Highly reliable data centers using managed PDUs

by Emerson Network Power on 10/8/15 9:09 AM

Ronny Mees | Emerson Network Power

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Today’s most innovative data centers are generally equipped with managed PDUs since their switching capabilities improve reliability. However, simply installing managed PDUs is not enough – an “unmanaged” managed PDU will actually reduce reliability.

So how do managed PDUs work? These advanced units offer a series of configurations which – if properly implemented – improve the availability of important services. The main features are Software Over Temperature Protection (SWOTP) and Software Over Current Protection (SWOCP), which are well described in the blog post “Considerations for a Highly Available Intelligent Rack PDU”.

It is also well-known, that managed PDUs can support commissioning or repairing workflows in data centers. The combination of well designed workflows and managed PDUs pushes the operational reliability to a higher level.

In high performance data centers, using clusters, another important point comes into play: clusters are complex hierarchical structures  of server farms, which are able to run high performance virtual machines and fully automated workflows.

As described here or here, such clusters are managed by centralized software together with server hardware.

Over the last couple of years cluster solutions have been developed following strong and challenging availability goals, in order to avoid any situation, which make physical servers struggle within the cluster. However, there would still be the risk of applications and processes generating  faults and errors and screwing-up the complete cluster, unless there was an automated control process – the good news is: there is.

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The process which controls those worst case scenarios is called fencing. Fencing automatically kicks out of the cluster any not working nodes or services in order to maintain the availability of the others.

Fencing has different levels, which are hopefully wisely managed. In a smooth scenario fencing will stop disturbing services, or re-organize storage access (Fibre channel switch fencing) to let the cluster proceed with its tasks.

Another power fencing option is also called “STONITH” (Shoot The Other Node In The Head) and allows the software to initiate an immediate shutdown (internal power fencing) of a node and/or a hard switch off (external power fencing).

The internal power fencing method uses IPMI and other service processer protocols, while the external power fencing uses any supported network protocol to switch of a PDU outlet.  It is recommended to use secured protocols only, such as SNMPv3. So managed PDUs as MPH2 or MPX do not only support a nice power balance, monitor power consumptions or support datacenter operations workflows – they also allow the fence software to react quickly for higher cluster reliability. So it’s not a secret that cluster solutions manufacturers – e.g. Red Hat with RHEL 6.7 and newer – openly support such managed rack PDUs.

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Topics: Data Center, PUE, robust data center, Containment, efficient data center, DVL, electrical distribution, energy, Battery, Thermal Management, energy efficiency, 7x24, PDU

Use Of DC Distribution Networks Is On The Rise

by Mike Rinaldi on 6/26/13 8:21 AM

The total worldwide capacity of direct current (DC) distribution networks will surpass 2.3 GW by 2025, up from just 196 MW in 2013, according to a new report from Navigant Research.

The report says electricity loads being served by today's alternating current (AC) power grids are increasingly natively DC at the end-use level. In fact, according to some estimates, approximately 80% of the power loads in commercial and residential structures are now DC.

>> Read article here

 

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Topics: data center infrastructure, Data Center, Green IT, Green Technology, Data Center, electrical distribution, DC Power, DC Power

Can Building Codes Ensure Power Reliability?

by Mike Rinaldi on 6/14/13 1:33 PM

The impact of Hurricane Sandy gave U.S. power providers as well as code making bodies a wake-up call.  Why are facilities that must operate to provide services during disasters allowed to locate critical electrical system components in vulnerable areas? Although designs of this magnitude require a great deal of thought and planning, it’s difficult to include every possible scenario. Even codes and standards as extensive as they are can’t cover everything. 

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Click below to check out the white paper

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Topics: data center outages, Emerson Network Power, data center infrastructure, reduce downtime, reduce cost, Data Center, Data Center, data center infrastructure management, electrical distribution, short circuit current ratings, efficient data center

Does DC Have a Chance in the Data Center?

by Mike Rinaldi on 5/14/13 7:38 AM

As data centers take an ever larger bite of worldwide energy production, efficiency becomes an increasingly urgent topic. Much of the focus in recent years has been on areas like virtualization, improved cooling practices (like free cooling and bumping up the thermostat), consolidation of idle equipment and so on—and rightly so. In the background, however, has been a growing discussion about a fundamental topic:alternating-current (AC) versus direct-current (DC) power. AC power won the day when electrical infrastructure was first being deployed, but could DC be poised for a return from the dead? 

[The Data Center Journal]

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Topics: data center outages, DVL, data center infrastructure, reduce cost, robust data center, data center design, electrical distribution, DC Power, efficient data center

Is Data Center Infrastructure Management a set of products, a process or both?

by Mike Rinaldi on 5/3/13 1:31 PM

Is DCIM the monitoring, collection and analysis of real-time, continuous, accurate information from an intelligent infrastructure that allows for immediate action, designed to keep the data center in an optimal state of balance between availability, efficiency and capacity?   Is it a framework for operating the data center?

What are your thoughts?

Data center planner

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Topics: Emerson Network Power, DVL, data center infrastructure, reduce downtime, Data Center, data center design, Data Center, data center energy, data center infrastructure management, kW per rack, electrical distribution, PUE

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