The Energy Of Rich Power Data
One of the major data centre challenges today is the increasing cost of electricity. Over the past decade the cost of electricity has increased significantly and this trend is not expected to fade away soon. Industry data and studies mention power costs can account for over 50% of the total data centre operational cost. In addition to controlling operational expenses the need to achieve close to 100% uptime is shifting from a service to a pure necessity, one may even say a commodity. As for companies, data centre downtime can translate in a hit on credibility, lost revenues, lowered stock value and/or lost customers. So data centres are faced with the challenge to ensure a maximum of uptime and service whilst keeping energy costs under control.
Hans Witdouck, CEO at Racktivity, a technology company specialized in the development of intelligent power management solutions, shares his views on the matter.
To overcome the energy challenges we are facing nowadays, data centres have in general three choices:
- Expand power and cooling capacity
- Build new data centres
- Deploy a power management solution that analyses, maximizes and improves the usage of existing capacity
As the first two options require major investments and other resources, data centres should invest in the third.
According to the Uptime Institute’s survey results regarding data centre business priorities for 2013, 52% of the data centre owners cite the need to improve metrics for power-usage effectiveness and uninterruptible power supply, as well as those related to network and rack operations. 32% of all participants said capacity planning for critical resources such as power and rack space are increasingly of strategic important. In order to truly drive data centre performance with maximized availability and energy efficiency, the management team requires detailed insights and control of the various electrical power metrics. The most efficient way to gain these insights is by means of intelligent measuring devices to measure and monitor your energy usage.
The numbers tell the tale
The most effective way to know how much power is being consumed by your IT devices is by installing intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) in your server racks. The Racktivity PDUs equip your data center with the industry’s most advanced metering and switching capability. The devices provide you real-time remote PDU-level and outlet-level true RMS monitoring of current (A), voltage (V), power (VA, W), power factor (%) and energy consumption (kWh) with +99% accuracy.
By accurately measuring and monitoring your IT equipment, you can find out what devices are consuming most of the energy, detect idle, underutilized or power ineffective servers and find out where you can save on energy.
Insights which have a direct impact on the bottom line and carbon footprint of any data centre.
With the IT equipment, the most significant savings are normally found in what is the biggest source of waste in most data centres: poor server utilization. By gathering correct, accurate and real-time data you can successfully reclaim a considerable amount of rack space and stranded power.
But not all power is being consumed by servers. Data center studies prove that a large chunk of the data center electricity cost is allocated to the facility part, pressuring data centres to bringing its facilities up to scratch. If you want to set-up a full end-to-end power management solution in your data center and drastically reduce your power consumption, you also have to cover the facility side. By simply installing a smart measuring device at the AC or DC power distribution board, you can monitor every single power consumer outside the IT racks, across the entire data center. The AC and DC measuring devices of Racktivity can be used in 1 phase systems, 3 phase systems or in a combination thereof.
Thanks to the use of split-core current transducers, no power is cut off during installation in existing environments, making the measuring devices suitable and easy to integrate for both Greenfield and Brownfield data center projects.
Enriching your power data
Installing smart measuring tools in your server racks as well as in your power distribution boards, provides you with a continuous flow of real-time, accurate and reliable power and environmental data, forming one big power data cloud. However, the most recent study of the Digital Universe, IDC claims that only 1% of valuable data is analyzed. So we are missing a great opportunity to get more value out of our data. But how do you leverage the giant treasure of big power data at hand into actionable insights?
Looking at the enormous amount of data, it’s self-evident that it must be processed automatically. It is simply impossible to manually filter and analyze it, even for the smallest of data centers.
That is why you need a solution that collects and analyses your metrics, transforming them into rich data that you can use to monitor, analyze, streamline and where necessary, optimize your operations. Racktivity’s DCPM software is such an example. This power management system is a mission-critical solution designed to address the specific power (both on IT and facility level) and environmental aspects of the data centre infrastructure. DCPM provides data centres with the right information to correlate between the power usage for a specific server and the CPU & memory usage of that same server, helping data centres identify the worst performing servers and appliances.
Intelligent power management software delivers you the tools to pro-actively prevent downtime and reduce your OPEX by triggering automatic alarms and detecting power usage trends in your data center. Depending on your specific needs this software can provide detailed analyses such as carbon footprint, power capacity management, PUE, aggregated data across multiple servers and so on.
For the data centre facility itself, much of the cooling power can be reclaimed by eliminating cooling inefficiencies. Thanks to a power management solution with a predictive character, the data centre can use the data at hand to simulate power usage forecasting and the impact of temperature changes in efficiency, allowing you to set up automated cooling control systems.
Data center managers are currently too often suffering from the lack of truly reliable rich data to ensure operational efficiency. Heaps of data is available, but it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and to transform the data into true insights.
Therefore, when setting up a fail-proof power management strategy for your data center, it is important to first think what and where to measure and secondly to use the right management solution to help you detect patterns and trends in your endless stream of big power data.
This process will result in rich power data, giving you the right insights to reduce your OPEX and optimize your business continuity.