Data centers have been for long used as a cost-effective and energy efficient method to store massive chunks of information; however, the power usage of these centers has been so enormous that new tools are being used in the battle of reducing power consumption and cooling costs. With companies designing new ways of reducing the power usage effectiveness rating (PUE) i.e. the amount of electricity drawn to get a unit of computing done, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Microsoft are vying to get to the least possible PUE. Most of the older companies reach a PUE of 1.9-2.0, with all the extra power used for cooling, lights and other ancillary units.
Average PUE rating at 2.0, Google manages 1.22 or 1.16 at its new data centers, Yahoo on the second line, operates on a 1.07 PUE. FACEBOOK leads with a least PUE of 1.06.
“Operating for efficiency and failing will get you yelled at. Operating for availability and failing will get you fired,” summed up Steve Hassell, president of the Avocent business unit of Emerson Network Power, which specializes in producing power management devices. When availability in the data center is of prime importance, surplus power usage needs to be reduced by analyzing the device’s real time needs. Jason Hoffman, CEO of a San Francisco-based company- ‘Joyent’, which provides infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) from a dozen data centers understands that if the power consumption is reduced, his infrastructure will be amongst the big names of the market and an added feature on the server racks that it ships to other cloud computing enterprises.
In an interview, Hoffmann described an appliance that can amass and perform analytics on the data received from data centers, just like the microcontrollers, and the service processors on the motherboard. The Avocent Universal Management Gateway accepts information spewed out by such components and sends it to the network gateway. Same work is carried on by the network interface cards, and switches on the servers, and other data centers.
After EMERSON acquired AVOCENT, Information from the gateway is delivered to Emerson’s Trellis data center management software, from where it accomplishes different goals including power consumption.
The four modules are-
Inventory Manager: It is a device mapping system that detects communication between devices and tracks their location to build an essential blue-print of the data center.
Site Manager: reports about the health of the data center, the temperature and voltage fluctuations if any, and the cooling status of the data center. It has the ability to collect information from every single device in order to report on the health of the data center.
Change Planner: enables capturing device additions, moves, or decommissions and keeps the inventory manager informed on every bit of fresh information.
Energy Insight: calculates total data center energy consumption and electricity costs, as well as individual device consumption. According to Hassel, energy insight can also be used to calculate the PUE of the data center.
Trellis software and the Universal Management Gateway provide “big data and big data analytics for the data center,” said Hoffman.
Joyent has gained enough experience after its acquisition of AVOCENT that it’s become a secondary business to its IaaS, offered as a feature on a server rack of Joyent infrastructure destined for installation on a customer’s premises
Emerson says in information on its website that the Gateway-Trellis combination can save 25% of a data center’s energy consumption. Hoffman claims that savings is borne out by Joyent’s own experience. “We think we can do better than that,” he added.
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