Everyone wants to run an energy efficient data center but too often companies take a few steps to trim their energy use, pat themselves on the back and leave it at that. But data centers are constantly changing, so the energy conservation measures you take today may not still be bearing fruit next month or the month after that. To be sure, you need to consistently monitor and measure your energy use.
That’s where data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools come in. As we’ve covered previously, DCIM tools help companies track power usage and “see” the consequences of moves, adds and changes from a power and cooling perspective. When used effectively, DCIM tools can help companies conserve energy in at least four ways.
1. Monitor PUE. The old adage, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” most certainly applies to managing data center energy use. DCIM software allows you to tap into the power measurement devices installed throughout the data center to keep tabs on usage, right down to the rack level if you want. That enables data center managers to monitor changes in their power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating in real time. If you see your PUE suddenly start climbing, and it’s not 90 degrees outside, then you know something is going on that requires investigation. The DCIM system should enable you to look at what’s going on with your CRAC units, UPSs, racks and the like to find the problem.
2. Manage cooling. Cooling components are typically the largest energy consumers in the data center, and present the biggest opportunity for energy savings. The ability to monitor and manage the cooling system components as a whole is important to ensure both correct operating temperatures and maximum efficiency. When data center administrators attempt to manually control cooling settings, they too often wind up in situations where the units are essentially fighting each other. Maybe one administrator sees a particular rack is getting too hot, so he adjusts the temperature of the nearest CRAC unit. But another area of the data center gets too cold as a result, so a different administrator adjusts another CRAC unit accordingly. It’s like driving a car with your foot on the brake and the gas at the same time. DCIM tools will help you manage the CRAC units in unison, to find the most effective settings for the data center as a whole.
3. Shift IT loads to remove hot spots. A better way to deal with a rack that’s getting too hot is to understand why and do something about it. Typically it’s because there’s too much IT load on the servers in the rack for the available cooling capacity. In that case, virtualization software makes it fairly simple to shift the load to a different rack while DCIM software can help you find a rack that’s got a relatively light load and thus can take on more processing. You’re spreading the heat load out across the data center, allowing the CRAC units work more effectively – and with less power.
4. Helps with moves, adds and changes. Taking this kind of holistic approach to data center management also helps administrators deal with the moves, adds and changes that continually occur within any data center. If you’ve got a bunch of new blade servers coming in, you may be tempted to simply find a rack with empty space and install them there. But depending on what other loads are already on that rack, that may not be the best choice. DCIM software can help you find the rack that not only has space, but available power – and one that won’t get too hot with the new load. Managing the data center as a whole in this fashion helps reduce overall energy consumption.
Capacity planning in the Data Center is a challenging exercise because it historically relies on vendor nameplate power specifications for their assets.
Name plate specifications represent the worst case power draw for Data Center assets and are typically much higher than actual usage (50% in average). As a result, the capacity planner may over allocate the power and cooling requirements for their Data Center.
IT Optimize, the new module of Data Center Operation (Schneider Electric DCIM suite) increases utilization of infrastructure and IT assets through accurate, detailed energy consumption profile of data centers, server by server and rack by rack.
Data Center Operation: IT Optimize monitors IT asset utilization and power consumption to help reduce costs associated with over-provisioning, underutilization, and imbalanced power and cooling throughout the data center.
Business critical analytics tie IT costs to business groups for charge back, provide critical information for build vs. buy decisions and track capacity at the rack, row and room level.
At the core of Data Center Operation: IT Optimize is the GenomeTM library, which continually discovers and monitors individual IT components and collects information to keep track of server specific information. The information forms the building blocks for understanding IT energy consumption and how it impacts the business.
By applying the IT Optimize module to the DCIM installation both IT Managers and Facility Managers will gain a shared insight into the needs of both organizations and obtain shared goals thus bridging the gap between IT and Facilities
Data centers are like living organisms where each part is interdependent on the others, in an environment that is constantly changing. DCIM software can help you monitor and manage the different systems to optimize the efficiency of your data center while maintaining the highest level of availability.