APC InfraStruxure Updates Boost Capacity, Ease Virtualization

APC by Schneider Electric on Tuesday launched a revamped version of its InfraStruxure data center architecture and its management platform, changes that the company says enable virtualization while boosting power and cooling capacity.

Kevin Brown, data center vice president for Schneider Electric's IT Business, unveiled the updates Tuesday at Schneider's EcoStruxure In Action event in Chicago. The next-generation version of InfraStruxure, Brown said, can add 25 percent more power and cooling capacity in a 15 percent smaller footprint, while reducing energy costs by 15 percent.

InfraStruxure is APC's modular data center architecture that integrates power, cooling, racks, security and management.

APC on Tuesday said new InfraStruxure capabilities include Symmetra PX 100kW, 250kW and 500kW double-conversion UPS with internal modular design for scaling and downtime-free reconfiguration; Module Power Distribution Unit, which eases the installation and reconfiguration of IT devices, reducing planned downtime and eliminating the need for new circuit work orders to add IT equipment; InRow OA and Refrigerant Distribution Unit, overhead cooling for medium and high density applications for users seeking waterless cooling; and NetShelter SX Networking Enclosures, which are optimized rack systems for high-density environments.

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Along with updating the InfraStruxure architecture, APC on Tuesday also retooled the InfraStruxure management software, the open and vendor neutral monitoring and measurement platform for physical data center infrastructure. The changes to the management platform, Brown said, solve two issues ringing in customers' ears: "I've got to deal with virtualization. I've got to deal with cloud computing."

Brown said the updated InfraStruxure management software allows implementation of virtualization and reduces overall carbon footprints. He added that users now don't have worry whether their physical infrastructure can support nomadic loads introduced by virtualization. It also allows users to maximize their current resources while conserving energy.

New features within the management software portfolio let users change the way they monitor, operate, manage and maintain their data centers through the integration of new virtualization capabilities and upgraded energy efficiency and operations software.

Next: A look at new features in InfraStruxure management software

One new feature, the Data Center Lab application added to InfraStruxure Capacity, APC's data center project management tool, now enables the design of new data center build-outs and upgrades while simulating changes and scenario planning without impacting data center operations. The application gives users drag and drop functionality and instant feedback on the impact of adding new IT gear while creating data center blueprints.

APC also updated InfraStruxure Capacity's Impact Analysis application to offer instant overviews of data center infrastructure operations, including UPS, power distribution and cooling, independent of the types and brands of equipment. For example, it can alert an IT manager when a temperature or other physical infrastructure-related event occurs that could impact IT equipment. It offers inventory management, real-time device failure notifications within physical data center layouts and lets managers set thresholds, management of efficiencies, customer reporting and automated recommendations on issue resolution, including the migration of virtual machines.

Additionally, InfraStruxure Efficiency 1.1 lets IT managers report on their data center's subsystems' energy consumption, including CO2 emissions, Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCIE). Those calculations can be automatically correlated to local power and utility data for an accurate representation of energy costs.

APC added a new network management tool into InfraStruxure Capacity to offer insight into equipment dependencies including mapping and documenting fiber and copper networks from servers, via patch panels, to switchers or routers, allowing managers to document connectivity, manage the network structure and plan and control network usage.

Lastly, APC increased the integration capabilities of the software. For example, there is no real-time communication between InfraStruxure Operations 6.1 and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 via a PRO Pack. This functionality automatically migrates virtual machines to healthy, secure host server environments and offers visibility into how virtual machines relate to physical servers. InfraStruxure Operations also ensures Virtual Machine Manger is aware of physical infrastructure alarms and events, like power, cooling, security and environment and can execute corrective actions to move virtual machines to non-impacted areas within the data center.