Intelligence + energy + monitoring = efficient data centers

Smart energy management solutions are popping up in places like BT, all in the name of efficiency.

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The company does say it is installing more than 22,000 smart energy meters and over 1500 building energy management systems – as well as an advanced control network over broadband – to monitor and control energy consumption, and that the initiative leverages smart meters, machine to machine communications, forecasting and reporting functions overlaid by a software tool for driving accurate billing and driving out waste energy consumption. Already underway, the systems are being rolled out to more than 110 buildings a month.

Monitoring energy usage is critical for any organization that ones to reduce electricity use, and clearly that’s a top goal of data center managers. The chief metric for data centers, as many of you know, is Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), which compares the total electricity use of the data center facility with the electricity that ends up to the IT load. The closer the PUE is to 1.0, the more efficient the data center is.

I’ve read that a typical place to begin monitoring energy usage is at the UPS, which may not be the best spot since server racks and individual servers (and the more detailed power information they all contain) sit downstream of UPSes. Of course, sensors tracking such data as temperature, humidity and other information not only about the server racks but also about the environment, can be used to effectively monitor and manage power usage.

All the various data points – and you can expect gazillions of them in large data centers where there are hundreds of racks of servers – can make for very complex monitoring. The industry is tackling this through what’s called Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM). DCIM combines software, hardware and sensors to enable a common, real-time monitoring and management platform for all interdependent systems across IT and facility infrastructures.

Just this week, http://www.itracs.com " target="_blank">iTRACS Corporation, Inc., and Intel announced they are working together on a solution that integrates Intel Data Center Manager software suite with iTRACS Converged Physical Infrastructure Management (CPIM) and leverages the collection, management, and analysis of power, temperature, and environmental information at the device level (CPU).

The two companies say this will combine iTRACS' interactive 3D visualization, a single-pane view of the IT environment and "What If?" analysis capabilities with Intel's granular CPU data collection and aggregation, monitoring, trending, and analysis for a much more complete metric than PUE when monitoring and managing a data center's power usage.

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