As we get ready to say goodbye to 2011 and usher in 2012, naturally we will take a stroll down memory lane and remember all the choice phrases for the year such as “The Royal Wedding,” “Occupy Wall Street,” “Bi-Winning” and, of course, “Kim Kardashian.”
But for those in the technology realm, a couple other catch phrases might come to mind – “the cloud,” “virtualization,” “SIP communications” and “data center efficiency.”
This year, the spotlight was on data center efficiency more than ever before as companies were tasked with trying to figure out ways to make their center more efficient while still enjoying cost savings. When asked to reflect on 2011, Server Technology (News - Alert) –a leading provider of data center power distribution technologies – said that one of the main areas of achievement in the data center space this year was on improving efficiency.
“We’ve seen that in a tremendous increase in cloud business, an increase in colocation business and an increase in data center consolidation (meaning updating and retrofitting existing facilities),” Julie Brown, marketing manager for Server Technology, told TMCnet. “More and more, companies that we work with are realizing just how much power their data centers are using and how much that is costing them and are looking for alternatives.”
Aside from the phrase “data center efficiency” being thrown around in 2011, many managers were also throwing around the terms “data center monitoring,” as the trending and management side of things took center stage. In today’s IT world, data center professionals are asked to report on not only power usage for green initiatives but also for efficiency and cost purposes as well.
“That’s the reason for so many companies investing in DCIM (data center infrastructure management) tools to manage and automate everything in the data center,” Brown said. “Our SPM rack-level power management system, for example, is a good example of that; it can serve as a standalone power monitoring/measurement system or it can integrate with a company’s existing DCIM or BMS system.”
While many advances have been made with regards to data center efficiency and power, a main challenge managers will have to face as we move into 2012 is how to find more power. Companies today are driving more density and more power in their data center, according to Brown, and companies are constantly designing and building higher power units with unique form factors.
Server Technology, for example, is able to do that because of its Quality Power Architecture, which allows “us to quickly develop situation-specific devices with the same quality, reliability and production processes found in all of our products,” Brown said.
In honor of the New Year and in the spirit of resolving to make change for next year, Server Technology officials sat down with TMCnet to come up with a list of what the industry’s New Year’s Resolutions should be for next year with regards to the data center:
1. Add resiliency to at least one aspect (power, cooling, fire surpression/detection, leak detection, monitoring, security, personnel) to data center facility to mitigate risk and lower unscheduled downtime.
2. Plan for data center capacity. Start doing this by intelligently identifying opportunities for power, space, cooling, capacity and scale. The breaker panel shouldn’t be your capacity planning tool.”
3. Phase balance all three of the legs in the data center. If you phase balance at the rack, you’ll have the peace of mind to know that everything upstream of the rack (to the utility) will be balanced.
4. With an infrastructure makeover, finally changing out all 120 and 208v 20/30 amp power and converting to more efficient 3-phase or 400v. Powering higher density racks will help lower infrastructure and equipment (rack) costs.
5. Don’t install pdus without remote monitoring capabilities. You need the on/off/reboot capabilities to better manage your data center, especially in the middle of the night.
6. Always, always, always measure temperature and humidity in the rack. Having this information is what you absolutely need to manage your power and costs in the data center.
7. Always purchase the best PDUs that you can afford with the highest level of intelligence – switched or smart units and with Per Outlet Power Sensing and/or Per Inlet Power Sensing. We’re seeing that more and more companies are requiring that degree of granularity and accuracy that you get with measuring power at the outlet and/or inlet.
For more on data center power and Server Technology, click here. Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jamie Epstein