Raritan Rolls Out Upgraded Data Center Power Management Solution

Raritan has announced Power IQ 2.0, a new version of its Power IQ Management software aimed at helping data center managers betters understand energy consumption and more efficiently use resources such as space, capacity and energy. Power IQ 2.0 includes new features that let organizations monitor rack temperatures and then send alerts if temperatures exceed certain thresholds and industry guidelines set by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), automa

September 20, 2010

4 Min Read
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Raritan has announced Power IQ 2.0, a new version of its Power IQ Management software aimed at helping data center managers betters understand energy consumption and more efficiently use resources such as space, capacity and energy. Power IQ 2.0 includes new features that let organizations monitor rack temperatures and then send alerts if temperatures exceed certain thresholds and industry guidelines set by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), automate the most efficient shut downs and start ups of servers connected to any rack power distribution units, and more.

The thermal analytics feature is designed to help managers monitor rack temperatures and report whether the data center or lab is within ASHRAE guidelines, which now recommend that the upper temperature limit in a data center be increased by 3.6 degrees in order to save on energy consumption. The tool culls rack temperatures then plots the readings on a chart to show whether an organization is in acceptable ranges.

Power IQ 2.0 also lets managers calculate how much energy could be saved by increasing temperatures a bit more, but within ASHRAE recommendations. By raising temperatures, even slightly, data centers will require less cooling, and in turn, less energy, Raritan says. Research and analysis firm Gartner says up to three percent in energy costs can be saved for every degree of upward change in the baseline temperature. The thermal analytics feature also can send out email alerts if, for example, any rack goes above threshold conditions as well as provide long-term trend charts.

The shut down and start up capability is designed to automate the turning on and off of Linux and Windows servers connected to rack power distribution units (PDU) before turning off power outlets, without any additional software loaded onto the target servers. The shut-downs and start-ups are done using standard operating system scripts and commands. Data center managers can schedule the automatic power cycling of a specific "IT device group" when those resources are not needed, such as turning off systems at 7 p.m. Friday and turning them on at 5 a.m. Monday.

Other new features of Power IQ 2.0 include the ability collect SNMP traps from all support rack PDUs and environmental sensors and then providing an event browser for sorting and filtering that list as well as sending e-mail notifications for specified events, a vendor-agnostic naming tool that lets managers set or edit rack PDU outlet names, system names and contact names and enhanced search capabilities that enable the use of partial IT device name or IP to find PDUs or IT devices.The J.R. Simplot Company, a global food and agribusiness company with annual sales of about $4.5 billion, has been using Raritan's Power IQ for more than two years in its primary data center, which has 40 racks of 200 physical servers and more than 300 virtual servers. The data center is cooled with three Liebert Systems cooling units. The company installed Power IQ when it was overhauling the decades-old data center that had "issues with just about everything--cooling, power, space, capacity management planning," says Scott Jeppsen, an operations technician and data center specialist with J.R. Simplot. The newly revamped data center went live in 2009.

"We wanted to do everything exactly right in that data center so that it would last several years. We wanted outlet-level power monitors to find out how much power was being drawn for entire rack servers and how much power each server was using, so if we brought in an additional server and plugged it into a rack, a circuit breaker wouldn't trip. Our research suggested this was not available, and all our major suppliers told me it would never happen. They questioned why wanted that kind of granular data, but we wanted it anyway," Jeppsen recalls.

When he met with Raritan, and Raritan informed him its solution could do outlet-level monitoring, J.R. Simplot became a Raritan customer. "The largest take-away from outlet level monitoring is capacity management. We know exactly how much power any given unit is going to draw, and we can trend that as well."

Jeppson says the new features in Power IQ 2.0 are appealing. The company is actively pursuing green initiatives and the thermal analytics feature will help. "We'll be able to get temperatures from several locations within the rack and see how air flow is working, whether it is the same at the top as the bottom, what temperature is leaving the rack, and measure the temperature on the exhaust of the data center. So we can monitor all this, and adjust temperatures to save money rather than just make our data center a meat locker with a enough cold air to cool the Sahara,"  Jeppsen says.

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