Pimp my datacenter: American Power Conversion
APC laid the foundation and led the way with InfraStruXure racks, cooling, power management, environmental monitoring, and the software that ties it all togetherFollow @infoworld
APC also donated twelve of its popular InfraStruXure NetShelter SX server racks, all done in uniform black and equipped with sliding shelves, cable management, combination door locks, and two KVM drawers for on-site management. Key to solving our power management woes were APC's "zero RU" vertical, metered Power Distribution Units (PDU) fed by three-phase 208 volt 20 amp circuits on a twist-lock L21-20 connector. With each phase reporting back to the InfraStruXure Central management system, the SOEST folks can better manage load across each power phase to prevent power system imbalances. These units simply slip into keyholes at the back of each APC rack, with a maximum of four per rack. Just choose the model that matches your input and output needs and slip it into place. Total for 12 racks: approximately $40,000.
To maintain constant security surveillance and environmental monitoring of HIG 319, APC also provided a full complement of NetBotz gear. Far more than a security camera, the NetBotz appliances include a whole line of datacenter-specific sensors, covering environmental thresholds like rack temperature, room temperature, airborne particle levels, air flow, humidity levels, floods, and even leak detection. These sensors couple to mounts in and on the InfraStruXure racks, or on the wall of the datacenter, and deliver their streams of information via a dedicated network segment. The system can even integrate with an existing CCTV security system, though we didn't have one to try. A unique feature is an APC-supplied and -supported SDK encouraging a community of developers to do some very creative expansion of the basic NetBotz feature set. For seven cameras and 10 sensors, our NetBotz solution came to roughly $53,000.
Finally, APC also brought along the newest versions of its Capacity Manager and Change Manager applications. These are two of a burgeoning group of datacenter planning and management applications, another worthy being the Rackwise Data Center Manager solution we discuss elsewhere. Unlike the free datacenter and rack planning tool APC provides online, Capacity Manager and Change Manager are full-featured planning and management tools for large datacenters.
Change Manager combines a graphical view of the datacenter with an asset manager that keeps track of everything installed in the datacenter -- and not just APC equipment. That data is then compared with readings taken from Capacity Manager, which keeps track of current space, power, and cooling stats based on data provided by APC UPSes, cooling systems, and NetBotz sensors. Due to the "live" nature of this system, we could turn off certain devices to see the impact on the overall datacenter.
The Change Manager and Capacity Manager combo was a bit overkill for our small HIG 319 server room, but for larger datacenters, the information provided can be hugely beneficial toward understanding day-to-day usage costs, long-term capacity planning, how green the datacenter really is, and numerous other concerns. Most important to SOEST is keeping the computing clusters cool. To this end, Change Manager and Capacity Manager can correlate all the information from the PDU's (current draw), plus heat and airflow readings from the NetBotz, and air output from the InRow cooling units to predict hotspots.
The total value of the APC contribution to the HIG 319 project totals nearly $300,000 when you add up the racks, environmental management, security, power control systems, safety gear, and the software for managing it all.