After you consolidate your servers to save space, management headaches, and power consumption, what more can you do to cut power consumption? Dynamic power management is a technology for dynamically controlling power consumption while servers are running. If we can halt servers with no loads, we can save power without impacting entire operations. As the EPA report mentioned, even when a server is idle, it consumes 60–90 percent of its peak-load power.
In addition, there is no reason to cool halted servers that do not generate any heat. So we can shut down cooling for those servers, doubling the saving.
Recently, I had a chance to visit Power Assure. They are a company that provides dynamic power management at data centers. Since there was a good article to describe Power Assure in the past, I would like to focus on something that I feel is important that is not emphasized in that paper.
Founder Donnie Foster (left) and CTO Clement Pfeiffer in front of
their demo gears.
Power Assure is interesting because of its:
Focus on bridging IT and facilities
Concern about greenhouse gas (GHG)
Multiple data centers
As discussed before, to really control and manage data centers effectively, IT and Facilities must be integrated to work closely together. (By the way, this is the theme of the conference where I am going to speak. The integration or alignment should be evaluated on several levels. See my previous post for detail. Very few products or services exist to support dynamic power management from both IT and facilities perspectives, but Power Assure is one of them.
Regarding the delivery, most other companies that provide dynamic power management sell products. Instead, Power Assure provides "Dynamic Power Management Cloud Service", which is unique since some of the rules or policies needed for dynamic power management are very complex and may require training. This is another form of X-as-a-service and I may classify them to dynamic power management as a service (DPM-aaS).
Power Assure is also keen on curbing GHG emissions, and this is very different from others. At this time, there is no regulatory pressure on data centers. But it is likely that some kind of regulatory pressure will be imposed soon.
Finally, moving virtual machines (VMs) among data centers can exploit load-balancing and favorable power bills in other regions. I have talked to several companies that claim this capability but none of them seem to have a real solution yet. I asked Donnie Foster, founder, about this. He said because of a “secret sauce,” he could handle this well. Well, that is what I want to find out more about.