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Where's Your Power Going in the Datacenter?

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Where's Your Power Going in the Datacenter?

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It can be very beneficial to know what areas of your datacenter are sucking up the most energy.  Space is at a premium, companies need to do more with less, and new environmental legislation is pushing IT to become more green.  Organizations realize this and some of them know that permanent changes may be necessary to make their datacenters more efficient.  What many IT organizations are trying to figure out, is how to implement more efficient technology and practices.  There are several different things you can do, but reducing energy usage is one of the most effective strategies to lower IT costs and make your datacenter more environmentally-friendly.  For CIOs, lowering energy costs is a major priority.  A new set of software tools are emerging to track and analyze power usage, even in unmetered datacenters.

The Sentilla Corporation is one of the most innovative companies in the energy management software space.  Their energy management solution was commissioned by Sun to be deployed at the Moscone Center and showcased at the JavaOne 2008 conference.  They currently produce the only real-time power tracking solution that is completely encompassed in a software package.  The Sentilla Energy Manager tracks everything in the datacenter, including switchgear, servers, and networking devices.  It doesn't matter if they're metered or unmetered. 

The ability to monitor unmetered infrastructure makes Sentilla's non-invasive inference engine a major innovation.  Gartner says that most datacenter equipment is unmetered, hence for many cases Sentilla is the only option.  This breakthrough became available in the 3.0 release of the Sentilla Energy Manager.  

In previous versions, Sentilla used sensors instead of an inference engine.  The current system checks all of the pieces in a datacenter every five seconds and its margin of error usually stays below 2%.  It does this by measuring the energy running through the power source along with the computing workloads.  It integrates with widely-used third-party tools like Tivoli, Ganglia, and Nagios to determine the workloads.

The objective of this software, Sentilla says, is to start treating power like another asset.  The Energy Manager can not only help IT shops pinpoint areas of energy inefficiency, they can also help optimize capacity, avoid environmental limits, and test performance.  Sentilla's analytics are able to tell IT managers what kind of impact an application, cloud deployment, or virtualization solution has on energy consumption.  There's software to track carbon output and alert you when you are reaching the set limits.  These alerts will also let you know if you're breaking budget constraints with your energy usage.  

According to Gartner, as much as 60% of the energy in the datacenter is wasted by not getting to the critical equipment that's doing the work.  The IT world needs more tools that can end these bad technical practices.

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