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Survey Yields Top Six Issues Facing Data Center Operators Today: Part Two - Running Out of Power

October 20, 2011

Recently, we brought you the first part of a six-part series chronicling the ways in which Chatsworth Products, Inc. (CPI) is addressing the top concerns of data center managers today. As documented by the IT blog Data Center Knowledge in their 2011 Data Center Market Insight Report, these concerns reveal how skyrocketing demand in data storage and maintenance is stretching the limits of capacity, power, design and more. Today, we explore the fifth-most pressing issue: Running Out of Power.

Running Out of Power?True story: I once worked in an office setting of about 10 people, all sharing the same common area with different workstations. We had the usual set-up - electrical outlet below the desk, surge protector powering a computer, monitor, the occasional lamp and/or digital picture frame, and on one particularly cold December morning, a portable space heater (what can I say, the building was an ice-box!).

Long story short, I bypassed the surge protector, plugged in, flipped the switch, then heard a collective GROAN and GASP as the juice literally ran dry. Power, OUT. For those in the middle of typing an email or meticulously editing the next ad, I could only hope the auto-save feature would save me from the wrath of my disgruntled, and yup, powerless, co-workers. The space heater (see: straw that broke the camel's back) sapped the power, caused us all to crash, and taught me an important lesson in economizing one's electricity use.

For data center managers dealing with economizing electricity use and power management, the stakes are unequivocally higher and the electrical infrastructure, far more complex. Already considered one of the world's biggest energy hogs, data centers are now predicted to use 19 percent more energy in the next 12 months (over the previous year), according to results of a global industry census conducted by DatacenterDynamics.

And while the rate at which we consume electricity in the data center continues to grow, so too have the number of options available to better manage and moderate this power. Those in fear of running out of power need only run their concerns by CPI for total support.

CPI Power StripThat's because we offer power management at every level. For basic applications with relatively low power requirements, CPI's rack-mount Power Strips come in basic or metered models, NEMA and IEC style outlets and plugs, and can be configured as multiple strips offering much needed power redundancy.



In large-scale data centers, our rack-mount Power Distribution Units (PDUs) allow users to remotely monitor power use (down to the individual device/server level), temperature and humidity using CPI's Scalable Enterprise Management Application (SEMA) Software.

For these intelligent PDU offerings, CPI also offers the optional features of an in-line ammeter that displays the amount of current being used and switchable outlets for remote power cycling, as well as the ability to monitor each individual outlet (port monitoring).

Furthermore, the availability of Three-Phase Power in many of CPI's Power Strips and PDUs offers almost two times the power over single-phase at a lower cabling cost, better load balancing, more efficient, higher density and scalable for future growth.

When it comes to remotely managing all this power, CPI's SEMA Software offers data center operators:

SEMA Software on a 1U Rack - KVM switching and asset management

 - Intuitive web-based interface with map, room and rack-level views of data center

 - Storage of critical info about each device in searchable, centralized database
 - Current-usage reporting, power cycling and threshold alarms when paired with controlled CPI PDUs


The precision in power management doesn't end there. For those wishing to first analyze their power usage effectiveness (PUE) before deciding upon new equipment, CPI even offers a powerful PUE Calculator to help lower your power into the data center over power used to run the infrastructure ratio (for an even deeper explanation of PUE, click here).

While my own "running out of power" moment caused some temporary headaches around the office, there's no denying that poor power management at the data center level can affect A LOT more than 10 people. Before you hear the collective groans and gasps of your customers and clients, do the right thing: power up. Jeff Cihocki, eContent Specialist 

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