Remember your favorite TV show as a kid? Depending on when you experienced childhood, this could range from Cheers to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Compared to today’s advanced times, however, the content of these programs appear just as fuzzy as our heads feel trying to absorb the crazy outfits their characters donned. Similarly, data centers of the past boast features and functionalities that were once at their peak, yet today, fizzle; likewise, solutions of the past have become increasingly sophisticated. While there’s a certain fondness still held for these old-school methods, it’s essential to think in the present, where everything from TV shows to data centers are bigger and better than ever.
While many data center managers are currently at home enjoying the holidays and preparing to unwrap presents (or do last-minute shopping for them), the very last thing they want is any sort of data center inconsistency.
In light of this, I was able to sit down with ABB Global Head of Decathlon R&D, North America Decathlon Business Manager, Richard Ungar, to discuss how certain management tools can help data center managers better optimize such elements as power consumption and overall efficiency, as well how ABB’s Decathlon data center infrastructure management solution gets the job done.
“Without tools in place to monitor the data center, managers are just guessing at how energy-efficient they really are and what steps they need to take to reduce energy consumption,” Ungar says.
So exactly what tools do data centers need in place to ensure optimum overall efficiency?
- Establish baselines for energy usage
By establishing baselines for energy use and creating consistent, detailed reporting to understand consumption, data center managers can best monitor their progress in optimizing it, Ungar tells me. “Even the newest data centers must carefully monitor and control their facility to ensure that any small problems are quickly identified and corrected before they grow into big problems.”
- Examine ways to optimize energy costs
“Beyond optimizing power consumption, data center managers should be examining ways to optimize energy costs,” Ungar explains. “Business managers understand that not every megawatt-hour is created equally—power companies charge different rates for different time periods and consumption plans. Knowing where and how the data center’s energy costs are determined can provide managers real control over the energy bill. The right data center management tools can furnish these insights.”
Ungar continues to say that “the best management tools provide real-time monitoring and analysis of how the equipment in the data center is performing, power and cooling-water consumption and environmental factors that could impact efficient operations.” He adds that these types of basic tools found in both dashboards and detailed reports best help data center managers spot issues such as defective equipment, trends in power usage and opportunities to increase reliability and lower costs.
ABB’s Decathlon is a self-described data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution built on decades of proven success with mission critical systems, where users can actually remotely manage their data center operations enterprise-wide through a unified view. According to Ungar, Decathlon is designed to operate continuously in order to avert any “less-than-optimal” scenarios by providing visibility and decision support in a “flexible, easy-to-deploy manner.”
The fact that Decathlon works across multiple data centers proves very advantageous, as it allows users to easily view and access operations across the entire fleet of data centers.
“Decathlon enables managers to avoid problems before they occur, monitoring system availability and performance, including electrical, mechanical and IT systems,” Ungar continues. “It watches for changes in their status, energy consumption and environmental data, correlating data from all sources to generate key performance indicators, such as Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), in real-time. If a problem does arise, Decathlon helps managers find the root causes of the issue in the center’s system through alarm management and detailed performance information for the entire operation.”
So happy holidays and happy data center managing!
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