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Data Center Power Management

  • Broadcast in Business



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Join us as Richard Brooke, Raritan's Senior Technical Director, discusses advances in data center power management. Richard will cover the advantages of more instrumentation at the rack and how to take advantage of all that data.
We'll cover:
  • Temperature & humidity sensors
  • Cooling sensors
  • Hard-wired and wireless sensors
  • Rack-specific monitoring
  • Using Raritan's Power IQ® to turn this data into actionable knowledge


0:24 Steve St. Clair

Welcome back to Raritan Radio. Today, our guest is Richard Brooke, Raritan's senior technical trainer. Hi! Richard, how are you?

0:31 Richard Brooke

Outstanding! Outstanding! Good to be here.

0:34 Steve St. Clair

Yes indeed, you're heading to the long weekend which will be nice, sort a long anyway, but...

0:40 Richard Brooke

Yup, spring is in the air.

0:42 Steve St. Clair

Spring is springing even in Chicago where you are, we're just talking about that before the show started.

0:47 Richard Brooke

Warm and misty with no snow.

0:50 Steve St. Clair

Very nice. Very nice. Warmer than here in Raritan headquarter land near Somerset, New Jersey. So, Richard on our last show Yee and Jawahar reported on the Green Grid Conference and one of the main things we discussed is that data centers are starting to understand the need for more granularity at the rack level so that they can have a real idea of what's going on and solve the power usage at a more local level down at the rack and device level. Now, I'd loved to talk to you first about Raritan RPDUs and how they provide a very high amount of granular data. How does that work?

1:30 Richard Brooke

Oh yeah, they can give a lot of information back. I always joke in a presentation. They are like a teenager. They had a lot of things to say and how much you want to listen to is up to you because they wanna tell you the world, right? So the cool thing on Raritan PDUs because all of our units can give you amps, volts, watts, power watts, power factor, kWh. There is so much information we can deliver to you. Besides that we can do temperature, humidity, open contact sensor with addition of water detection probe 'cause water in the data center could be bad. So there is so much information the PDUs can report back and how and what level do you want to get the information on. So for example on our 5000 series PDU, we can tell you every outlet they supply 5000 series, there are 4000 series PDU. Each outlet can tell you amps, and volts, and watts, and power factor, and kWh and on our end 2000 and 1000 series you may not need that information on a granular level on a plug level, it's perfect to grab it on a strip or just the circuit breaker level and we can go with those PDUs so there is so much information they can provide back and we can tell what level do you want it on?

2:53 Steve St. Clair

So it's totally customizable then in the data center as to how much data they want, where they want it from and how they wanna read what's going on in the data center.

3:02 Richard Brooke

Exactly, we want to give that the customer's choice. If they wanted on strip level...

3:05 Steve St. Clair

Very cool.

3:06 Richard Brooke

...we have products for them. If they want it on just to the circuit breaker or the outlet level; where - however they want it we have that as well too.

3:14 Steve St. Clair

Now I understand all this information can come through just one IP pipeline.

3:17 Richard Brooke

Exactly. Exactly. So most of the guys, PDUs kinda give you only amps and you're getting that on a PDU drop or on the IP address drop. So there are a lot of figures out there that have different numbers but it costs about $200 for IP drop. That's what we see is the industry average. So the cost of the switches, the table, someone who managed it so every time you deploy something with an IP drop there is a cost associated with that and again we have seen industry average about $200 so most of the guys tend to give you just amps, which is a good thing to have but we can push so much information through that IP pipeline. From the PDU, we can give you again amps, volts, watts, VA, power factor, kWh. We can give you the temperature and humidity probes. We can give you again your temperature, your humidity, we can do open contacts on server, they wanna do door-opening alert, smoke, we have a water sensor, we can even go so far as to hang a web camera on some of our PDUs. So we can do a webcam, we can do our asset's trips and this is all coming through one IP pipeline. This is the, we start about the super high information, super high rate providing the PDU information superhighway with one IP drop.

4:48 Steve St. Clair

Very cool. It's like big brothers in the data center.

4:51 Richard Brooke

Exactly, but it's a cool big brother. Well, I'm the present big brother; he is a cool dude who wants to give you a bit of information.

5:00 Steve St. Clair

I love it. Tell me about the importance of PUE level 3 and how you guys opportune it.

5:06 Richard Brooke

There are different levels of PUE, PUE of course being power usage efficiency and there is - three different levels of how to monitor this. The top most efficient one is gonna be PUE level 3 and that's gonna be actually measuring at the outlet level which is what we can do in our 5000 series PDUs is per outlet I can tell you exactly what that server consumed or how many kWh -- you know outlet one, two, three, and four consume that maybe a blade server with three power supplies so it's really giving you really the most accurate information out there and a level to managing effect as an example our kWh is 1% better , come in great accuracy you know when you get your bill from the energy provider who are being billed in kWh. Now, we can check that at the outlet level.

6:02 Steve St. Clair

Very cool. So I am looking at it in the same way that it's coming in terms of a bill. So it's an apples to apples comparison.

6:08 Richard Brooke


6:09 Steve St. Clair

Down to each outlet level. That's very cool. So speaking of granularity, let's get in some details here about a few things just for starters, temperature and humidity sensors. Let's get granular on this. How does it work? Who I may if I wanted what kind of data centers should be paying attention at this feature that kind of thing.

6:29 Richard Brooke

Well any data centers should. And first app, would make it really easy to deploy. There is a let's say it's Friday so the copy has not kicked in and yet it is an RJ12 port click right of the front of the PDUs so there is no additional hardware needed. You know someday the PDU manufactures have done a visibility. You ask to buy an optional box and there are some fees involved we can go click in front of the PDU and we can hang up to eight-temperature and eight-humidity or you can go a combination of temperature and humidity. It's really important to monitor what's your temperature is in your data center. Obviously, you are paying to cool your data center. We are seeing numbers out there that are said customers are spending more to cool their data center than the cost of what they paid for their servers. Energy costs are going up. So if there's anyway we can help that IT professional lower the cost of their data center. Raise the temperature on their air handlers, our partner group came out with the study that said if you raise your air handler 1 degree, you can save 4% of your cooling budget. So let's show them safely, let's be able to pull that temperature information and see where we have a hot spot, where we are over provisioned get that granular information. In general, it's funny, people don't realize that humidity is very, very important too in the data centers especially if you get some toys like Phoenix as an example so we think how dry. I always love when I go at Phoenix and it is actually, it's 112 degrees out, it is dry, but when you have that drying issue, hence lack of humidity you could have static, you can actually short-circuit servers in the data centers. So it's important to have a right humidity level as well too. Too dry area is not good in the data center. So being able to pull in that information and show by different probes whether I am in the hot aisle or cold aisle or where that information is, it's vital data, it's information, it's knowledge, it's saying this is where I'm hot, this is where I'm not, this is where we need to provide the information and like everything else. It's important to know, if like the server is set in your house, think about it if you didn't have that. I mean you would obviously would walk around and feeling it's really hot, this gives you, hey, let's bring this down, let's turn it off, let's set these thresholds. Let's go to bed at night set the temperatures down a little bit, kinda the same thing in the data center it's important to know your temperature you're paying for it? How do I control it? How can I save money on it?

9:01 Steve St. Clair

Right. So cooling sensors.

9:06 Richard Brooke


9:07 Steve St. Clair

Let's start granular on these.

9:08 Richard Brooke

Well basically we're gonna be able to deploy up to eight-temperature, eight-humidity probes right up in front of that PDU. So it's again, we are seeing customer doing cut out on payment. It's important to figure out our input or output temperature. It's important to obviously if we don't have the right amount of cooling in our data center our servers are gonna overheat. So again full suite temperature, humidity as well as that we can do open contact sensor. If we can do airflow, air pressure, we can do wall detachments so literally your full suite of any sort of, what sort I am looking for environmental analytic, right in the front of the PDU and make it very, very simple to deploy very, very simple to manage and monitor.

9:50 Steve St. Clair

And you are getting it down to a rack level also. Let's talk about rack-specific monitoring. You mentioned that you have a smart rack controller.

9:59 Richard Brooke

In that smart rack controller, what that lets your costumers do is it is a port consolidator, so we can take the non-Raritan environment, we can take our temperature probes, we can take our humidity and insert an environmental probe as well as our assets strips for example and deploy that up of one smart rack which is our EMX controller. It's a port consolidator gives us the ability to deploy up to 132 probes out there. We can do this across rows and racks, we can hang a web camera off of it and the cool thing is we can determine an analysis on it; it sets ties back into our Power IQ software. We can put a series of thresholds and alerts on this. Where if temperature probe 28 that we know is in this rack goes above a certain temperature threshold to alert me to tell me, hey, it's hot in here. I just wanna above that temperature threshold you set, now this could be something simple as someone came in the data center, they put their backpack, their briefcase down in front of the rack it's blocking the cooling event or maybe we have a serious problem you know maybe that the correct units failed and we are not getting air into that data center. So that's the cool thing about the EMXs it takes the one of the damndest things in the data center the rack and it helps makes to work.

11:20 Steve St. Clair

Now this -- we've talked a lot about how our PDUs, Raritan PDUs help to provide tons and tons of data as much as a data center what it sounds like and it's granular data. The next thing is there is in this flood of data. It's almost an embarrassment of riches how do I then proceed to get the most out of it and you just mentioned the solution is Power IQ, right?

11:47 Richard Brooke

Right. Right. Power IQ is a great, great piece of software. Power IQ included two things, it is gonna act as a PDU management tool and it's gonna act as an analytics engine. So the first part it can do they can act as a PDU management tool. Now, what's cool about this is it's really an agnostic piece of software. It's gonna work the sites with Raritan. It's gonna work with every major brand of PDU out there. Literally, we support having nature brands. So the cool thing is you got your existing environment with all of our competitors, all the different PDUs out there. This gives us one, I hate using marketing terms, one pane of glass, one tool to manage every PDU across my data center or centers I mean that customers that are actually monitoring this across five data centers, six data centers across the country and it gives us that ability to manage and monitor all of our PDUs. So it's a great tool from that prospective. Now, which really gets cool is it takes all that data all that data that our PDUs and other guys PDUs are turning out and this is the analytic's tool. It's gonna be able to take that data and basically regurgitate it you know kinda bad terms be using here in the morning it just that regurgitated out in an understandable format. Think of your electric bill. People just get their bills from their energy provider and they go "Umm go to my room and check 450. Nobody questions it. We just the blame the question and we just blindly fill out that check and sent to the electric company.

13:25 Steve St. Clair

Even if it's going up -- even if it's going up $200 that month. Oh, I guess we're used more electricity, you know.

13:31 Richard Brooke

Exactly. Exactly. What if I can give you electric bill for your house that showed you every outlet in your house and how long it was on for and how much that cost me and, how long has the kid been playing the Xbox for this month and how much is that costing us. Who left the light out of the garage last night and this is cost of how much. You can do that with Power IQ, we can take this to the rack, to the road, to the device and we can take all those analytics of those PDUs report back the amps, the volts, the watts, the CO2 with the carbon factor, the cost of energy and be able to provide that in a full fleet of reports that what did this every brand extra server compared to brand Y, what did every switch in April, what was the average medium temperature. You can do it by user, how much did Bob working overtime cost me with having his equipment on, so it gives us that ability to take all that raw data and again by user, by row, by rack, by device, by amp, by volt, by kWh, by CO2 output, it gives us that really cool -- other example I could say is grocery bill. If you went to the grocery store with your cart and push it up there and the clerk would pick you and said 187 bucks. You might wanna go can you tell you everything, but now I can give you an itemized bill this is how much everything when you get that bill from the grocery store you will see how much everything cost, the same thing in Power IQ. I can see how much my server has cost, how much my switch has cost, how much X cost, Y cost, it gives you that pure information that ability to take that information and break it down by amps, by volts, by watts, by CO2, by some of different factors and then a full series of reporting capability, by who, by where and it's the coolest factor by being able to do reports and Power IQ isn't good enough. We can also take that information on Power IQ and we can output it into an ODBC program you know that's repeat question reports Microsoft access. Anything that ODBC compliant can take that information from Power IQ when you can do your own customer reports as well do. It's a great piece of software.

15:57 Steve St. Clair

So now I can actually, I suspect interact with other things are going on, other software that you are using in your company like, what you just mentioned. I can build it into corporate wide reports and stuff.

16:10 Richard Brooke

Yeah. A lot of the corporation has the ODBC reporting expert and they can take that raw data by ODBC and then do their own custom reports. And, and you know this is you can tell us watch a lot a late night s TV and wait there is more. The coolest factor is yes there is an app for that. We can add the great Power IQ on the iPhone. I can be out at night and I can get an alert on my phone that we have one of server is causing a trip or a break or something and right there on my iPhone my iPad I can power cycle that outlet. Anything I can do on Power IQ I can do on my phone, it's cool. Oh yeah, people at the bar always come over to me and go, wow, are you power cycling your server?

16:56 Steve St. Clair

I won't take that any further. The whole bar, we'll just stop there.

17:01 Richard Brooke

It really is an amazing piece of software.

17:04 Steve St. Clair

I love it.

17:05 Richard Brooke

The coolest, there is so much cool stuff it does with Raritan PDUs but if you use in other guys staff, hey we work with them as well to and we do a phenomenal job at taking information from the other guys PDUs also.

17:16 Steve St. Clair

So it's totally diagnostic, I can deploy it right away, no worries about it working, playing nice with others.

17:23 Richard Brooke

Yup. We played with all the other kids in the playground.

17:26 Steve St. Clair

That's huge that's a big plus. So I'm sure that's piece of deployment over as well, right.

17:33 Richard Brooke

Hey, I can be - Even I can do it.

17:37 Steve St. Clair

What kind of -- what is the buzz out there about Power IQ, coupled with our PDUs?

17:43 Richard Brooke

Well obviously you know you need it. Like I said those PDUs are yelling back at you and whether there are someone else is but that PDUs have a lot to say. I always, like I said they are like teenagers, they are full of information and they wanna show injustice at the sky and say listen to me, tell me what's going on and you know I was joking my training, there is a teenager in the room complaining, and there's nobody there to listen doesn't make a sound. Now, you can take that information and we can listen to what we want and we can disseminate it, regurgitate it back in physical form, they give us that ability 'cause all those PDUs are smart. Whether, other guys out there they are sending information out. They are saying listen to me I want to tell you about my amp range draw and watt consumption and everything else. How do you tape that and make sense out of it and that's the coolest factor we can do at Power IQ then we could do as app.

18:42 Steve St. Clair

Right. So now finally data centers can get down to an extremely granular reporting level, I mean if data center managers are right down at the rack level and beyond, right and able to really keep an eye on things seamlessly without crushing their stuff and one person could do this, right?

19:00 Richard Brooke

Exactly. They can get up to the rack level, to the plug level, to the device level. It has that ability to say, hey this is what I am what consuming; this is how much I am drawing. This is, how much resources I am taking and it also ties back and probably about this the temperature and humidity probes, a coolest factor no cut intended in there is Power IQ has a built-in what's called Ashrae Psychometric Chart and ASHRAE is American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and they have this cool chart that says "well this is where you temperature should be is" so all your data centers should be temperature and humidity wise and we can basically bring in our temperature probes or any of the other guys temperature probes out there as well too and overlay this into this Ashrae Psychometric Chart. So we can see it or within ashrae guideline on where we should be for temperature and humidity or we can go so far as to put our own parameters in there. A lot of server manufactures realized that the product As being made better. It can handle a more harsher environment so we have seen server manufacture saying, "you know what we will certify our servers to run in the 1995 degree environment". Now you can raise you air handler to save money and we can take those manufacturer settings now and incorporate our own guidelines into our Ashrae Psychometric Chart so the cool thing is this is live, real time and it's showing me every temperature problem at my data center or I can break it down by data center, by racks, by rows and I can see where I have a hot spot. I can see where I am over provisioned or where I am under provisioned and it goes back to again partner say 4% of your cooling budget by raising your air handler to 1 degree. I can do it smart now. Now I can see visual graphs of who is hot, who's not.

20:53 Steve St. Clair

I've heard data centers compared to gigantic refrigerators. You know you walk in and you are just blasted by the cold remember 10 to 15 years ago walking down in Florida you can imagine that Florida in the summer it was literally like walking in a giant refrigerator and I am sure the power was like a vacuum going out there, but now those things are kind of ending, aren't they?

21:20 Richard Brooke

Exactly, because if you walk in the data center and you need a coat it is something is not right. You're overspending money. How much are you spending to over provision those servers? How much you overspending and you are spending a lot of energy. You're cracking it; your handle is running full speed that means you are consuming more electricity. You are putting seal to the air. Do the right thing for the environment too. This also helps in that called Green Initiative that we can show you actually it's a cool factor in power accumulators we can ask the chart, CO2 output. We need to get some numbers from branch provider, but we can saw, hey you know what by taking this future steps, we can trend, you use to put extra amount of time to seal to the air, you reduce that and actually a lot of energy providers next time your online, your listeners can go on just Google or do a search engine on energy data center energy rebates and the say it could reach and provide, but a lot of these guys will say hey you know if you can show trend in CO2 reduction. We're going give you a cheaper rate. So there is much cool information we can provide within Power IQ.

22:34 Steve St. Clair

That also looks really good in the corporate annual report.

22:37 Richard Brooke

Exactly. Exactly. We can show...

22:39 Steve St. Clair

Taking those steps and use Green footprint right.

22:42 Richard Brooke

We were green corporate citizens, we reduced their CO2 output by acts, we reduced our energy cost in the data center by acts, that can make everybody looked like a hero.

22:51 Steve St. Clair

Yup. Absolutely.

22:52 Richard Brooke

And you can do it with power IQ.

22:54 Steve St. Clair

Very cool Richard what a word the 20-minute mark. I told you we would try to keep it, busy Fridays before we head out for the long weekend here. I greatly appreciate the input Richard and again thanks a lot. Anyone who wants to check back in should learn more raritan.com and from there they could follow us on Twitter, Facebook and few other social medias definitely check out the blog and Richard any final words, advice?

23:24 Richard Brooke

No, my pleasure it's great to be here by Raritan.

23:31 Steve St. Clair

Have a great weekend thanks everyone raritan.com bye, bye Richard.