Data Center Monitoring

The monitoring systems of a data center facility provide visibility into the major environmental factors that can affect availability such as humidity, air pressure, temperature, leak detection and particle count. Branch circuit monitoring and some integrated current transformers (CTs) can pull the details of power consumption from smart plugs or PDUs which will in turn enable you to track efficiency of power down the server or rack. You can realize considerable savings of utility power if you understand the environmental factors that problems of airflow can cause as well as making intelligent adjustments depending on your actual data. In addition, some systems have the availability of graphical representation of real time in the environment of the data center including your Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). Features of monitoring real time enable some systems of a data center to store as well as playback data of the historical environment thus allowing you to easily view, graphically, improvements or challenges of humidity, pressure and temperature for every zone in the data center. The Active Controls integration is one of the most exciting developments of monitoring. These controls use the data provided by the monitoring systems to manage dynamically set points of CRAH temperature and speed fans that are variable, hence providing substantial and immediate power savings.

Ensynch’s NOC

Monitoring of a data center, the sensors of humidity and temperatures, airflow, power meters and efficiency measurements can help alert you to potential dangers while assisting you to reduce the cost of operation. The fundamental mission of the data center use is that it should remain online at all costs, but today, even though availability is still principal, fiscal metrics and costs receive more scrutiny than before. This is because the usage of energy across data centers in the US has reached into the billions. Similarly, an enterprise of e-commerce or a financial firm’s down time can within minutes reach millions. These grave financial consequences require data center managers to be equally proactive in safeguarding both up-time and in addressing inefficiency. In order for them to mange this they need intuitive and impaction tools that go past Excel sheets and simple Visio documents. The data center monitoring tools they choose should provide the data center with the operational intelligence and visibility to continually optimize their facility.

The Power of Visualization

The two main subsets of a data center cooling system are the temperature and airflow. Even so, it has proven very tough to monitor each of these two subsets in a production environment. Representing a snapshot of conditions of operation is the CFD or Computational Fluid Dynamics even though it is valuable for validation of design. When there is a change in these conditions, you require a new model that normally comes with heavy consulting charges. Thermal mapping is a less expensive but flexible alternative to the Computational Fluid Dynamics. The thermal maps offer color coded visibility of real time in the operating environment of a data center, while temperature maps offer temperature profiles that are color coded all through the facility and identify areas of over-cooling or hotspots. Thermal mapping also has humidity maps that monitor and color code profiles of humidity through the facility and pressure maps that compare the differential of pressure between plenums of air delivery and raised spaces of the floor. Unlike the Computational Fluid Dynamics which requires model input, thermal mapping establishes in real time this imagery through the end-to-end solution of hardware and software. The users will immediately see the fruits of their labor as they make improvements.

Branch circuit monitoring evades guess work from equipment provisioning, power usage and capacity planning. Users are able to understand available capacity and circuit loading, drill down to each circuit’s consumption and can even implement protocols and procedures of billing based on the actual usage of circuit power. The power of visibility of the branch circuit should not be underestimated. Alarms can be set around thresholds of power to help users immediately receive notification if there is any danger of tripping in one of the circuits. In addition, the element of color coding offers a clear safety path for installing fresh equipment.

IT and Facility Convergence

There is clear and excellent documentation of the IT and Facility divide in large organizations. Nevertheless, the line is blurring between these two departments in small companies or middle-sized enterprises. Take for example a university or a regional hospital; the physical data may be owned by an IT team of network engineers or system administrators while the staff of the facility works with the infrastructure of the larger campus. To make sure of reliability, the facility’s personnel should not concern themselves only with their comfort zone professions but they also need visibility into the physical infrastructure that provides support to HVAC, UPS, the data center generators. The operations of the data center could be compromised if the chiller of the campus suddenly went offline.

Thermal mapping not only allows real time monitoring solutions to enable professionals to understand the environment of the data center, but they can also pull information about real time from products of supporting infrastructure, and conveniently bring them into a single plane of glass. In other words, the professionals in a data center can have electrical and mechanical diagrams that are ‘one-line’ displayed on the screen.

 In situations where isolated infrastructure reports to a BMS, these systems of monitoring can utilize devices of gateway communication Bacnet and Modbus to pull points of data into the interface of the software. In the event that metering of the remote infrastructure does not occur, in most cases communication cards are installed to facilitate the integration of the system.

There are numerous options of instrumentation given the unique layout and lists of a data center. Some of the likely points of measurements and likely measurements include Rack Cooling Index (RCI), Recirculation airflow percentage and Bypass airflow percentage, Thermal Maps, Humidity, Hot Aisle Temperature and Cold Aisle Temperature. Data center control and monitoring is a crucial element in maintaining utmost availability of your critical operations.

You can also keep up to date with current trends and technology by visiting Data Center Talk where we keep you informed on important changes as they occur.

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