You Can't Manage What You Can't Measure: Why Power Monitoring is the Key to Better Power Management

April 18, 2022

The following is an excerpt from the May 2022 Inside Networks network infrastructure e-magazine

As data centre managers and operators work to keep pace with rising compute demand around the world, and with rack densities within the data centre increasing to an average of 8-10kW, power distribution into the cabinet or rack now requires a more robust PDU alongside more stringent monitoring and measurement for efficient power management.

Monitor and Manage

Rack-mount PDUs are an established solution for distributing power into equipment racks. And in today's remote working reality, intelligent PDUs with monitoring and switching capabilities have become essential. Additionally, advanced power hungry equipment now requires robust PDU functionalities that allow monitoring and control of power down to the outlet level, helping IT professionals maximise efficiency. In fact, PDUs can be used in high density cabinets full of 1U or 2U rack servers, a few server chassis or networking switches.

As rack density exceeds 8kW, the ideal scenario is now to distribute three-phase power to racks and reduce the number of PDUs needed to power equipment. Powering equipment evenly across the three power phases, also known as load balancing, has become even more critical as higher data demand results in greater reliance on the resources needed to support today's 'always on' world.

By extending power monitoring closer to the equipment, a data centre operator can acquire more precise information on power demands at either the rack level or input level. It is therefore recommended that IT professionals follow a two pronged strategy that includes the integration of intelligent PDUs and DCIM software.

Intelligent Design

Power management in the white space, particularly inside a cabinet, is critical to ensure availability of all IT applications, as well as to minimise the overall energy footprint of the data centre.

Additionally, with efficient power management, it is possible to boost operational efficiency by managing and monitoring power at the rack and device level. Here are a few recommended best practices for achieving this:
  • Equipment utilisation - monitoring of voltage, power and current down to the outlet level provides visibility into the total power consumption for each piece of IT equipment, so data centre managers can see exactly from where power is being drawn.
  • Understand the operating conditions of equipment - hotspots within cabinets are a common cause of equipment downtime. Temperature levels within the white space have a strong correlation to overall energy consumption within the data centre. Having the ability to measure and track inlet and outlet temperature levels at the rack level can help identify servers running ineffectively, aiding load balance and keeping costs in line.
  • Get real time results - it is important to be able to quickly identify an issue when it arises within a server cabinet or rack.
  • Minimise power consumption - remote outlet control allows unused outlets to be turned off and power to be cycled to hung equipment to better manage at rack level. There are several types of relays used within PDUs to control outlet state. B-stable latching relays recycle power to outlets, helping to maintain PDU efficiency levels. They also allow outlets to maintain state after a power event, while ensuring basic power distribution to an outlet is not compromised.
  • Ensure enterprise authentication and secure communication - it is hard to protect data from being compromised if you simply don't know where to put the protective prevention measures in place.
Click here to read the rest of the complete article.
Posted by Jon Barker, CPI Technical Support Manager, Europe at 4/18/2022 6:22:13 AM
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