Yahoo! Japan Improves Service Infrastructure Performance with Raritan Intelligent PDUs

To deliver quality digital services to Yahoo! Japan’s more than 55 billion* monthly visitors who come to the site to browse the Internet and access other services, the online information giant has created a responsive and scalable IT infrastructure.

Insight on IT resources —especially power— in its data centers is critical for delivering optimal online services, and supporting the company’s growing businesses and various services websites. Yahoo! JAPAN wanted a more accurate way to monitor how much electricity its IT infrastructure was consuming according to service, and how much power capacity resided in its data centers at any point in time.

Yahoo! JAPAN introduced the Raritan’s PX intelligent rack power distribution units (iPDUs) to its data centers to monitor real-time power consumption, and so decisions could quickly be made on where new servers and racks should be added to support scaling. Real-time energy monitoring also helps the company keep an eye on the health of its data centers.

“Problem-Solving Engine” for the Service Department

Osamu Takizawa, Yahoo! JAPAN’s leader of Data Center Operation Technology - Infrastructure Technology Group 2, in the System Control/Site Operations Department, and his coworker, Jun Akiyama, Yahoo! JAPAN’s Data Center Operation Technology - Infrastructure Technology Group 2, System Control/Site Operations Department, commented on how the Raritan intelligent PDU was adopted and the advantages of doing so.

Takizawa, Akiyama, and the data centers operations teams are responsible for Yahoo! JAPAN’s operating infrastructure which supports billions of monthly visitors. The team focuses on delivering online services supporting the company’s vision of providing users with “problem-solving engines” for interests that range from daily concerns to major social issues.

Takizawa commented, “First, our service department comes up with new ideas to solve customers’ problems. Then, we work towards solving these problems by providing the infrastructure needed to realize these new service ideas.” Akiyama also commented, “Our team is focused on finding solutions to support the service department, and ultimately, the customer.”

Improve Performance in Operating Infrastructure with the Intelligent PDU

The company deployed the Raritan intelligent rack PDU “PX2-1000” series in its data centers because in order to efficiently add enough server capacity to support a large website like Yahoo! JAPAN, power consumption and rack capacity need to be monitored in real-time.

“Before introducing the Raritan intelligent PDU, if we needed information on power consumption we had to contact a data center each time, which was time consuming,” Takizawa said.

The Raritan PX2-1000 intelligent rack PDU provides real-time monitoring and information on: voltage, current, power factor, apparent power (kVA), active power, and kWh units within the PDU. Thus by deploying Raritan’s intelligent PDUs at the IDC Frontier’s Kitakyushu data center in 2011, Yahoo! JAPAN introduced a monitoring tool that is constantly checking power consumption at the rack.

PDU Outlet and Cable Locking Were Part of Yahoo! JAPAN’s Requirements

Previously, power cables would accidentally disconnect from non-Raritan PDUs in Yahoo! JAPAN’s data centers. “The cables disconnect from the PDU sometimes when workers accidentally come in contact with cables, which were already inadvertently loosened by vibration and exhaust heat in the back of server racks,” Akiyama said. The cable issues did not affect customer service because Yahoo! JAPAN’s data centers have redundant servers. However, the team had to solve the cable issue in order to provide stability to the service department.

It was easy to solve this problem for 100V power supplies (used in PCs) as they have a twist-locking system to lock the cables by twisting plugs. However, this was not the case for 200V power supplies.

While searching for alternative PDUs that would resolve the cable issue, Yahoo! JAPAN found a viable solution with Raritan’s intelligent PDUs. “Except for the Raritan products, most of the other products require special proprietary cables. We wanted general-purpose cables,” Akiyama said. Cables attached to a server are too long and hard to deal with, as well as block the heat exhaust. As a result, Yahoo! JAPAN decided to use shorter, general cables and safely adjust wires in the server racks. “Had we needed to introduce an intelligent PDU that required a proprietary cable, we would have needed to change our existing data center infrastructure drastically,” Takizawa said.

Instead, after considering various vendors, Yahoo! JAPAN adopted Raritan’s products so that they could leverage the locking outlet system that prevents unintentional power disconnects in racks.

Highly Rated for Their Quick Customization Capabilities

Another advantage of selecting Raritan is that it allows customers to design intelligent rack PDUs to best meet their data center infrastructure needs and power requirements. Customers are able to select PDU options in a number of categories such as: plug type, input cord length, outlet type, outlet count, voltage, current, PDU color, and single-phase or three-phase configurations.

Aside from the aforementioned locking outlet system, Raritan fulfilled several customization requirements for Yahoo! JAPAN. Akiyama highly valued Raritan’s speed for delivering customized products. “They were responsive and delivered what we wanted, when we needed it,” he said.

“They were responsive and delivered what we wanted, when we needed it.”
Jun Akiyama
DC Operation Technology, Infrastructure Technology Group 2, System Control/Site Operations Department, Yahoo! JAPAN

According to Yahoo! JAPAN, Raritan’s intelligent PDU is dramatically improving work and operations efficiency. By deploying Raritan’s PDU, Yahoo! JAPAN can easily find existing power capacity to support server adds and changes, and data center operators can focus on operation without worrying about cables disconnecting.

While expanding its footprint, Yahoo! JAPAN introduced Raritan’s intelligent PDU at the Shirakawa data center, managed by its group company, IDC Frontier. There, Raritan’s products will continue to play an active part in Yahoo! JAPAN’s data center operations that Takizawa and Akiyama are always looking to improve. In fact, the Shirakawa data center is planning to introduce additional intelligent PDUs in the future.

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Customer

Yahoo! Japan

Challenges
  • Yahoo! Japan needed to monitor data center power usage in real-time in order to facilitate scaling and streamline operations. The company also needed to eliminate accidental power cable disconnections from its existing rack PDUs.
Solutions
  • Raritan PX Intelligent rack PDU “PX2-1000” series with locking outlet system
Benefits
  • Yahoo! can easily access power consumption and power capacity at the rack level and make informed decisions when and where to add additional servers.
  • Intelligent PDUs with outlet locking system improve uptime, without requiring major changes to the IT infrastructure.

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