Running data center equipment efficiently and staying on top of power management are important objectives for any facility. However, data center operators can’t focus too much time on these goals because they have a number of other critical needs to manage. In these complex environments, it’s important to have effective, proactive power monitoring capabilities to ensure equipment operates like a well-oiled machine.
The ability to continuously monitor vital power management devices, including uninterruptible power systems (UPSs) and rack power distribution units (PDUs), helps to simplify day-to-day power management and maintain business continuity. To keep downtime to a minimum, users can use advanced power monitoring and management software to stay in-tune with trends while identifying and resolving any issues.
Through the confluence of business trends, including cloud services, social channels, the Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile innovation, an application economy has emerged. Today, almost every aspect of business is in some way reliant on data-driven applications — and these applications depend on the underpinning data center power infrastructure to stay up and running.
In alignment with this movement, today’s UPSs, PDUs, and other power management devices are engineered to be more sophisticated and reliable than ever — allowing operators to address complex requirements and sidestep the dangers of downtime. Power monitoring software is the tool that brings these solutions together, providing an easy-to-use resource that saves time and simplifies day-to-day monitoring.
Remote power monitoring software solutions deliver the support of a technical alarm expert — who keeps tabs on an organization’s power devices 24x7 and alert key personnel to any anomalies — along with the ability to remotely monitor, manage, and control power devices. If there’s an extended power event, these solutions can also help maximize the runtime of critical equipment and ensure data integrity.
So, what do operators need to look for when choosing a power monitoring software platform? Below we break down four key benefits of power monitoring and management software and offer some considerations for deploying an advanced solution that will help operators stay on top of power management.
Ease of installation is more than just a matter of convenience or a time saver. Power monitoring solutions that are easy to install save on startup and provisioning costs. Advanced power monitoring software platforms can seamlessly connect with power management equipment, giving users the tools needed to monitor and manage the power in their physical or virtual environment. This significantly eases the complexities of keeping critical applications available during power outages.
Leveraging a user-friendly setup streamlines the deployment process, relieving common pain points with software installation. When selecting a power management solution, a few key installation features to consider include:
- Auto discovery of existing UPSs and rack PDUs
- Initiation of mass firmware and configuration commands
- Ability to maintain user’s mixed environment for a vendor agnostic platform
- Floor building tools
- Import/export capabilities
- OVA deployment
Deploying a solution with these capabilities will help to ensure a simple to install and simple to use power monitoring platform. It will also make it easier to add new devices and to obtain the information needed to make important operating decisions every day.
Power monitoring software solutions offer advanced capabilities, including the ability to continuously monitor power via virtualization platforms and enable key functionality like disaster recovery and optimizing power consumption. These solutions help users keep an eye on power equipment, easing daily power management workloads and perform quick status checks so they can move on to other work priorities.
A few key competencies to consider in the deployment of a software platform for enhanced power management include:
- The capability to view trends from an easy-to-access dashboard
- Ability to view equipment health status within a visual layout of the data center
- Supplying predefined and custom reports, both scheduled and on-demand
- Initiation of configuration commands and firmware en masse
Particularly when it comes to monitoring PDUs, accuracy is crucial. Advanced solutions allow users to get detailed data by measuring power down to the outlet level. These insights allow users to gain a deeper energy analysis so they can make more informed decisions when selecting and deploying equipment. This ultimately saves money, improves operational flexibility, and protects against unplanned downtime.
There’s just no downplaying the devastation that can result from unexpected downtime. From financial losses to irreparable damages to customer trust, power outages take a toll on businesses of all sizes across every industry.
The best way to address problems with PDUs, UPSs, and other power management equipment is to prevent them. Remote power monitoring software serves as a resource to continually watch for warning signs of future trouble, such as deteriorating server performance or battery health indicative of imminent failure, and send real-time notification when potential issues develop.
To ensure continuous power is supplied to critical equipment, there are a few key features to consider for power monitoring software:
- Ensure system can avoid crashes due to UPS and PDU overloads
- Instill system confidence with failover analysis and capacity planning simulation
- Control PDU outlets and UPS load segments to turn on, off, and reboot hung equipment
These capabilities enable operators to address concerns before serious problems have a chance to occur. Data center operators can perform remote monitoring themselves, or contract with an external provider to do it for them.
With the proper power monitoring solution in place, operators can maintain business continuity in their data center even during a prolonged power cut. This capability allows them to stay on top of power management while still focusing on the bigger picture — running their data center efficiently and effectively.
Environmental power quality threats — such as heat-related issues, humidity, water leaks, smoke, and cabinet intrusion — can be devastating to data center and IT environments. Power monitoring software gives users the ability to view the status and equipment in each rack, and safely and effectively deploy new equipment, ensuring each rack is optimized and balanced.
Power monitoring software can provide operators with several benefits to better build and maintain their racks, including:
- The capability to search equipment database and simply drag and drop into place within the rack
- Ability to import existing asset list via CSV upload
- Monitoring and tracking U-space, weight capacity, and outlet capacity (both power and network)
- Protecting the business continuity with impact analysis
Advanced rack platforms have the features and reliability today’s data centers need to maintain their own operations, but more importantly to support the changing and accelerating demands of the business. Businesses would be wise to develop their power management and monitoring strategy by understanding the current rack environment and workload demands, followed by choosing an optimized rack PDU and UPS enabled with the right power monitoring software.
As computing demands continue to increase, data centers can no longer afford to examine power management and distribution solely at a high level. With virtualization and converged infrastructure, computing capacity is dynamic — workloads, applications, and storage are moved around both within and among data centers as business needs dictate. To ensure peak operating efficiency — an absolute necessity given modern business demands — data centers must monitor and manage power at a granular level.
Though power monitoring and management are complex tasks, they are critical to maintaining nonstop uptime. To perform those tasks effectively, most data centers need one or more power management solution and a specialized power monitoring and management solution. Data center operators who wish to stop utility outages and power system malfunctions from disabling mission critical IT solutions should ensure they have the right set of onsite solutions and remote services for their specific environment.
An effective power management and monitoring strategy can be one of the most cost-effective measures for operators to ensure the ongoing health of both their critical equipment and overall business. From multi-tenant or co-located facilities to enterprise data centers and remote data closets, operators all need easy-to-use tools to simplify the important task of power management. With key functionalities, from managing UPSs to streamlining large deployments of rack PDUs and their monitoring, power monitoring software provide operators with the ability to focus on strategic initiatives that impact the business’ bottom line knowing their power management platforms are covered.