Special Coverage Series

Network Computing

Special Coverage Series

Commentary

Ken Miller

GE Targets Data Centers With New Business Unit

GE has launched a new business unit called Critical Power that combines products and services for industries such as data centers and telco providers that require reliable, efficient electrical systems.

This week GE announced the creation of a new business unit called Critical Power. The new business combines services and products designed for industries that require reliable supplies of electricity, including data centers, telecommunications facilities and hospitals.

I spoke with Jeff Schnitzer, president of the newly formed Critical Power business, to get more details. GE is taking power quality products, power switching controls, and DC power systems and bundling them with services such as design and support to appeal to mission-critical facilities. GE products cover most power distribution components, but those products have been offered under different business units. It's clear that GE wants to streamline the purchase process for potential customers, and add more revenue via services.

More Insights

Webcasts

More >>

White Papers

More >>

Reports

More >>

Mission-critical power systems are no longer a niche play for big manufacturers such as GE. The growth of cloud services for consumers and businesses has ramped up data center construction, and there's increasing demand for high availability and energy efficiency in both new and existing data centers. According to GE, data centers now accounts for 3% of annual U.S. electricity consumption.

This growth has sparked a turf war between the power system manufactures as they consolidate and compete. The modern data center is an odd confluence of products and manufacturers, including Emerson and its Liebert line of UPSs and Power Distribution Units (PDUs); Schneider Electric's APC UPSs and PDUs; and Eaton Electric's Cutler-Hammer breakers and USPs. At the facility level you have GE, Siemens and ABB.

Few vendors have products that span the utility industry down to the power supplies embedded in the technology. Fewer yet have the expertise to squeeze efficiency from the entire electrical distribution system. GE has the products; the question is whether this new Critical Power Business will give GE the focus it needs to be more competitive.

To my eyes, GE's move is as much about product alignment as it is about understanding the challenges of operating and maintaining a data center. By packaging products with lifecycle management, GE is trying to differentiate itself through a focus on TCO.

[ Join us at Interop Las Vegas for access to 125+ IT sessions and 300+ exhibiting companies. Register today! ]

The company is also taking advantage of the services of another branch of the company, GE Capital. The company announced it is offering to finance the purchase of equipment, such as its UPSs. GE suggests that the operating costs savings for its SG series UPS, which includes "eboost" technology that GE claims enhances energy efficiency, will cover the cost of replacement.

Just how well GE's claims stack up remain to be seen. That said, I think data center operators will benefit from the increased competition that GE's strategic move introduces to the market. The company's alignment and emphasis on TCO is refreshing. Let's see whether GE can shake things up.

Ken Miller is data center architect with the IT Infrastructure and Operation Services division of Midwest ISO, developing mission-critical facilities.



Related Reading



Network Computing encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Network Computing moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing/SPAM. Network Computing further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Editor's Choice

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Research: 2014 State of Server Technology

Buying power and influence are rapidly shifting to service providers. Where does that leave enterprise IT? Not at the cutting edge, thatís for sure: Only 19% are increasing both the number and capability of servers, budgets are level or down for 60% and just 12% are using new micro technology.
Get full survey results now! »

Vendor Turf Wars

Vendor Turf Wars

The enterprise tech market used to be an orderly place, where vendors had clearly defined markets. No more. Driven both by increasing complexity and Wall Street demands for growth, big vendors are duking it out for primacy -- and refusing to work together for IT's benefit. Must we now pick a side, or is neutrality an option?
Get the Digital Issue »

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps

WEBCAST: Software Defined Networking (SDN) First Steps


Software defined networking encompasses several emerging technologies that bring programmable interfaces to data center networks and promise to make networks more observable and automated, as well as better suited to the specific needs of large virtualized data centers. Attend this webcast to learn the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging.
Register Today »

Related Content

From Our Sponsor

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

How Data Center Infrastructure Management Software Improves Planning and Cuts Operational Cost

Business executives are challenging their IT staffs to convert data centers from cost centers into producers of business value. Data centers can make a significant impact to the bottom line by enabling the business to respond more quickly to market demands. This paper demonstrates, through a series of examples, how data center infrastructure management software tools can simplify operational processes, cut costs, and speed up information delivery.

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency

Both hot-air and cold-air containment can improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. While both approaches minimize the mixing of hot and cold air, there are practical differences in implementation and operation that have significant consequences on work environment conditions, PUE, and economizer mode hours. The choice of hot-aisle containment over cold-aisle containment can save 43% in annual cooling system energy cost, corresponding to a 15% reduction in annualized PUE. This paper examines both methodologies and highlights the reasons why hot-aisle containment emerges as the preferred best practice for new data centers.

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Monitoring Physical Threats in the Data Center

Traditional methodologies for monitoring the data center environment are no longer sufficient. With technologies such as blade servers driving up cooling demands and regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley driving up data security requirements, the physical environment in the data center must be watched more closely. While well understood protocols exist for monitoring physical devices such as UPS systems, computer room air conditioners, and fire suppression systems, there is a class of distributed monitoring points that is often ignored. This paper describes this class of threats, suggests approaches to deploying monitoring devices, and provides best practices in leveraging the collected data to reduce downtime.

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Cooling Strategies for Ultra-High Density Racks and Blade Servers

Rack power of 10 kW per rack or more can result from the deployment of high density information technology equipment such as blade servers. This creates difficult cooling challenges in a data center environment where the industry average rack power consumption is under 2 kW. Five strategies for deploying ultra-high power racks are described, covering practical solutions for both new and existing data centers.

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

Power and Cooling Capacity Management for Data Centers

High density IT equipment stresses the power density capability of modern data centers. Installation and unmanaged proliferation of this equipment can lead to unexpected problems with power and cooling infrastructure including overheating, overloads, and loss of redundancy. The ability to measure and predict power and cooling capability at the rack enclosure level is required to ensure predictable performance and optimize use of the physical infrastructure resource. This paper describes the principles for achieving power and cooling capacity management.