and Tape Measure

Data centers aretraditionally made up of two distinct components: IT and facilities. IT is responsiblefor the servers and devices located in the racks, as well as the applications installed on those devices and the management of the devices themselves. Facilities is responsible for physical security, environment, power, lighting, cabling, plumbing and other site management concerns. In the past, each group worked independently of the other and utilized separate software systems to manage their areas. However, that is no longer the case. DCIM tools are designed to integrate IT and facilities management with one software solution that incorporates asset and inventory management, operations management and power configuration and monitoring.

Asset and Inventory Management

The asset and inventory management component oversees every physical piece in the center, as well as provides the following tools to help effectively utilize information:

  • Workflow management
  • Change planning
  • Capacity planning
  • Power consumption and efficiency
  • Power planning
  • Energy cost
  • Heating, cooling and ventilation planning
  • Performance over time

 

By providing a long-term view of data center resources and performance, this feature will be extremely useful in planning future power, space and asset needs.

Operations and Management

This DCIM tool allows for the creation of live statistics and live monitoring of every device in the center, in particular, the following:

  • Power
  • Cooling
  • Security
  • Environment

 

These features, along with a live map of equipment placement in the data center, alarm and threshold management, provide a convenient and effective means of troubleshooting a multitude of different problems that can ultimately minimize downtime.

Power Configuration and Monitoring

With power configuration and monitoring tools, data center managers are able to monitor and report on the center’s complete power path from how the power comes into the center to how it is distributed to its current status. Constant, real-time monitoring of the power path means that failure along any point of the path can be more easily located and quickly repaired. Immediate identification of power issues reduces the risk to other devices along that specific path. Real-time problem identification leads to real-time problem mitigation.

All of these components and the tools within them are able to communicate between one another. This allows data to be analyzed on many levels and in many configurations, which ultimately leads to better data center management from both an IT and a facilities perspective. The ability to custom design Data Center Infrastructure Management solutions means systems can be created to meet the specific needs of individual data centers.

Posted in Data Center Infrastructure Management, DCIM | Comments Off

The UPS Debate: A Conversation on High Efficiency, Multi-Mode UPSs

data_center_facebook

High Efficiency, Multi-Mode UPSs

Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) are designed to protect against power surges and to keep data center equipment running long enough to power down safely during electrical outages. With the normal expense of powering data centers and the increased cost in dollars and data that can be caused by downtime due to power failure, high efficiency, multi-mode UPSs are fast becoming standard equipment in computer data centers.

How Does Multi-Mode Work?

A multi-mode UPS is capable of switching between two modes of operation. Premium efficiency mode, also called eco-mode, provides superior operation efficiency while double conversion mode provides superior power protection. Multi-mode UPSs can switch between these two modes in a matter of milliseconds to compensate for power deviations and anomalies. In fact, most UPSs have transfer speeds of less than eight milliseconds and, in many cases, as few as two milliseconds, so as not to exceed the tolerance levels of data center equipment. Multi-mode UPSs have the ability to deliver continual computer grade power while reducing both energy costs and environmental impact.

What Are the Benefits of Multi-mode UPS?

Uninterruptable power supplies come in the form of single-conversion systems, double-conversion systems and multi-mode systems. By incorporating the features of both single and double conversion, multi-mode UPS systems are able to offer the following three major benefits:

  • Maximize critical load protection without sacrificing operating efficiency.
  • Extended parts life of one to two years minimum.
  • Output fault mitigation immediately handled by upstream overcurrent protection.

 

The ability to switch between power protection and operating efficiency modes increases the energyefficiency of multi-mode UPSs to 98 or 99 percent. This automatic switching capability also reduces the load on heating, ventilation and air condition systems. Decreased energy consumption plus decreased load on HVAC systems equals decreased total cost of ownership.

How to Choose the Right High Efficiency, Multi-Mode UPS

As with most products, not all UPS systems are created equally. When selecting the multi-mode UPS for your data center needs,Pedro Robredo at Eaton suggests asking these five questions:

  1. Does the UPS sacrifice protection to gain high efficiency?
  2. How does the UPS achieve its high efficiency?
  3. How efficient is the UPS when lightly loaded?
  4. How quickly does the UPS detect and respond to power events?
  5. What extras does the UPS offer for maximum protection?

 

The answers to these questions and an understanding of UPS will better equip managers to select the right high efficiency, multi-mode UPS system for their data centers.

Posted in Uninterruptible Power Supply, UPS Maintenance | Comments Off

How to Get the Best Return on Your DCIM

Advanced PDUReaping the Benefits of DCIM

DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) software solutions maximize efficiency and performance, improve resource and capacity management and reduce riskin one centralized process. These solutions are an investment, so when choosing a Data Center Infrastructure Management solution, it is important to know what benefits the DCIM will bring to your organization.

Energy Efficiency and Performance

DCIM solutions maximize efficiency and performance by integrating IT and facilities management tools to provide a more complete picture of power utilization. This allows managers to better identify variances in power consumption and make adjustments based on DCIM information tosimultaneously increase energy efficiency and boost equipment performance.DCIM solutions can also monitor and maintain the optimum room temperature of the data center. Immediate notification when there is an increase or decrease in thermostat readings allows personnel to act quickly to ensure continued optimum performance.

Resource and Capacity Management

Resources include servers, storage, network switches, power distribution units, racks and the room that houses this equipment. Capacity management involves having the necessary elements in place to maximize the use and performance of those resources and includes the optimization of four distinct areas.

  1. Rack Space

Enough space to house additional assets as they become necessary is essential. DCIM manages rack space by showing which assets are no longer required, which could be combined to free up space for new equipment and which can be reconfigured to make room for additional ones.

  1. Network Connectivity

DCIM also tracks the availability and location of network ports. This eliminates having to physically locate an active network port, and it provides information on where new ports might need to be installed.

  1. Power

Consistent and accurate monitoring and reporting of power consumption by DCIM tools allows companies to operate data centers in the most energy efficient manner possible.

  1. Cooling

By identifying hot and cold spots, DCIM provides information necessary to address thermal and airflow behavior in the center. This allows managers to better utilize the current cooling system to avoid hot spots than can inhibit equipment performance.

Risk Reduction

The top benefit of DCIM solutions isreduced risk of downtime. With constant monitoring of the primary aspects of the data center, from power usage to rack space to temperature, DCIM can identify potential problems, thus allowing them to be repaired before they lead to system failure.

Data Center Infrastructure Management solutions provide a means of streamlining data center operations, which can ultimately lead to cost savings and reduced downtime.

Posted in Data Center Infrastructure Management | Comments Off

Which Infrastructure Convergence Is Best for You?

Infrastructure convergence is the grouping of several IT components into one computer package. With several possible components (servers, networking equipment, data storage centers, and software), there are also several different types of convergence. Take a look at the three current options. With more information, you may be better able to determine which option is best for your situation.

Unified Architecture

This convergence method is based on the traditional rack-mounted server situation. However, with a move toward virtualization, the modern blade-and-chassis environment is markedly different. Users are now able to tie directly into fabric interconnects. Users can create their own hardware and service profiles. These powerful systems maintain their agility but come with a hefty price tag. A high-end architecture, although expensive, might be the best option for large service providers with many different resources and hundreds or thousands of racks.

Converged Infrastructure

This type of grouping is a node-based unit with both storage and computing equipment in one location, sometimes called an appliance. When consumers want to expand, they simply add another node. This offers a lot of versatility and some financial savings as big workloads can be merged into smaller infrastructure nodes. Who would benefit the most from this type of setup? Users are often mid-sized organizations looking for a way to offload VDI and move toward a price-conscious option. Of course, the converged infrastructure is easy to upgrade, so downsizing initially won’t prevent an organization from growing in the future.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructures

While the other two groupings rely heavily on the hardware, this infrastructure converges all of the components of data processing in one single computer layer. The benefits are simplified storage, easier networking, and an abstract, software-controlled process. The hardware stack can be custom built or modified without fear of damaging the infrastructure. This could lead naturally to some important financial savings. A vital part of this hyper-converged virtual appliance is the hypervisor. The hypervisor allows control of resources, API integration, and the convergence of compute, storage, and networking all in one device. Users of this system may be those organizations that are growing rapidly with the need for quick changes, usage growth, and new additions.

Focus on an Agile Infrastructure

Is it possible that hardware stacks will go the way of the floppy disk? As this hardware becomes condensed and abstracted, it may be possible. If data, VMs, and applications are able to move quickly and easily from data centers to the cloud and among many users, the future of data centers will continue to evolve. As businesses rely more and more on data centers, the drive for change is sure to remain constant.

Posted in Data Center Build, data center equipment, Data Center Infrastructure Management | Tagged , | Comments Off

The Changing Face of the Colocation Industry

In the world of colocation data center services, there has been a lot of change. Some of these emerging trends are really affecting the way that business is done and in competitive ways. The biggest players in the market are making changes and purchasing acquisitions to maintain their place in their sector of the business world. What are the biggest trends?

High-End Luxuries or Affordably Pure

As providers incorporate higher-level technologies such as cloud, hosting, and interconnection services, other providers are turning to basic services. These providers can deliver low-cost space, power, and cooling to customers looking for good-quality, affordable options.

Customer Use Flexibility

Another trend is the desire for increased capacity and density options. Customers are becoming more familiar with the role that data centers play. They want flexibility in capacity, the ability to adjust the amount of colocation capacity, and the freedom to pay for only what they are using.

New Management Software

Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software is finding its place and impacting both colo providers and customers. For example, the providers are enjoying increased efficiency, more information for decision making, and plenty of high-tech add-ons. Customers enjoy clear visibility into the levels of power they’re consuming, one of the things that most affects their colo costs.

Increasing Numbers of Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions have been a normal part of the colo industry, but lately there’s been an increase in acquisitions. These exchanges can lead to more opportunities and a broader reach, both geographically and in product selection. Big acquisitions can also lead to gorilla providers in control of pricing and availability.

New Business Relations

Today representatives of the colocation providers are discussing terms and pricing with different buyers than they did in the past. The rep from the data center may be speaking with cloud architects and others within the customer organizations. This trend is affected by the natural alliance between cloud and colo services.

Edge Market Services

Another important trend is the storage of a wide variety of data from edge markets in colo centers. To provide these services, edge data centers must also provide connectivity, internal interconnection, and WAN capacity, as well as attracting content providers, long-haul carriers, and last-mile ISVs.

The Internet of Things

Both inside and outside of the IT world, the Internet of Things is a popular topic. The data necessary to run and track the use of everyday objects needs to have a home somewhere. This network connectivity allows companies and consumers to both send and receive data. It wouldn’t be possible without the colocation providers.

Posted in Data Center Infrastructure Management, data center maintenance, DCIM | Tagged , | Comments Off

Inefficient Cooling in Small Data Centers Impacts the Entire Industry

Some of the biggest costs for data centers come from overhead energy consumption, and a great deal of that energy goes toward cooling the centers. In fact, some statistics show that cooling systems take up about half of a data center’s energy intake. Really large data center operators can afford to run off of super-efficient designs, but what can smaller centers do? Inefficient cooling is a big problem for many smaller data centers.

Small Data Centers Exist in Every Community

Visit a university campus IT center or a local government IT facility. These smaller centers don’t get a lot of attention, but they are home to a large amount of the world’s IT equipment. This also means that the smaller facilities are responsible for a big chunk of the energy used up by the data center industry. It follows logically that inefficient cooling remains a problem for the entire IT industry.

The Main Problem

The problem then is that these smaller data centers are operating with inefficient cooling systems that impact the entire industry, but they don’t have the resources to significantly improve. The small-town university IT department doesn’t have room in the budget for major infrastructure upgrades. Further compounding the problem is the fact that some of these data center teams don’t even see the energy bills and remain unaware of their role in this problem. Without that awareness, there’s no motivation to make an effort to reduce energy consumption or improve cooling efficiency.

Hot Spots and Redundancy

The heart of the problem is that too many data centers are being overcooled. This happens for two reasons. The first is that hot spots must be treated, and the rest of the center is overcooled as a byproduct of that intense cooling – basically a result of improper air management systems. The second reason is redundancy. This preventative step is necessary in any data center, but with the same solution (improved air management), inefficient cooling can be reduced.

The Search for a Solution

A solution has already been determined: Simply install the proper controls and increase knowledge of the centers’ actual cooling needs. This will keep redundant units in standby mode, only kicking them on when they become necessary. Sadly, too many smaller data centers don’t have those systems or the resources to implement them. Reliability must be the top priority for data centers, but the development of efficient cooling practices must become more important, because without some improvement from these smaller data centers, the entire industry will continue to be plagued by this problem.

Posted in Data Center Construction, Data Center Design | Tagged , | Comments Off

How Flash Storage Has Changed the Face of Enterprise IT

Enterprise-class IT, or enterprise IT as it’s commonly known, refers to a combination of the hardware and software systems that have been designed to fulfill the needs of large organizations. As its name suggests, this type of IT system is used in situations that require a great deal of processing power. Those qualities that describe any type of IT system are expected to be present and fully functional but to a greater degree than found in smaller systems. For large and complex organizations, the IT requirements for performance, security, compatibility, reliability, availability, and scalability are a driving force behind productivity.

 

The Evolution of VDI

The virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that was once the norm for the biggest projects and organizations has evolved to keep up with current advancements in the technology. As networks and storage have been changed by the rapid evolution of digital business technology, VDI offerings include the use of all-flash storage. With the introduction of flash storage, the end users will enjoy much higher levels of performance.

 

How Does Flash Storage Fit?

To truly understand the benefits of flash storage, it’s necessary to understand what it is. Most people are probably familiar with flash drives. Basically, flash storage is any kind of storage system or data repository that runs with flash memory. The storage memory is a form of electrically erasable, programmable, read-only memory, but it is a non-volatile memory type. This is an advantage because it means that no power is required to keep the stored data intact. The flash technology is able to erase large blocks of data at once and can rewrite without completely erasing older data.

 

The Benefits of Flash Storage

Another advantage of flash storage is that its increased performance does not require a correlating amount of increased cost. High levels of data reduction and lower storage costs translate into savings at the data center in physical space, power, and cooling. This translates into a storage solution that is very cost efficient. You’ll find that the systems provide higher levels of data control and management. New layers of data abstraction provide deduplication, acceleration, and data encryption. Flash storage offers seamless integration with the cloud and with virtualization layers. Plus, this storage solution comes in a tiny package.

 

Solutions for Enterprise IT

If your large business has outgrown your old IT system and you’re ready for enterprise IT, give a thought to flash storage. This vital part of large, capable hardware and software systems and modern storage management provides organization IT departments with a new and evolved solution.

 

Posted in data center equipment, DCIM | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Data Centers: Securing the Cloud

truth-about-hackersIn an increasingly digital world where just about all of our personal and business-related information is stored, relayed and transacted online security concerns continue to grow and grow.  We hear about hack after hack and the need for data centers to increase their security.  As more and more location move towards cloud computing, how can they increase not only the security of their infrastructure but their overall security?  There are growing concerns that the public cloud may actually be more secure than the IT facility cloud.  Infoworld explains the concern and what the main contributing factors to the problem are, “What public clouds bring to the table are better security mechanisms and paranoia as a default, given how juicy they are as targets. The cloud providers are much better at systemic security services, such as looking out for attacks using pattern matching technology and even AI systems. This combination means they have very secure systems. It should be no surprise that the hackers move on to easier pickings: enterprise data centers. The on-premises systems that IT manages is typically a mix of technologies from different eras. The aging infrastructure is often less secure — and less securable — than the modern technology used by cloud providers simply because the old, on-premises technology was designed for an earlier era of less-sophisticated threats. The mixture of different technologies in the typical on-premises data center also opens up more gaps for hackers to exploit.”  So, does it just boil down to a narrowed focus paired with hyper-awareness of threats?  Is it just that the cloud can simply focus on its unique set of challenges whereas the traditional facilities have a wide range of weaknesses that pose potential threats and therefore security is spread thin across the board?

Cloud computing has more than proved its value so it is certainly not going anywhere.  Facilities are getting on board with it and more making the switch.  The problem is that they still have a wide range of infrastructure that must also be kept safe and protected, and traditional security approaches for facilities are different in the digital space.  What once worked for security may be so outdated that it is no longer effective and with hackers acutely aware of the gaps, like heat-seeking missiles, will swiftly find and attack those weak spots.  A breach is often the result of an un-tested system so facility managers must get more vigilant about education and testing.  Ignorance is far from bliss in this case.  The threat landscape is constantly changing so IT facilities can better protect themselves through a combination of education, real-time monitoring, protection of servers, and a dynamic multi-level approach to security.  Information must be protected within storage devices inside a facility, throughout information transmission between facility servers and clients, and throughout use within an application.  And, as mentioned above, a healthy dose of paranoia never hurt anyone when it comes to protecting secure information.  Through an extensive effort of limiting exposure on every possible front and a commitment to staying ahead of the hackers as much as possible, data center security can begin to reach the level of protection that customers expect.

Posted in data center equipment, Data Center Infrastructure Management, Data Center Security, DCIM | Tagged , | Comments Off

Data Centers Utilizing Wind Power

windenergygoogleEco-friendly and energy efficient remain the focus of data centers across the nation and around the world.  Every step a facility takes towards improvement is a step towards reduced energy consumption and significant savings.  Many facilities specifically choose to place their locations where the climate allows for natural cooling using outside air which lowers the use of air conditioning systems.  Now, many facilities are making a move toward using wind power.  These locations are using utility power derived from wind generation.  This form of renewable energy is eco-friendly because it is sustainable and dramatically reduces the need for other sources of utility power.  In some cases, data centers are becoming 100% wind powered!

There are some restrictions in place for businesses can source their wind power but this move is incredibly positive and will certainly become more and more popular over time.  Facebook has utilized wind power for one previous location and has opted to design its newest facility to be 100% wind powered because they recognize that it is an inexpensive and effective form of clean energy.  Fortune elaborates on Facebook’s latest undertaking, “Facebook announced on Tuesday that it’s building a large $1 billion data center in Ft. Worth, Texas. The facility, which is already under construction, will be Facebook’s fifth data center, and will be built on land purchased from a real estate company run by the eldest son of former Presidential candidate Ross Perot. The data center will use wind power from a large wind farm that is also under construction on 17,000 acres of land in Clay County about 90 miles from the data center. By agreeing to buy the power from the 200-megawatt wind farm, Facebook helped bring the clean power project onto the grid. A report issued earlier this month from the European Commission Joint Research Centre found that there were about 370 gigawatts of wind turbines installed by the end of 2014. One gigawatt is the equivalent to a large coal or natural gas plant… Facebook will presumably buy the wind power at a fixed low rate over several decades. If grid energy prices rise, the deal could actually save Facebook money on its energy bill.”  Additionally, Data Center Knowledge notes that it is not just IT facilities that are making this move but customers as well, “Salesforce has contracted for 40 megawatts of wind power from a West Virginia wind farm, becoming the latest cloud giant to enter into a utility-scale renewable-energy purchase agreement… The purchase covers more capacity than all of the cloud-based business software giant’s servers consume in data centers that host them.”  This shift in the industry shows that businesses, customers, and even employees are demanding more renewable energy sources for data centers and, in addition to being eco-friendly, they are significantly impacting company’s bottom lines.

Posted in Computer Room Design, Data Center Battery, Data Center Build, Data Center Construction, data center cooling, Data Center Design, Datacenter Design, Power Management, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off