The Raritan Blog

Brownouts Looming: What’s Your Data Center Plan?

Jessica Ciesla
July 18, 2018

As temperatures continue to rise in the summer months and energy clusters form, data center managers find themselves preparing for the upcoming "outage season." In fact, from June to August more data centers experience outages than during any other time of the year. These outages are due, in part, to the rapidly rising increase in power demands that can no longer be met by an archaic power infrastructure. In addition to their fight to avoid outages, data centers are left fighting external temperatures that can wreak havoc on ill-prepared facilities. Fortunately, there is a bit of good news; with the right tools savvy data center managers can beat the summer heat and avoid the brownouts that are lurking behind every heatwave.

Select the Right Tools to Monitor Summer Heat Waves and Energy Surges

Fighting brownouts starts with a good spring cleaning. No, this doesn't mean hiring a qualified crew to clean the data center, it means completing an annual or quarterly health management check. During this spring cleaning inspection, data center managers should identify which units are no longer operating at efficient levels. They should also ensure that real-time data analytics have been installed via an infrastructure management (DCIM) tool, such as Power IQ. The latter tool enables data center managers to efficiently monitor and utilize existing data center power infrastructure. They can also review health maps, cooling charts, and vital reports in real-time. These insights allow data center managers to more effectively respond to real-time power trends and loads.

Speaking of power trends, the right power distribution methods can go a long way towards preventing unwanted and costly data center outages. Raritan’s PX intelligent rack PDU Series is much more than a simple power distribution tool. In fact, the PDU series offers real-time power monitoring, enhanced data center infrastructure management, and environmental sensors that actively assess interior and exterior conditions. With outlet switching, three-phase power distribution, and individual outlet metering, the PX Series is the trusted tool of the world's largest data center operators. 

Leverage Real-Time Monitoring to Act Before a Summer Outage Strikes 

Did you know that the average cost of a data center outage is $28,900? However, when the outage impacts a large company, such as Delta Airlines infamous 2017 outage, the costs can be upwards of $100 million. With these costly factors lurking, data centers need to leverage real-time monitoring tools if they want to collect the actionable data needed to maximize cooling efficiency and power usage during brownout season. Unfortunately, a recent study revealed that 32 percent of data managers lack the tools needed to gather, analyze, and react to actionable data sources. Additionally, as many as one in five data centers only leverage rack level thermal sensors coupled with spreadsheets to maximize their cooling efficiency. The latter scenarios set the stage for costly data center outages. 

The solution to avoiding unwanted outages requires data centers to use tools that are specifically designed to combat excessive energy consumption and an over extended power grid during the summer months. Raritan's PX 5000 Series PDUs are equipped with bi-state latching relays, which means that they consume 70 percent less energy than a conventional alternative. Additionally, the PDUs use outlet sequencing to minimize in-rush current overloading. The bi-state latching relays can also be set to retain an on / off state permanently, which ensures that critical power is maintained in the unlikely event of a PDU failure. Increased metering accuracy that is measured on all power load types, including real-world loads, offers the insights that data centers need to identify power feeds, lower the risks of unexpected downtime, and reduce errors. These benefits coupled with remote power controls give data center managers the capabilities that they need to instantaneously reboot hung servers or provision outlets for new devices. 

The Bottom Line: Effective Tools to Mitigate the Risks of Summer Outages 

The moral of the story is simple: if data center managers want to avoid the risks associated with a predicted uptick in brownouts, then they need to take the right steps to ensure that they are properly prepared. These steps include using the right tools, such as the Raritan PX intelligent PDUs, which are designed to effectively help data centers avoid outages. Through real-time data monitoring and power distribution tools that provide outlet switching, accurate metering, and environmental sensors, data center managers can effectively beat the summer heat and avoid unexpected downtime.

Learn more about Raritan's Intelligent PDUs here