TrendPoint Systems has announced EnviroCube, the first data center cooling management appliance. EnviroCube is the first solution that prevents heat-related data center downtime while also improving energy efficiency – goals that were previously thought to be mutually exclusive in data center management.

EnviroCube monitors a full spectrum of electrical and environmental metrics that have been proven to indicate cooling inefficiencies before they cause heat-related downtime, which can happen in a matter of seconds if a cooling unit fails. The EnviroCube also provides the first set of metrics that allows cooling units to be tuned to their best possible performance, which has been shown to cut cooling costs by up to 30%. The new energy management appliance also enables power and cooling units to run in a manner that extends equipment life, making them much less likely to fail, and ensuring that they perform at maximum energy efficiency.

“Until now, common industry wisdom held that you couldn’t simultaneously focus on preventing downtime and saving energy – it was always thought to be a tradeoff between the two,” said Bob Hunter, CEO of TrendPoint Systems. “But we’ve eliminated this notion with EnviroCube. The key is to precisely measure-and manage-the effectiveness of cooling units, spotting any potential problems and inefficiencies before they cause downtime. Our extensive tests show that an efficient infrastructure is a healthy and reliable infrastructure. EnviroCube’s full spectrum of metrics captures the efficiency of each individual cooling unit, taking this concept to a whole new level.”

Data center cooling systems consume one-third to one-half of total data center energy. Yet until now, data center managers have not had an accurate way to measure and manage the performance of CRAC (computer room air conditioning) and CRAH (computer room air handling) cooling units. Latent power or mechanical problems with cooling units has caused significant downtime and been a significant contributor to data center energy waste. By placing an EnviroCube appliance in each cooling unit, data center managers can now spot poor-performing units and continuously rank units from highest to lowest efficiency. Lower efficiency units can be further examined with TrendPoint’s full spectrum of power and environmental data from the targeted units.

“As a result, data center managers can move beyond hoping that each unit is functioning effectively, to fully understanding the condition of each unit and proactively preventing any problems,” said Hunter.

EnviroCube product highlights and beta installations:
EnviroCube is the only product on the market that can measure all the key metrics required to manage cooling performance: CRAC/CRAH air flow (in cubic feet per minute); temperature rise (return temperature minus supply temperature); as well as voltage, amperage, power factor and wattage of each phase of power feeding the unit. This information is used to:
  • Rank the CRAC/CRAH units from highest-to lowest-performing
  • Spot potential cooling unit failures before they cause downtime
  • Target unnecessary cooling units for shutdown, based on performance data
  • Tune the lowest performing units
  • Add variable-frequency drives (VFDs) with full understanding of their performance before purchasing.
The EnviroCube energy management app uses HTML to render live graphs of all key metrics required to manage cooling performance. By choosing HTML, TrendPoint has ensured that the systems’ live graphs are optimized for both the iPad/iPod platforms as well as PCs. “It literally allows you to carry your data center with you,” Hunter noted. In addition, TrendPoint’s partners including Schneider and CA will support the EnviroCube as well. EnviroCube is currently installed in several locations including SpringNet’s 70,000 sq.ft. hosting center located in Springfield, MO.

"We have a long and successful relationship with TrendPoint and have used their EnerSure product to bill and manage our data center's power usage," said Chris Yates, operations & engineering manager. "We have been looking forward to using their EnviroCube and now have four of them installed in one of our separate data rooms. The unique and targeted information from the EnviroCube has allowed us to identify opportunities to increase our cooling system performance. This allows us both to insure that our uptime remains at its highest possible levels and that our cooling systems are tuned for peak energy efficiency. We plan to deploy the units throughout our data center and expect a payback on investment in less than two years."