As a recognized leader in application delivery networking, F5 Networks helps customers deliver the fastest, most secure and reliable applications to anyone, anywhere, on any device, at any time. With F5 solutions, organizations can deploy applications in any environment — from the data center to the cloud — and also protect those applications, their data, and their users.
F5’s main product development lab in Seattle, WA, houses the work of 25 separate technology teams, and provides access to more than 300 developer and testers who constantly test and deploy new software services while shuffling equipment in and out of the lab. So when the lab began running out of power and cooling capacity, something had to be done urgently.
“First we wanted to monitor all of the power for all of the teams that were in our lab. We wanted to see what they were using and we needed to be able to monitor at a high level,” said Kiel Anderson, Senior Lab Network Engineer at F5.
“Our next problem was that we were running out of cooling. We had a total AC outage here once and our entire lab had no air conditioning for four hours. About 30 minutes into it, it started getting too hot in there. These were both big drivers for pushing to get software for real-time monitoring.”
Additionally, the lab team needed to put together a recovery plan in the event of an unplanned cooling outage in order to keep high priority equipment up and running.
Anderson and team evaluated several solutions on the market and decided Raritan’s DCIM energy monitoring software, Power IQ (PIQ), and environmental sensors were best suited to address the challenges they were facing. PIQ was deployed to all 118 racks located in the lab to monitor F5 devices, as well as pre-existing Raritan and APC rack PDUs.
“We compared Raritan’s DCIM solution with other vendors and found that it had the interface we were looking for, had the ability to work with our other applications through a robust API, and was very user friendly. It was just a good quality product,” said Anderson.
On the cooling side, the F5 team determined that they would convert their older lab by creating a cold aisle separation. However, due to the amount of equipment going in and out of the lab, the temperatures in the cold aisles would continually fluctuate. So the team deployed over 100 Raritan temperature/humidity sensors (95 more than had previously been used) connected to Raritan intelligent PDUs.
Raritan’s DCIM software and environmental sensors have been deployed as a part of a comprehensive iterative strategy that has produced a marked reduction in energy consumption and an increase in total capacity.
“The largest improvement that I see is being able to monitor power usage in our lab and making sure that our PDUs don’t get overloaded. We’ve gone through a few retirement phases and we can track that with the graphs in PIQ — we see the power usage going down. Being able to see the temperature throughout our lab is also pivotal,” said Anderson.
Anderson also went on to note that PIQ has allowed the F5 team to develop a recovery plan in the event of cooling being down. “Being able to shutdown teams that are non-critical with a click of a mouse through the PIQ interface is a big help for us.” Not coincidentally, the teams also plan to use this graceful shutdown feature to conserve power when devices are not in use.
F5 is building on the success it has had with its PIQ deployment and improving its existing asset tracking system by deploying Raritan’s DCIM operations software, dcTrack, and intelligent asset tags and sensors.
“Being able to plan for the equipment coming in and out is huge, especially with a dynamic lab like ours. I’m looking forward to getting all of that info into dcTrack and being able to present that, along with temperatures and power usage throughout, on a monitor in our lab. Raritan has always worked to give us what we need,” said Anderson.
F5 Networks, Inc. is the global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), helping organizations successfully deliver applications to users anywhere at any time. The world’s largest enterprises and service providers rely on F5 to stay ahead of cloud, security, and mobility trends.
F5’s main product development lab was running out of power and cooling capacity and needed a way to easily monitor and manage how effectively both were being utilized.
F5 is now able to monitor power usage throughout the lab and ensure equipment is never overloaded. Environmental sensors deployed throughout the lab provide continuous feedback on lab temperatures and help ensure adequate cooling to critical devices.