Most data centers consume vast amounts of energy in a wasteful manner. Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock and as a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid. With energy prices rising, budgets shrinking and technology choices increasing, energy efficiency is crucial in maintaining high-performance facilities and overall business performance.
The main requirements for a typical data center include IT asset management, change management, ITIL CMDB (configuration management database), DC capacity management, DCCMDB, network and systems management, power monitoring management and power and environmental monitoring and alerting.
Depending on the data center, there are a variety of systems that could be in place for management, monitoring and collection of the data needed to run the entire facility. In a recent blog post, Server Technology (News - Alert), a provider of data center power management and monitoring solutions, explored the different data center systems to optimize facility efficiency and control costs, and which fit best in different ecosystems.
Building Management System (BMS)
A BMS is a computer-based monitoring and control system for facility equipment and data center factors such as ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems and secure systems. According to the blog, they are typically defined as monitoring the “back of the house” or are more facilities-focused than IT-focused within most data centers or organizations. It’s a server with a database, IP address and software applications, connected to an IT network.
The industrial market, such as pulp and paper mills, power generation, chemical plants and other industrial environments, uses BMS systems and are more familiar with devices like the PLC (programmable logic controller) and communication protocols like C-bus, Profibus and Internet/open standards like DeviceNet, BACNet, LonWorks and Modbus -- all common protocols in “the back of the house.” According to Server Technology, the total acceptance, or lack thereof, of the BMS for broad monitoring capabilities within the data center may have more to do with the divide between facilities and IT than anything else.
Data Center Management Software Systems
Data center management software systems can be classified as BMS, DCIM or both depending on what manufacturers are trying to sell. Many of these different tools within the same supplier’s offering will integrate together depending on the functionality required.
“Typically the one thing that is clear with these systems is that they are tied very closely with these manufactures products and the concept of an open architecture and implementing best of breed solutions are often lost on the ‘one stop shop’ concept,” the blog post explained. “As data centers become more efficient and designs are more cookie cutter, large organizations will look more to the one-stop-shop concept to reduce costs, speed implementation and deploy in multiple global locations.”
Server Technology offers data collection management solutions, providing a single pane of glass solution to monitor, trend and report power information on an entire network of rack-mount PDUs globally. Users can monitor their data centers' rack-level power information, store it and use it to make critical decisions about their facility.
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)
According to the Uptime Institute, the market for data center infrastructure management systems will grow from $500 million in 2010 to $7.5 billion by 2020. IT and business executives have realized hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy and operational costs can be saved by improved physical infrastructure planning, by minor system reconfiguration and by small process changes.
DCIM systems cut costs, reduce downtime and automate network planning, implementation and operational tasks based on four key capabilities: infrastructure management, environmental monitoring/optimization, power consumption monitoring and control and intelligent physical layer infrastructure management.
There is a low-cost, additional system to tie your intelligent PDUs and data center monitoring software together. Server Technology's Sentry Power Manager (SPM) allows each PDU to be managed through a single interface, rather than by individual IP address, saving time and money with configuration and management of a number of PDU's within the facility. SPM can be used on its own, or as middleware using an application programming interface (API) that allows all power and environmental information to be shared with other systems using standard SOAP or REST tools. This makes sense when one top-level system will be used to provide a single pane of glass for monitoring and management.
Server Technology recently teamed up with RF Code, a provider of open and secure wire-free environmental and power monitoring and real-time IT asset tracking solutions that reduce the time and cost of discovering, tracking and monitoring IT assets and the environments in which they are located, to release an integrated data center solution of RF Code’s wire-free Sensor Manager solution with Server Technology’s SPM via an SPM API integration. The solution makes it significantly easier to monitor and manage the factors that impact the efficient, fiscally-smart running of a data center, which can include power density, proper and continuous maintenance, design capacity, facility occupancy and power loading rate and site location.
Information gathered from RF Code's sensors flows into SPM software, providing a consolidated view of power and environmental data. RF Code monitors and sends SPM data about temperature, humidity and air pressure fluid detection, door open and close for greater security and trending and alarming related to temperature, humidity, air pressure and dew point.
To learn more about Server Technology and its data center management systems, click here.
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Edited by Ashley Caputo