11 Aug 2008

11 Aug 2008

Receptacle Level Load Monitoring & Control

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Category: Uncategorized

Power monitoring and control at the receptacle or rack level is a hot topic lately. Part of the interest can be attributed to the lure of the unknown – that feeling of “I’m not sure why I want it, but I’ll probably need it!” But there are some really solid reasons for data center managers to consider receptacle-level power monitoring/control solutions.

The ability to trace watts information at the power strip level gives a much clearer picture of how much power a data center consumes. If I have an under-performing asset, it’s easy to earmark for replacement if the problem can be measured down to the receptacle level. If an asset is under-utilized, it can be easily targeted for virtualization.

There are a number of products that can be used for receptacle-level power monitoring and management. Take, for instance, the RPC series of power management solutions from Baytech. These units let you manage power more efficiently by remotely turning on/off receptacles or rebooting unresponsive equipment. (You can read more about Baytech’s products in “Better Monitor & Control Power” at Processor.com.)

Raritan offers Remote Power Control (RPC) units that allow you to control power usage at the socket level. The units have individual LED indicators for each receptacle and, in the case of an outage, offers receptacle status retention so that power is restored only to those assets that were on previously.

There are also the Synaptix™ power distribution units from Epicenter. These products come in a variety of receptacle configurations, offer the ability to measure consumption at each individual receptacle, and can be accessed remotely.

It will be interesting to measure the true impact of these units on data center power efficiency. Don’t be surprised to find me writing a white paper on the use of receptacle-level power solutions in the coming months.

Comments (3)

  1. Matt on 22nd Aug 2008

    Absolutely true story.

    In a colocation in central Ohio, we rent a couple of racks. The primary rack there has two power sources. They’re not A/B, it’s all primary power, because the rack is /full/ of machines.

    The colo staff was doing maintenance on something unrelated down in the floor and kicked one of our plugs out of the socket.

    Now, if that isn’t bad enough, with half of our rack down, they went to plug it back in, and plugged it into the wrong circuit. 15amps + 15amps on a 20amp circuit is no one’s idea of a good time.

    We’re moving out of that datacenter as soon as our contract is up. In the meantime, we’ve gone with a much higher class facility in upper NJ.

  2. Pete Sacco on 22nd Aug 2008

    Thanks for the story, as unfortunate as it is.

    The sad truth is that the data center co-location and managed services industry is fraught with ‘buyer beware’ risks such as yours.

    Since there are few standards and no regulation, it is up to the individual renting space in these facilities to perform their own investigations in comparing a data center operator’s claims to their actual capabilities.

    PTS has been hired by many clients to evaluate and compare data center spaces prior to relocating their equipment into the facility.

    Today an IT manager doesn’t just need to be an IT expert, they need to be a facility expert too!

  3. S.B. on 19th Nov 2008

    There is an alternative for controling receptacles other than switched PDU’s.
    There is a new product called plug shields made by a company called Agitan. These shields insert into the receptacle and require a proprietary tool for removal. They are low cost and can be implemented without impacting operations.

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