Monday, September 3, 2007

The Next Big Thing in data center efficiency: Active Power Management

Tuesday will be a "D'oh" moment for anyone who runs a Data Center and cares about electricity operating costs.

Even the EPA missed this one in their recent Report on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency.

It's Active Power Management: That is, safely and intelligently powering-down unused and/or idle servers, and re-powering them when needed. It's a huge (and obvious) move when you consider that the average server burns-up more than half of its fully-loaded rated power when it's just sitting doing nothing.

Reams have already been written about energy-efficient servers, DC power distribution, improved cooling systems, hot/cold aisles, and of course server consolidation. But they've all missed-the-boat -- until today. And the solution is surprisingly simple.

Regardless of the type of server and type of software, this technology is non-disruptive to the data center. It's also the moral-equivalent to turning off the lights in a room that you're not using. Think of the Thousands of servers that sit idle most of the time in Development/Test, or in a "warm" failover facility.

What's the secret sauce?
  • It's the ability to gracefully shut-down software prior to turning off the box, and then ensuring re-start when the box is needed again.
  • It's the ability to set policies around application importance and interrelationships, and to be able to communicate directly with the software during a power-cycle.
  • It's the ability to do all of this from a hardware- and software-neutral perspective
  • And, it's the ability to do this in a way that will please both IT and facilities
The singular superstition about turning-off servers is why data centers have kept every single server in their inventory on all of the time. Until now.

All made possible with Cassatt's leading ability to apply sophisticated optimization technology to any problem in the data center. And don't just believe me. Look at what PG&E, Brocade, and IDC are saying. This should help raise-the-bar for energy-efficiency best-practices in the data center.


Anonymous said...

I’ve been given a pretty overwhelming opportunity. Yesterday my boss came into my office and told me that he wanted me to pair up with him and help come up with solutions that will improve application availability across our network. I was pretty stunned, I mean I know that I do my job well but he wants my help one on one.

I’m going in later today with a summary of things we need or need more of. At the top of the list he’s going to read IT automation. He’s probably already knows this but I don’t see it moving fast enough. There are days when the network and us really struggle to keep things going. I get caught up doing delicate patch after delicate patch. Not fun to say the least and it really hampers the performance of the business software applications running on the network. I’m sure he’ll approve of the “more automation” approach and that’s good because I’ve already begun to put together a list of automation solutions for him to look at.

Anonymous said...

I think that you are right when you say that server provisioning counts for a lot in regards to preparation for the introduction of IT automation. Working in the IT service industry for as long as I have, I have seen many companies and even individuals skimp out on preparation and research which always leads to disaster.

I actually work as a contractor who gets asked in to different companies to help them out with implementation of network automation and I also provide solutions for ways to improve application availability. I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult my job is and just how cheap some of these companies think they can be. IT automation requires money to start but the one thing they all seem to miss is that it saves money over the long run. I enjoy my job and love fixing things other can’t but there are days where it’s rough so it’s nice to see an opinion such as yours.