Tools to Prevent Summer Outages in Your Data Center

With high temperatures and the formation of energy clusters, data center manager find themselves grappling with a sharp increase in outages during the summer months

By Sanjay Motwani, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Raritan-a brand of Legrand

Indian summers can be especially harsh on data centers. To make things worse, the average temperature in India in summer has been rising steadily over the years. A recent study conducted by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bhubaneswar and India Meteorological Department (IMD) in conjunction with the Florida State University, confirmed that surface temperatures in India have been rising rapidly for the past 70 years.

With high temperatures and the formation of energy clusters, data center manager find themselves grappling with a sharp increase in outages during the summer months.  First of all, there are outages that result from the inability of an archaic power infrastructure to meet increasing power demands. The additional burden of dealing with temperature-related outages can put excessive strain on ill-prepared facilities. Fortunately, there are some solutions in sight. By investing in the right tools, there is a way to reduce brownouts that result from the oppressive summer heat.

Monitoring with the Right Tools

Having an insight into the health of your data center is an important factor to prevent brownouts. Regular checks to monitor the fitness of the data center can go a long way. They can also help identify units are operating at sub-optimal levels and take appropriate corrective action. Similarly, installing real-time data analytics tools can empower data center managers to efficiently monitor and utilize existing infrastructure. These can be installed via an infrastructure management (DCIM) tool, such as Power IQ. These tools can generate several useful insights in the form of health maps, cooling charts, and vital reports in real-time; thereby giving data center managers the wherewithal to respond to real-time power trends and loads.

At the same time, it is also important to invest in the right power distribution methods.  Raritan’s PX intelligent rack PDU Series, a trusted tool used by the world’s largest data centers, is a great example. It is much more than a simple power distribution tool and can help prevent unwanted and costly data center outages. The PDU series comes with features such as real-time power monitoring, enhanced data center infrastructure management, and environmental sensors that actively assess interior and exterior conditions. In addition, it has outlet switching, three-phase power distribution, and individual outlet metering.

Prevent Outages through Real-Time Monitoring

Dealing with power outages can be an expensive affair. A CII Godrej GBC survey from 2013 found that data center managers in India listed lack of power security as a significant risk to data center growth in India. Timely actionable insights based on real-time data on the functioning of the data centers can be invaluable to maximize cooling efficiency and power usage during brownout season. As per a recent study, however, 32 percent of data managers do not have access to the tools needed to gather, analyze, and react to actionable data sources. In fact, one in five data centers only consider data from rack-level thermal sensors coupled with spreadsheets to maximize their cooling efficiency. These practices do precious little to prevent costly data center outages.

Thankfully, there are tools that are specifically designed to combat excessive energy consumption and an over extended power grid during the summer months. For example, Raritan’s PX 5000 Series PDUs are equipped with bi-state latching relays. This means that they consume 70 percent less energy than a conventional alternative. The PDUs also use outlet sequencing to minimize in-rush current overloading. The bi-state latching relays can ensure that critical power is maintained in the unlikely event of a PDU failure. They achieve this through their ability to retain an on / off state permanently. With increased metering accuracy on all power load types, including real-world loads, data centers can derive useful insights to identify power feeds, lower the risks of unexpected downtime, and reduce errors. These, along with remote power controls, enable data center managers to instantaneously reboot hung servers or provision outlets for new devices.

The Bottom Line: The Right Tools Can Help Contain Costly Summer Outages

With the right tools that enable real-time data monitoring and power distribution, data center managers can avoid the risks associated with a predicted uptick in brownouts during summer months. With tools that provide outlet switching, accurate metering, and environmental sensors (such as the Raritan PX intelligent PDUs), data center managers can be well prepared to effectively beat the summer heat and avoid unexpected downtime. The great Indian summer might get worse, but the right tools will help you cope.

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