The Raritan Blog

How desktop technology drives data centres

Posted on July 15, 2010 by Website Administrator  |  Comment (0)

One would assume that data centers are a place where high tech gets introduced and the mass PC market is a followers market. However there are plenty of examples where it is just the other way around. For years the processor market was driven by the battle between Intel and AMD this battle was fought where the volume was and is — consumer PCs.  Another good example is the keyboard interface. Servers still used PS/2 when it was already hard to get a non-USB keyboard for consumer PCs. Also the good old VGA interface has only survived in the metal rack cabinets of  data centers and data rooms.

Two more innovations from the main stream consumer PC market are about to enter the DC world and worth to be mentioned:


Can I Get Some Feedback Here?

Posted on July 8, 2010 by Website Administrator  |  Comment (0)

Data Center automation is a worthy and important goal for most organizations. This may be true whether you are running lights out, collocated or just with a lean staff. The more routine operations and processes that can be removed from required human intervention the better. Potential benefits range from improved delivery on SLAs, extended equipment life, reduced labor costs and even enhanced job satisfaction.

Automation systems are simply feedback loops. The components may already exist in your datacenter including sensors, polling and trap management and rule driven software to effect change. Unfortunately the right sensors in the right places in the right quantities are often lacking to complete the loop.

This is part one of a multipart series on automation techniques beginning with heat load management and related sensors.

CRAC / AHU Feedback Control

Below are just a few scenarios that can be a high value target for temperature sensor based automation:

  • Scenario One: What if your critical applications are in a collocated facility far away from your IT and facilities staff? How would a cooling failure impact you equipment and more importantly how would you organization react?
  • Scenario Two: What if your heat load varies significantly with hours of peak processing?
  • Scenario Three: What if an obstruction is blocking or a pulled floor tile is reducing air flow?

Temperature sensors can provide the input necessary to proactively alert and remedy these situations.

 

Scenario One:

With temperature sensors in the rack and an application that can perform power control we can automatically shed the heat load where temperatures have passed a critical threshold in a zone.

Raritan PX PDUs have this capability when temperature sensors are attached. No additional software or hardware needed. Furthermore we can turn the same systems back up automatically when the temperature is sensed to have lowered to an acceptable level.

Additionally a Raritan PDU can send an SNMP trap alert based on temperature sensor readings to any SNMP trap manager and any SNMP enabled application may perform the same outlet control on the Raritan PDU.

 

Scenario Two:

Without automation if your heat load varies by utilization you have two choices. Run cooler than needed for much of the processing day wasting energy or run hot and impact the reliability of your equipment. When we introduce automation we can change our cooling output to match the heat load and eliminate the undesirable outcomes above.

Temperature sensors in the rack can provide trigger data to an application capable of altering the CRAC unit output to match the current heat load. A poll of all sensors could be implemented or SNMP alerts could be sent to this controller application based on thresholds such as with the Raritan PDU attached sensors.

 

Scenario Three:

Increasing compute densities require increasing levels of precision when managing environmentals. Ashrae recommendations are for high, mid and low sensor placement that can facilitate temperature gradient mapping. With a single sensor in a rack an open KVM drawer could go undetected while obstructing airflow to equipment behind it. Similarly missing floor tiles can alter air pressure needed for the cool air delivery. Both air flow and temperature sensors are useful in this scenario.

Raritan PDU connected sensors have associated X, Y & Z coordinates to facilitate a proactive approach for immediate identification and location of these types of situations.

The next feedback loop automation we will look at next will focus on applications.

 

Jonathan Davis


Raritan will be at booth #1931 at the August 3-5 LandWarNet event in Orlando.

Posted on July 7, 2010 by Dorothy Ochs  |  Comment (0)

This conference is the premier forum to bring Government and Industry together to openly communicate commercial best business practices and government implementations. Learn about Raritan’s latest KVM, power and infrastructure management solutions.  For more info, visit http://www.afcea.org/events/landwarnet/10/intro.asp.


More with Wireless

Posted on July 6, 2010 by Swen Anderson  |  Comment (0)

Green IT is the focus of attention these days all around the globe. Managers of big Data centers play a leading role in the adaption and implementation of processes, tools and devices that support the objective of becoming “green”. They start changing their power infrastructure in order to show the energy consumption in the Data center and generate power usage charts on rack level or even server level by measuring and logging data over a long time. Reasons for this new behavior are very complex. On the one hand there are new rules or laws forcing Data center Managers to save energy and reduce the Carbon footprint. Others simply want to save money by saving energy. A third group of Data centers are looking for a solution to exactly measure the power consumption so that these costs can be billed to their customers. Last but not least there are efforts to fully use the capacity of a Data center and thus postpone expansions or moves and, again, save money – all not possible without an active and intelligent energy management system.

Raritan is extremely focused on these efforts. With our intelligent power products we provide solutions for our customers which help them to comply with the above described requirements. However, this confronts our customers with the problem of transmitting and finally storing data generated by intelligent energy management solutions. For our customers this means they have to provide IT communication and storage infrastructure and embed it in existing infrastructure. We have learned that this task is a quite challenging logistical issue for many customers since it requires a smooth cooperation between IT Managers and persons in charge for Facility.


Centralized Data Center Management in a Heterogeneous Environment

Posted on June 29, 2010 by Website Administrator  |  Comment (0)

Many IT professionals battle with the issue of gaining convenient “single pane of glass” access to multi-vendor and multi-technology data center servers, equipment and devices.  Not only do an overwhelming majority of data centers include servers from different vendors, but they also require an array of methods to access and control them.  Virtualized servers, embedded service processors (ESP), servers with KVM ports, intelligent PDU’s, and serial access routers all require frequent access and maintenance.

To meet this need, centralized management systems must to be able to support access to virtual machines and ESP-ready servers — in addition to the traditional KVM access to which we’re all accustomed.

Many administrators are implementing a hybrid approach, while others continue to expand on their KVM footprint because of its inherent performance, manageability and security features.  Cost is also an obvious consideration.

Performance: ESP management features can be less “clean” and less convenient than a full-featured KVM platform.  KVM solutions provide optimal video quality at any bandwidth, a broad choice of remote clients, and robust features like video scaling, full-screen mode, and Absolute Mouse Synchronization.  There are also more choices when it comes to building redundancy and failover functions into the solution.

Manageability: KVM switches typically provide “plug and play” deployment features.  And configuring a single KVM switch takes much less time than configuring 64 embedded processors.  Although server vendors claim automatic ESP discovery, IP address ranges must be provided to the management interface.  Also, each ESP physical connection requires network setup, user privileges, SNMP scripting, etc.  Comparatively, a heterogeneous management system — if designed properly — can be set up quickly, provides thorough reporting capabilities and delivers centralized user rights management and authorization.

Security: Centralized authentication management is critical; not only for efficient user management — but also to ensure that the right people have access to the right equipment.  Built-in ESPs are often lacking in this area.

Costs: ESPs often incur incremental cost for advanced features.  They may be advertised as free, but embedded solutions may not include rights to advanced features; licenses for those are additional — as much as $500 per port.  The average KVM over IP solution comes in at around $200 per server.  Also, only one IP address is needed per KVM switch, while each ESP typically uses up another one on its own.  The average TCO for a network port in a data center is $200.   With the use of a 32 or 64 port KVM switch, a 32 to 64-to1 reduction can be made in IP addresses, network ports and cable runs.

Local Port: If there is a network failure, KVM solutions typically provide local access; embedded solutions do not.

Of course, some homework is needed to help determine if traditional KVM or ESPs are the better match for your organization.  Whichever you choose, your management system should be able to accommodate both.


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