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One key challange facing data center managers is serving the demands of ensuring 24*7 uptime and at the same time reducing operating costs to be able to compete effectively, especially when you consider rising energy costs. In order to tackle the challange intelligently a key aspect is installing the ability to monitor power not just at the head end but also across the data centre, right upto in rack applications. Ensuring applications are monitored across the facility. Increasing data capture rates and locations monitored must be complimented with best practice in order to maximise uptime, increase flexibity and understand power usage across the site or sites.

When deciding on a power monitoring system, whether its located in the switchgear, bypass switch or within the rack (branch level monitoring) it is important to ensure all monitoring points which are of interest are captured and this is best achieved via a consultation visit. Power monitoring systems must be flexible enough to interface with equipment from any vendor, regardless of the method of power distribution as anything else will defeat a key goal of the project. The selection of a monitoring system should be independent from the selection of power distribution equipment or UPS make. The monitoring platform should be able to read DC and AC voltages and ideally allow daisy chaining to reduce the number of IP addresses required.

Metering devices deployed as a part of an overall monitoring solution should be able to keep up with any adds/changes made to the data center’s power distribution infrastructure. Data centers are a dynamic environment where the needs of the facility are driven by constantly changing requirements and new technology. As an example, you should not lose the ability to monitor circuits sub-feeding power to another part of your facility just because you increase the size of a few breakers in a panel. Branch circuit monitors (BCMs) that include the capability to support CTs with different amperage thresholds and variable circuit-strappings (one, two and three pole) on the same board give a data center manager the flexibility to distribute power as needed and still maintain the ability to monitor every circuit in the facility.

Inaccurate power monitoring can lead to gaps in capacity planning because information is not of the right accuracy level or across the right contact points. At worst inaccurate power monitoring can put your entire facility at risk. Colocation facilities using a bill-back model can lose revenue or credibility with their customers. Colocation owners should consider your operating environment and how the accuracy specifications for the monitoring devices fit both your current and long-term needs.

Power monitoring solutions can significantly help data center managers as they strive to maintain 7×24 availability and drive operational efficiency. And with the cost of power and density of power in critical facilities both on the rise, the demand for granular power metrics has never been more acute. Adding monitoring hardware and software should not complicate the deployment of future power distribution infrastructure. By choosing flexible, adaptable, accurate and highly functional devices supporting a wide range of industry-standard protocols and power distribution equipment, data center managers can deploy a scalable monitoring solution and maintain the ability respond to ever changing power distribution requirements of a critical facility.

Power Question – Your power fails! how currently would your system alert you of power problems and are all parts of the nofication process covered by a UPS of adequate size and duration?