Mission Critical Computing Blog
Your source for the latest insights on HP Integrity, mission critical computing, and other relevant server and technology topics from the BCS team.

Is your data center protected from the backhoe on the street?

Have you ever had an unexpected loss of utilities? We think of power, but what about water? Did that impact your data center operations? How can HP help figure out which systems need to stay up, and which systems can be shut down if you have an unexpected emergency situation?

Adoption of Energy Efficiency Features in Data Centers

One of the areas I find interesting is greener data centers, and that often translates into energy efficiency - both on the power and the cooling sides. HP's Converged Infrastructure strategy includes Data Center Smart Grid which provides a framework of energy management tools for HP products. Of course, just because HP provides the tools, it doesn't mean that they are used. From that perspective, late last week, I read a couple of interesting papers.

 

The first, from CDW, is the 2010 Energy Efficient IT Report [Download]. They have done this study in the past few years as well, so there is some comparative data. Not surprisingly, they found that 74%of organizations (up 5% from 2009) had or were developing an energy efficiency program. The reason for this is as expected:

  •  56% of the surveyed organizations reduced costs
  • an additional 20% or surveyed organizations reduced usage although costs increased.

Another Green IT Discussion

 


I had the pleasure of delivering a customer briefing for a power company. Needless to say, when I asked my standard question about what is more important - server density with higher power usage versus lower density and lower power usage, the answer was not surprising - for them, floor space is a bigger issue than getting additional power.


 


We had a great discussion which included the three areas of the Thermal Logic story: Reduce, Reclaim, and Extend.


 


Reduce is how we reduce the power consumption of systems. That includes things like more efficient power supplies, adaptive fans, processor power improvements, and more.


 


Reclaim then looks at the more efficient environment, and asks how we can free up stranded capacity. What I mean by that is that many data centers provision the power in their data center based on the face plate requirements of the server - maximum load at the maximum configuration. We all know that most servers don't use that much power ever, let alone on average. Through power calculators monitoring and management tools such as Insight Control power management, we can more accurately provision power to systems and free up the stranded, unused power capacity in the data center.


 


Third, we can extend the life of the data center. Technologies and services  such as HP Data Center Environmental Edge, HP Modular Cooling, and HP Critical Facilities Services all help our customers get the most out of their existing data centers, or build new ones if needed.


 


The best part of the briefing isn't my presentation of HP's offerings, but the questions.


 


First, what is the adoption of power management technologies by customers today? So, the question for our readers - do you use reduce, reclaim, or extend types of technologies or solutions today? If so, which ones?


 


The second interesting question is what are the biggest power consumers in the data center? Is it network, servers, or storage? Where do we see improvements happening (my answer - all areas). So, once again, where do you think power is being consumed in your data center? I should mention that this is something that I know has been discussed in at least one of The Green Grid's work group calls.


 


Comments and feedback are always appreciated.


 


Jacob


 


 

HP Integrity Servers and Energy Star Tier 2

Did you know that there is an Energy Star certification for servers? More information is at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=ent_servers.enterprise_servers. Did you know that HP had the first Energy Star certified servers (several HP ProLiant servers)?


I attended a stakeholders meeting with the EPA last week to discuss their proposals for Energy Star Tier 2 . It was a productive meeting, and I was there to try and get more servers, such as blade servers and servers with more than 4 sockets to be covered by Energy Star.


However, this brought up an interesting question, particularly for mission critical servers. While some of the requirements are for manufacturing issues, such as efficient power supplies, there are also requirements for power reporting, and likely with Tier 2, active power management. This raises an interesting question. We have recently introduced some power management features in HP-UX 11i v3 (updates 3 and 4, http://h20341.www2.hp.com/enterprise/w1/en/os/hpux11i-power-cooling-overview.html). Some features, such as Green Idle Processors and Green Active Processors (also known as c-states and p-states) can reduce power consumption today and have minimal to no performance impact (ex. <10 ms), except in situations where very fast response time is key. By default, we've disabled the power management settings, since they might potentially impact performance. The EPA will likely require them to be turned on by default if we want to use them for qualification purposes.


Should HP just enable dynamic power management, with little to no performance impact, for all servers? Or should we ship all servers set to have the maximum performance by default, as we do now? What do you think?


 


Server Density versus Power Efficiency


While Kurt is off visiting customers and Lorraine is reflecting on the nature of mission-critical computing, I am also joining the blogging team. Let me introduce myself. My name is Jacob Van Ewyk, and I work in Business Critical Systems Marketing. I'm currently focused on Power, Cooling, and Cloud Computing. I spend some of my time on the HP IT Transformation story, and spent about 5 years working on server virtualization.  Between these areas,  I have had the opportunity to meet many of our great customers, partners,  and sales reps around the world, hear some great stories of how technology is improving businesses and peoples’ lives, and get asked a lot of questions about the mission-critical business, HP, and the technology industry in general.


 


This week, I'm preparing for a training event. Needless to say, Green IT, and specifically Power and Cooling, will be a topic of discussion, and I'm looking forward to both sharing what I've discovered, as well as getting feedback on possible future directions.


 


The first topic that I'll be discussing is around server density versus power efficiency. Here is the scenario: we can build servers (such as blades) that pack more performance into a smaller space. Alternatively, we could perhaps use a little more space, but run the system at a higher temperature so that they use less power and cooling, but get the same computing power. Why is this important? ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers - www.ashrae.org ) recently increased the maximum datacenter temperature recommendation to as high as 27°C (80.6 °F) . Imagine if servers could run at, say 45°C/113°F - would you even need cooling in your datacenter?


 


So, what do you think? Do you think server density is a higher priority than power efficiency, or vice versa? Or, are the both roughly equal priorities in the data center?


 


And this just came out: Newsweek rates Green companies, and HP ends up #1! http://greenrankings.newsweek.com/

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About the Author(s)
  • I work as a Master Architect in HP Servers R & D group. I work with teams spread across the lab and outside to build solutions which are highly available on HP-UX, OpenVMS and Mission Critical Linux platforms. In particular I contribute to develop HP Serviceguard clusters, HP-UX Security and Middleware products. I have been with HP for last 17 years and have exposure to HA/DR field from both R & D and customer perspectives.
  • Kirk Bresniker is the Vice President/Chief Technologist for HP Business Critical Systems where he has technical responsibility for all things Mission Critical, including HP-UX, NonStop and scalable x86 platforms. He joined HP in 1989 after graduating from Santa Clara University and has been an HP Fellow since 2008.
  • I’m the worldwide marketing manager for HP NonStop. I’ll be blogging and tweeting out news as it relates to NonStop solutions – you can find me here and on twitter at @CarolynatHP
  • Cynthia is part of the HP ExpertOne team. ExpertOne offers professional IT training and certifications from infrastructure refresh to areas that span across the datacenter like Cloud and Converged Infrastructure.
  • Hi, I work on the HP Servers team as HP-UX worldwide product marketing manager. I´m interested in how customers use our technology and will be blogging about their stories and on how our products evolve to help their businesses be always on.
  • I have worked with NonStop systems since 1982. I am a Master Technologist for HP and am part of the IT SWAT organization, the Cloud SWAT and work with HP Labs. I report into the Enterprise Solutions and Architecture organization.
  • Joe Androlowicz is a Technical Communications and Marketing manager in HP’s NonStop Product Division. Joe is a 25 year journeyman in information systems design, instructional technologies and multimedia development. He left Apple Computer for Tandem Computers to help launch G03 and hasn’t looked back yet. He previously managed the program management team for the NonStop Education and Training Center and drove the development and growth of the NonStop Certification programs.
  • Hello! I am a social media manager for servers, so my posts will be geared towards HP server-related news & info.
  • HP Servers, Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and ExpertOne
  • Luke Oda is a member of the HP's BCS Marketing team. With a primary focus on marketing programs that support HP's BCS portfolio. His interests include all things mission-critical and the continuing innovation that HP demonstrates across the globe.
  • I am the Superdome 2 Product Manager. My interest is to learn how mission critical platform helps customers and would also like to share my thoughts on how Superdome has been helping customers and will continue to do so.
  • I work in the HP Servers marketing group, managing a marketing team responsible for marketing solutions for enterprise customers who run mission-critical workloads and depend on HP to keep their business continuously running.
  • Mohan Parthasarathy is a Technical Architect in the HP-UX lab. His primary focus currently is in the core kernel, platform enablement and virtualization areas of HP-UX. Mohan has worked on various modules of HP-UX, including networking protocol stacks, drivers, core kernel and virtualization
  • I’ll be blogging about the latest news and enhancements as it relates to HP Moonshot.
  • Greetings! I am on the HP Enterprise Group marketing team. Topics I am interested in include Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and Management, and HP BladeSystem.
  • As a Managing Consultant for HP’s Enterprise Solution & Architecture group, I collaborate with client business and IT senior management to understand, prioritize and architect advanced use of data and information, drawing insights required to make informed business decisions. My current focus leverages event-driven business intelligence design techniques and technologies to identify patterns, anticipate outcomes and proactively optimize business response creating a differentiated position in the marketplace for the client.
  • Wendy Bartlett is a Distinguished Technologist in HP’s NonStop Enterprise Division, and focuses on dependability – security and availability - for the NonStop server line. She joined Tandem in 1978. Her other main area of interest is system architecture evolution. She has an M.S. degree in computer science from Stanford University.
  • I am part of the integrated marketing team focused on HP Moonshot System and HP Scale-up x86 and Mission-critical solutions.
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