These tasks aren't entirely automated; you still have to figure out PUE yourself, for example. As monitoring tools continue to evolve and communicate with one another, expect to be able to figure out the PUE of your datacenter -- or even just one rack in your datacenter -- in real time.
These types of tools help with planning for changes in the datacenter to ensure that few watts and square feet go to waste. If, for example, a customer wants to add more servers or storage capacity, monitoring tools give RagingWire an assessment of what sort of power, cooling, and floor space is available, one that is far more accurate than the old-fashioned method of manually gathering data and crunching numbers via spreadsheet for a rough estimate. From there, RagingWire can advise a client to, for example, upgrade to higher-power servers in their existing footprint instead of leasing more space.
Measure it and you can manage it
Kennedy's assessment of his experience with SynapSense's wireless environmental monitoring system was of particular interest to me. (I wrote about the company and its product offering last year.) SynapSense is a relatively new company -- it's been around for a couple of years -- but has already landed customers circling the globe. Moreover, HP, which once touted a datacenter monitoring system of its own called Dynamic Smart Cooling, now offers the SynapSense system as an OEM.
One of the most obvious benefits of SynapSense is its ability to monitor environmental conditions in real time, providing meaningful, useful data on temperature, humidity, and other conditions. A datacenter operator can use the information to view a facility map and determine where hot spots or other environmental anomalies can be found. From there, the operator can take action -- and that's where the payoff occurs.
For example, Kennedy explained that RagingWire seeks to maintain the ASHRAE-recommended temperature for the datacenter, the highest temperature possible that still ensures systems won't overheat. RagingWire then needs to adjust the set temperature of the facility to compensate, for instance, when chillers are being restarted (during which the datacenter will grow warmer for a brief period of time), as well as the mixing of hot and cold air.