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Software to Boost Data Center Infrastructure Management

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Every aspect of your organization is expected to operate at top efficiency. This includes your data center. With Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) systems, your organization certainly has a lot of information which can keep your network up to speed. Unfortunately, DCIM solutions don’t have all the data your team needs. That’s where Automated Infrastructure Management steps in. Together, DCIM and AIM give your business the resources for an efficient and productive network. Learn why your data center needs DCIM and AIM together.

 

Using a DCIM Tool

Many of today’s data centers started out in a small closet, but over time have grown to take up an entire room to an entire building. One person cannot physically monitor every aspect of the network. DCIM solutions give an overview of the data center to let your IT department have command and control of the system, do better asset management, and allot resources more effectively. DCIM helps with forecasting future needs, which lets your business budget your IT needs better. With DCIM, a manager can also tell which equipment is using too much electricity to reduce utility bills.

How Does the AIM System Increase Data Center Information?

Although the DCIM provides a great deal of information, it won’t give your IT team information about the physical infrastructure. Many times, this information is kept in spreadsheets that quickly become outdated as new cables get moved around. With an AIM system, IT personnel can quickly identify problems, because the system can include work orders and blink at the location. It saves time by giving you almost a picture of your network. The AIM takes the guesswork out of which cables are plugged into with ports. It’s automatically updated every time a change is made.

Integrating AIM Into a DCIM

The DCIM and AIM systems talk to each other through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These APIs need to be customized to each data center infrastructure. Open APIs give the most flexibility over proprietary ones. Once the APIs are in place, data center managers have more information to effectively control the network, now and in the future.

Give your team the resources for planning, implementation, and upgrades to the data center. Let your network grow with your business at the rate your budget allows. Ensure that the system is operating at peak performance without using too much electricity and having downtime for repairs. Choose an AIM that boosts the information received from the DCIM to keep your business running smoothly.

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What Changes Are in Store for Data Centers With Lithium-ion Batteries?

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Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries offer significant benefits over the traditional valve-regulated lead-acid batteries (VRLA) used in data centers. For smaller centers, like those in medium to small businesses, the change could be very dramatic. Here are six reasons your organization should consider making the switch.

Less Space Required

VRLA batteries require a lot of space. Some companies even build separate battery rooms to house the power system. Li-ion batteries can reduce the space needed by about two-thirds. Think about having more IT space to grow your network.

Cooling Costs Reduction

The equipment in a data center can tolerate higher temperatures than the VRLA battery. If you are raising the temperature in your data center to reduce your costs, it’s probably that the VRLA batteries in the same room will need to be replaced quicker because those batteries cannot tolerate the heat. Li-ion batteries are better equipped to be in the same room as your other equipment without deteriorating as quick as their VRLA equivalent.

Scalability for Growth

Many companies today are using modules to grow their system over time. Li-ion batteries are much more scalable and adaptable into the architecture that is being designed for data centers. Instead of worrying about where your organization needs to house more equipment and batteries to expand, the Li-ion batteries provide more options. Avoid costly remodeling when your business is ready to add on to your data center.

Better Performance

Li-ion batteries last much longer than VRLA batteries, almost twice as long. Because the Li-ion batteries come with better monitoring systems, it’s easier for an IT team to measure the health of the battery and know when it needs to be replaced. It’s much like the battery monitoring system of your smartphone, while the VRLA is similar to your car battery. You never know when it might fail, leaving you stranded. Less maintenance and concern come with better performance. This lets your staff focus concern on higher priority ticket items.

Environmentally Friendly

By reducing the cooling costs and space requirements of a network, it adds to the eco-friendly statistics of your organization which cannot be overlooked in today’s business environments. Clients are looking for businesses which do care about their energy use and power consumption Li-ion batteries offer some unique features to help reduce the carbon footprint of your business.

Less Replacement Costs

VRLA batteries are often replaced every five to six years, even though it should have a life of about 10 years. This is because of the unpredictability of the battery. An Li-ion battery lasts much longer than 10 years, which reduces battery replacement costs.

 

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The Power Rating of a Rack PDU Is Not Always the Load Capacity

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Even if you aren’t an IT specialist, you probably understand circuit breakers and electricity. Each breaker is designed to handle a specific power load. When that capacity is overloaded, the breaker trips and shuts off the electricity to the circuit. The same thing happens with a rack power distribution unit (PDU) that distributes the electrical power to your computers and network. By understanding how the power rating differs from the load capacity, your organization can prevent overloading the PDUs that keep your computers operating efficiently.

Power Rating

One issue in power ratings when it comes to PDUs is that North America and Europe label the capacity differently. Outside of North America, the circuits are simply labeled as the rated capacity; you may see one that says 16A or 32A. In North America, manufacturers label the units with their maximum load capacity.

Why is this a problem? It’s because the PDU is actually designed to be loaded at only 80 percent of their capacity. This is referred to as a derated value or the load capacity. Thus, if you have a 20A PDU, it’s actual load capacity is only 16A. While the PDU may certainly carry 20A for a limited time, eventually it will trip and the system will go down.

Simplify the Network

Although there are formulas which let your IT manager calculate the load capacity and voltage that is appropriate for each section of the PDU, there is a much easier method to keep your system balanced. An intelligent PDU takes the guesswork and math out of the capacity equation.

In today’s business world, your network and computers need to be fully functional and operational when you need them to be. Keeping the power load evenly distributed ensures that your IT department doesn’t go down when you need it most. It also helps your organization use electricity more efficiently to save money. What business couldn’t use more time and money?

Intelligent PDUs also provide more benefits such as metering that alerts the team to potential problems. Your IT department has access to logs which help them see erratic power consumption or ghost servers. By understanding that the power rating is not necessarily the load capacity, you can more evenly distribute power and take steps to grow your system as needed. Instead of buying more equipment than you need or not having enough, with intelligent PDUs, a business can operate with purpose. Learn how an intelligent PDU would upgrade the network in your organization.

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Benefits of Intelligent Metering With a Rack PDU

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Having multiple power units can make your IT structure more efficient, but only when you know how much energy is being used by each track. You have to manage your power capacity by tracking energy use. It’s not only good for your system, but it’s better for the environment when you balance how much power each unit is putting out.

Intelligent rack power distribution units (iPDU) have many added features over a non-intelligent PDU that let you track the voltage, current, power, and energy usage within your own IT infrastructure. Metering helps your organization become more efficient and increase network availability. This option is available at the inlet, outlet, and PDU level. Here are the reasons to choose an intelligent PDU that offers metering.

1. Inlet Metering – This feature lets users see power usage and capacity within each rack to provision equipment more effectively. Your IT administrators can prevent overloading circuits and calculate the power usage effectiveness to boost your system’s efficiency.

2. Outlet Metering – With this feature, you can also see power usage and capacity at the rack, assisting in what the inlet metering provides, but outlet metering helps your team find underutilized servers and to allocate costs usage to specific customers. It also helps identify ghost servers and compare your IT efficiency.

3. Rack PDU Branch Circuit Metering – Practically every system runs the risk of being overloaded, which leads to tripping. When your team is adding more circuits, this feature prevents circuits from being heavily loaded. There is less chance of experiencing downtime from tripping a breaker. If your organization uses high-power consumption components, this helps the data center manager keep your entire system balanced. It sends an alert based on the threshold your team sets up if the circuit is becoming overloaded.

4. Circuit Breaker Monitoring – When you have multiple units, it can be difficult to quickly find a circuit breaker that has tripped. Metering monitors this event to allow your team to quickly reset the breaker and get back to business.

Using an iPDU helps your business grow more efficiently, because you can add units and ensure you won’t overload your current system. You have the knowledge to keep up with your energy needs. Today’s businesses cannot afford to use energy inefficiently. It increases your utility costs, and it keeps your organization from being eco-friendly, which it important to today’s consumers. Take charge of your IT system with intelligent rack power distribution units that give you more options in energy consumption. Use the resources of the planet wisely and save money and time in your company.

 

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Solve IT Issues in the Field With Prefabricated Data Centers

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Oil and gas exploration isn’t limited to hospitable sites near big cities. It’s more likely your business will face harsh conditions like a desert or remote area without access to technology. Even though the terrain is rugged, you still have IT needs that meet all industry regulations and requirements. The solution is a prefabricated data center built to meet the needs of the environment where your team is working.

Solving the Issues of the Oil and Gas Industry

Building a traditional data center can be costly and time consuming. In the oil and gas industry, it’s understood that cost constraints are one of the biggest concerns when meeting the needs of today’s businesses. Then there may other regulations that your organization will be subject to, like environmental concerns and privacy issues. A prefabricated data center addresses these problems while still providing predictability, flexibility, and speed.

Specifications of a Prefabricated Data Center

A prefabricated data center comes in module format, containing power, cooling elements, and IT products that can be reconfigured as your business needs change. Each section is carefully constructed to exact ISO specifications in a factory, then transported to your site as one unit. Your prefabricated data center is designed to fit what your organization needs it to do. When you place your unit in the environment it will be housed, specific architecture is provided to protect your unit against the elements.

Instead of using components from multiple vendors and piecing together parts to make up your infrastructure, the prefabricated data center comes ready to go. The time frame to implement the unit is reduced by about 60 percent. Not only does this help your organization get started quicker, it keeps your maintenance costs lower because all the parts come from the same place and there are no compatibility or non-compatibility issues when using different components. This system is more predictable and reliable than a greenfield deployment or brownfield expansion.

Get the Technology Your Business Needs

The oil and gas industry has benefited from technology as much as any other industry. It’s let businesses reach areas and find natural resources in parts of the world never before imagined. Take the next step with your business and save money on your IT infrastructure when you implement a prefabricated data center to keep up with the way you do business. Stop wasting time and your own resources to get the technology you want to simplify your management of the IT needed in the field.

 

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Cloud Connectivity

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Does Your Business Have a Strategy for Cloud Connectivity?

 Over the next few years, cloud infrastructure spending among businesses is expected to take up more of your IT budget. In 2014, cloud expenditures accounted for about five percent of the IT budget. In 2018, it’s expected to jump to 11 percent. The cloud is not going away, and it’s important for your business to take steps to create a strategy for your organization now.

Do You Really Need Cloud Connectivity?

Many businesses have invested in on-premise cloud infrastructures, so you may be wondering if you need anything more. One of the big issues with an on-site system is that it requires a great deal of administration and resources. Then you have the public cloud systems. There are some real concerns about security when using a public connection. An enterprise cloud connection combines secure protocols to integrate your storage and usage components to build your business. When you have a strategy in place to utilize both types of cloud storage, it lets your organization grow and keep your computer system to scale.

Types ofPublic Enterprise Cloud Connectivity

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one option that gives you more flexibility in your public and private networks. With their Direct Connect option, you can establish a dedicated connection between your network and the AWS servers. You have more options because it integrates with all of the AWS cloud options. You have a lot of options when it comes to reconfiguring the networks to meet your growing business changes.

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute is very similar to AWS, but it doesn’t use the public internet as a connection. Your business gets more reliability and security between the public cloud and your own network. It extends your system without requiring more resources and equipment from your organization. You also have the option to build your own ecosystem for different applications. ExpressRoute lets you connect with other Microsoft services outside of Azure.

Leveraging Your Options

Both Direct Connect and ExpressRoute offer significant cost benefits over creating your own private cloud storage. As more businesses become both global and mobile, give your organization the strength to grow your own data infrastructure with an Enterprise cloud connectivity strategy that helps your data center grow as your organization grows. If you’ve made the investment in an on-site system, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to have more options with the cloud. Build on what you have with the technology available to you and create reliable connections that have the speed you need to get business done.

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Rack PDU Power Rating vs. Load Capacity

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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.

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What DCIM Tools? You Mean Spreadsheets and Tape Measure?

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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