In response, a number of vendors are now investigating the “efficient operations” issue. The concept has largely begun with desktop PC power management with companies like 1E with their NightWatchman product, and Verdiem with their Surveyor product. The companies are claiming over 500,000 seats under power control. Further, Verdiem announced Edison, a free consumer version.
But of more interest -- because more megawatts are involved -- are the products that power control servers in the data center. According to an EPA study based on IDC data, the average volume server consumes ~200W, mid-range server consumes 520W, and high-end server consuming a whopping 6,400W apiece. Finding ways to reduce consumption by even 5% yields a pretty big return.
Follows is a brief survey of the market for server power management products, where each fit, and my (admittedly biased) score.
- Cassatt: Offering Active Response, Standard Edition. This is a policy-based approach to power-controlling just about any vendor make of server, including external PDUs; policies can be composed based on Time, Events, Capacity and server demand/load. Plus, server power-up/down is sequenced based on interdependencies & priorities. There is also a feature to allow it to interface to utility company "demand response" programs. This technology and a case study was displayed at a recent SVLG conference in Santa Clara, CA. Grade: A Why? Because it’s vendor neutral, works with virtual & physical apps, and provides any number of policies for energy savings
- HP: Their Insight Power Manager is available for their ProLiant and Integrity servers. While specific to their hardware and management software, the product allows for real-time monitoring, power capping and CPU throttling. Grade: C+ Why? While their goal is noble, like most vendors they’re technology-specific, and provide limited control/management of total power. Try to use it to power manage your IBM bladecenter...
- IBM: Much like HP, their PowerExecutive product. It’s available only for specific IBM BladeCenter and System x servers, and hooks into IBM Director. While it’s hardware-specific, it allows for real-time monitoring of power consumption. Then, their is their Active Energy Manager. While also IBM hardware specific, this allows for monitoring, capping, and to a certain degree, CPU power throttling. Grade: C+ Why? There’s really only limited capability here since you can only use it with enabled IBM systems, (sorry, HP) and even then, you have limited control over power consumption.
- PowerAssure: This Silicon Valley startup has an offering that begins as a services engagements. Power Assure’s approach optimizes utilization by load shifting and load shedding, knowledge of power trends/costs and association of business and technical processes back to actual server use. I’ve not seen too much about how the service works or is priced, what technology they use, or what platforms they work with; but they’ve just received a new round of financing. Grade: Incomplete
- Virtual Iron: This past week, VI announced its intent to release it’s “experimental” LivePower feature as part of its VM management package (keeping up with the Jones’… see VMware below). With LivePower, users can set polices that will shut down physical machines when there are no virtual machines running on the hardware. At the same time, if there is excessive CPU capacity, LivePower will be able to consolidate virtual machines onto fewer physical ones. Apparently, though, it has to use the Intel Node Manager, and it’s not clear (yet) how power will be physically controlled… probably with Wake on LAN. Grade: B Why? This is clearly an important feature, but it will be limited to one approach to power management (CPU utilization) and be available only for machines running VI’s suite.
- VMware: For the past 6 months or so, VMware has also touted its “experimental” Distributed Power Management (DPM). Their execution is essentially identical to Virtual Iron’s, above (and, if imitation if the finest form of flattery, VMware should be flattered, given Virtual Iron’s product, above). VMware uses Wake on LAN to do its power control of idle hosts. Grade: B. Why? Same as above… what do you do if you have physical nodes not running VI3?
The next question: To initiate a consolidation project first, or a power-management project first?