Feeling the heat

Feeling the heat

He points his heat gun at the rack, trying to suss out the data centre hotspots and determine load capacities. It's one of the many tools resellers can use to determine potential problem areas in the data centre before recommending appropriate power management solutions to help clean up the environment and deal with surging energy costs.

From brownouts and power surges to human error, the downtime at data centres can cost big bucks. Businesses need help dealing with high-volume, power-intensive data centres where energy costs are escalating.

"Just as old cars are not as fuel-efficient as newer models, the majority of the country's data centres are using a lot more energy than they should," APC general manager, Gordon Makryllos, said.

"Data centre health is important and needs constant monitoring. Resellers can help customers by doing an audit and vulnerability assessment."

As part of the audit, resellers can assess data centre layout, identify cable clutter under the floor and racks, check airflow, rack security and server protection.

"Capacity is doubling every 18 months, and it's not just CPU power but memory and storage. It keeps on growing," Makryllos said. "Over the next 10 years there's going to be a real issue in terms of power consumption and management."

Problem finding

In addition to heat guns, Emerson Network Power national product manager, Mark Deguara, said resellers could use software modelling programs in a bid to help customers ascertain problem areas in the data centre.

With the software, partners can do a data centre simulation of airflow, hotspots, the impact of blade servers and ramifications across the entire room. "Take a room, put racks in any location, determine the kilowatt requirement and see the heat dissipation," Deguara said. "Those are some of the things that can de analysed with the software."

Industry experts agree blade servers and the rollout of VoIP are pumping up power requirements and driving demand for power management.

"Blade servers put out as much heat as two domestic ovens," Makryllos said. "While we can do a lot more with less, the power demand is increasing."

The migration to converged networks demands a rethink of techniques and systems used to distribute power provision effectively and efficiently.

A review of back-up strategies and a new understanding of power distribution - along with its relationship to systems availability, power over Ethernet, VoIP, real-time performance and UPS configurations - is essential.

Given the growing pressures in the data centre, Makryllos said resellers need to go into an environment and offer a total solution rather than standalone UPS units.

"We need to think about power, cooling and environmental factors in the data centre," he said. "Manageability is a key part and takes into account the physical security via cameras."

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