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How IoT technology can help optimize data center operations

08 Dec 2017

The pace of change in the colocation market continues to accelerate, and it is absolutely critical that we all adopt new technologies to help us keep pace with this change.

Software is the only choice to provide the transparency required to optimize data center operations throughout the lifecycle of these assets.

That was one of the key takeaways from the recent Innovation Summit that Schneider Electric hosted in Hong Kong for some 1,000 customers.

Front and center at the Summit was EcoStruxure, the Schneider Electric architecture for enabling the intelligent operation of buildings, power systems and data centers.

For this audience, we focused on EcoStruxure’s data center capabilities.

Attendees were able to kick the tires of EcoStruxure in the Innovation Hub area, and they appeared to immediately grasp that the technology is real, able to help optimize data center operations today.

EcoStruxure leverages advancements in Internet of Things (IoT) technology to deliver innovations at three fundamental levels:

  • Connected products: In the case of a data center, EcoStruxure collects data from all sorts of mechanical, power and IT devices, from switchgear and UPSs to PDUs, racks and in-row cooling systems.
  • Edge: Enabling real-time monitoring, incident management, analysis and asset utilization for smaller, distributed data centers that are becoming more and more critical in an IoT world.
  • Analytics: This is where we make sense of all the data coming into the platform, with applications, services – including cloud-based services – and predictive analytics that help you more effectively manage your data centers.

In my own presentation at the event, I highlighted three customer stories that demonstrate the power of EcoStruxure.

Telefonica is a Spanish telecommunications provider that operates a Tier 4 data center in Alcalá de Henares, Spain.

When it was built a few years ago, it was one of the largest data centers in the world, intended to help the company consolidate operations from a number of smaller data centers.

The level of equipment redundancy required to achieve Tier 4 status in terms of UPS, cooling and IT equipment makes it all the more challenging to be energy efficient.

But by using the EcoStruxure Data Center Advisor and Building Operation modules, Telefonica was able to achieve a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating between 1.3 and 1.4. As noted in this previous blog post, that would be good for even a Tier 1 data center, but for a Tier 4 it’s outstanding.

For another customer, the colocation company Interxion, we built a data center inside an old warehouse in just two months using prefabricated data center modules (the subject of this previous post).

The solution delivered the usual 99.999% reliability the company demands, in part because the prefabricated data center was outfitted with EcoStruxure. It delivers real-time monitoring to support the early detection and quick resolution of any problems, to avoid downtime.

The third customer, Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), is the administrator of pension funds for employees in the U.S. state of Alabama. It monitors some 800 connected devices in its colocation data center – a revenue generator for the fund.

To prevent downtime, it needed an efficient platform for mobile collaboration and incident management, and immediate access to real-time data from all those sensors as well as help with trend analysis.

It found a solution in EcoStruxure IT Advisor, which provides fast troubleshooting for any issues, with easy access to data and trend information along with a mobile chat feature to enable cross-team collaboration and knowledge sharing.

RSA is a good example of how EcoStruxure can deliver actionable intelligence that enables a more proactive approach to management at all points in a data center’s lifecycle.

Any attendee at the Hong Kong Innovation Summit likely got the message that EcoStruxure is for real, today. This was no coming attraction for a movie coming out next summer; it’s here and it’s playing now.

Article Mark Bidinger, Schneider Electric Data Center Blog

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