FOCUS on MONITORING & MEASUREMENT
Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager can also report on temperature
allowing the team to shut down a number of priority services to decrease the heat generated as they called maintenance in to restore the damaged air-conditioning unit.
Some data centers will already have power monitoring in place to cover thermal elements. In other cases, technologies such as those provided by lesser-known company AVTECH are becoming increasingly important. The UN and branches of the US government and military, for example, rely on products such as AVTECH’s which can send status information to remote system managers and IT professionals via mobile phones, pagers, PDAs, email or the web as events occur.
Some products will offer automatic corrective actions that can be taken to resolve issues immediately, run scripts and shutdown servers.
Intel, for example, released its Data Center Manager at the beginning of this year, which includes intelligent heuristics that can maintain group power capping, while it changes server loads and reduces the performance impact of other workloads. This can link to existing software management programmes through a web-service application.
In products such as this, server technology can allow the option of adding a couple of temperature and humidity probes to RJ-style ports. In the Sentry Power Manager from ServerTech, the firmware support for environmental monitoring is supported through auto discovery, and the data is available for viewing on Sentry Power Manager, or for export to the management tools of other facilities.
InTouch PDUs from vendor Prism Power have the option of a thermal monitoring module through the PDU. In this case, connections are monitored directly by small plastic infrared sensors, requiring no external power, as well as contact thermocouples placed inside the enclosure. These connect to data cards that collect information on the condition and transmit the data to the host system.
Other systems – EPI’s Data Centre Monitoring service is one example – will log environmental aspects of the data center such as temperature, humidity, water leaks, intrusion and security, and critical subsystems such as power, UPS, air-conditioning, condensors, chillers and generators, as well as carry out thermal monitoring of the data center.
In older data centers, the relocation of equipment and the addition of new technology with more power density can lead to very high levels of local heat dissipation. If this reflects your experience, you might require an interactive data center model that incorporates design, ongoing thermal optimization and asset management. This can provide mathematical predictions and verifications throughout the life of a facility, and preserve the life of your data center.
WHEN NANOTECH MEETS THERMAL MANAGEMENT
As a sign of things to come in the thermal monitoring and measuring arena, it could pay to look to industries other than IT.
The US Department of Defense’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), for example, recently announced a contract with a subsidiary of thermoelectric cooling technology provider II-VI for the development of new thermoelectric materials and active cooling modules.
DARPA is seeking ways to better manage systems working high temperature in the hope that this will allow a range of its technologies to run at higher performance with a longer lifetime. Of course, once designed, these could appear in new data center solutions for the commercial sector.
Marlow is going to use unique Colloidal Nanocrystal Synthesis – a process it says can produce high-performance nanocomposite thermoelectric materials, which could be used to revolutionize cooling.
It has 24 months to design the product and meet DARPA goals, working alongside the University of Colorado at Boulder, private company Evident Technologies and the University of Texas at Dallas, Marlow Industries general manager Barry Nickerson said.
“The impact of this program will result in significant advances for thermoelectric material design and device construction that will disrupt the current industry standard and enable improvements across the board,” Nickerson said.
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