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How a new data center power monitoring tool will help C-level execs

TSO Logic introduces a data center energy consumption dashboard application that's tailored to C-level executives.

TSO Logic is beefing up its data center power monitoring platform with a tool that allows C-level executives and IT senior staff to pin data center energy consumption costs to overall corporate objectives.

The Data Center Efficiency Console (DCEC), introduced April 1 at Interop Las Vegas and available now, integrates with TSO Logic's Application-Aware Power Management (AAPM) platform, which the Vancouver, B.C.-based vendor introduced last year.

Companies are looking for ways to better manage power consumption, which can exceed one-third of a data center's annual expenditures. AAPM monitors how much power each device in a data center consumes -- from servers to application delivery controllers. DCEC combines that information with metrics that include average server utilization levels, revenue per server, and transactions per kilowatt hour (kWh), to present executives with data they can use to make strategic decisions.

Organizations seek ways to cut power consumption

As more and more functions and transactions move to bigger and more energy-hungry data centers, the IT industry is looking for ways to cut back on its energy consumption. Facebook's Open Compute Project is the most recent large-scale initiative to find ways to share more efficient server and data center designs. The need is urgent, said TSO Logic founder and CEO Aaron Rallo. Electricity costs are rising at an 11% annual clip, and industrial electricity prices are now eclipsing 20 cents per kWh in parts of Europe, and more than 15 cents per kWh in certain regions of the United States.

"It's a new awareness," Rallo said. Power brown-outs are no longer making headlines, but now the issue is no longer availability, but [rather] cost. "[Per kWh prices] never used to be a big enough number, but now, as the amount of hardware placed in data centers continues to grow, energy costs now materially impact the health of the business. If you can't monitor those costs, you can't be a cost-effective institution," he said.

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DCEC displays as a dashboard and integrates with the two TSO Logic applications comprising AAPM: Metrics, which tracks power consumption, and Power Control, which manages server availability. Power Control automatically powers down servers unneeded to perform a particular transaction; if demand changes, it can bring those servers back to full operation within milliseconds.

The shareable dashboard tracks dozens of metrics, Rallo said, which can be used to establish benchmarks and set efficiency targets company-wide.

Data in central location key in data center power monitoring

Having this data in a central location is a key benefit to corporate execs, said Jeff Klaus, general manager of data center solutions at Intel Corp. "How do you synthesize all the power data [generated by servers and other data center components] down to a meaningful way?" he asked. As an example, Klaus cited co-location facilities that can contain upwards of 50,000 individual devices, all of which need to be monitored. "Infrastructure solutions providers gear their solutions to the operator and not necessarily to the CIO or the [person] paying the power bill who can synthesize that data into something that's meaningful."

AAPM is underpinned in part by Intel's Data Center Manager, which measures how much power is consumed by various data center components. Rallo said TSO Logic extends those capabilities with other features that provide an application-specific picture of energy consumption and demand.

"If I'm hosting five different websites, AAPM associates the power costs back to all of those applications. So we're not saying it costs, say, 20,000 kWh to run a data center. We're saying we know how much power is consumed by each application, and that is key," he said.

"[With] Data Center Efficiency Console … we can provide a nice executive-level dashboard that's clear and concise. Execs don't have the ability to log into the network control system to get that type of information."

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