10 Energy Saving Products Your Customers Need Now

Google Energy Usage

Google is proud of its energy efficiency. According to the company, data centers developed by the company consume about half the energy of a trypical data center.

What’s more, nearly half of the energy used by the typical data center is spent on systems that provide the power and cooling to servers, storage and related equipment, while the cost of Google’s data center support equipment is less than 20 percent of its overall energy spend.

To find out how, visit Google's Website about efficient computing.

For common solutions that resellers can offer to help customers lower their energy bills, read on.

Raritan Dominion PX hardware

A call comes in to your IT department from a customer whose data center is running hot. Your IT manager says that the call is in sync with an e-mail received a few minutes before indicating that temperatures are above critical thresholds.

Option 1: Send someone from your staff to the customer’s site to take a look. Option 2: Point a browser to the data center’s power distribution units to see if anything is out of the ordinary, cycling power as necessary.

Option 2 is only available if you’re using one of today’s managed power distribution units from companies such as APC and Raritan. Solutions from both companies follow next.

Raritan Dominion PX

The aptly named Dominion line of PDUs from Raritan give IT managers and managed service providers authority over outlets in the data center. Absolute powers include ability to turn on or off, cycle power or set thresholds for usage -- both high and low -- and to be notified by e-mail or SNMP event when reached or crossed.

The Dominion PX software also permits outlets and their users to be grouped for easy identification and policy setting and to aid in capacity planning. One or more PDUs can be controlled using a single IP address.

The summary page (left displays real-time info on RMS current (amps), active power consumption (watts) along with an running total of current draw (amps).

Raritan PowerIQ Dashboard

Raritan’s PowerIQ is a Linux-based utility that runs in a VMware instance or as an appliance in new or existing x86-based hardware. After a short installation and text-based network setup process, all access is through the browser.

The Dashboard (left) displays myriad information about power consumption, with hot links to all known PDUs and IT devices, as well as a means to discover and add news ones. From here, the administrator can find links to troubleshoot an overheated component, assess view power trends for an organization against industry norms, and generate reports.

Raritan PowerIQ Settings

The breadth of PowerIQ capabilities is easy to see from its Settings page, where administrators have access to user authentication controls, security settings, appliance services and data management functions such as data backup and restore, retention periods and external access. PowerIQ also can store login IDs and passwords for PDUs such as the Dominion PX, simplifying the job of navigation for audits, maintenance and troubleshooting tasks.

APC Infrastruxure Appliance

That’s not a typo, Infrastruxure Central is the name of APC by Schneider Electric’s power management software, and is a Test Center-recommended product that your energy-conscious customers may want to consider. Unlike Raritan’s browser-based Dominion PX software, Infrastruxure is desktop software that presents a graphic representation of a blank data center, ready to populate with the customer’s server, storage, power and cooling assets (shown next).

APC Infrastruxure Operations

APC’s centralized management tool simplifies planning of power distribution, hot- and cold-aisle isolation, monitors and reports power consumption and can send alerts when levels reach critical thresholds.

While in the Planning module, drag components from the pre-defined lists in the left-side pane to the right-side floor plan layout. Once racks, power and cooling units are in place, computing and storage equipment can be added to those racks. The software keeps track of power usage and capacities, and warns you if you’ve overloaded anything.

APC Infrastruxure Planning

From the areal view, double-clicking a rack brings up an image of the front of that rack, complete with all installed components and free rack space. A reporting module also tracks this data, and can tell you for example, how many ’U positions’ are available on all the racks in a specific data center. Rack images are easily modified using drag-and-drop from a list of available components in the left-hand pane.

A multi-paned window and point-and-click interface that enables quick visualization of components for moves, adds and changes to rack equipment and power distribution units. Right-clicking on individual components in a ’server room’ displays data about its power connection and consumption along with some general information and specifications about its location and configuration.

Icron ExtremeLink 3500

Another way to save energy is by not having to physically visit a server, kiosk, digital sign, factory machine or medical device every time keyboard or mouse input is needed. KVM extenders are handy when remote desktop sharing is not an option, but such devices often put limitations on video resolution.

Icron Technologies is new on the scene with ExtremeLink 3500, a high-definition KVM that supports DVI video up to 1680 x 1050 x 24-bit resolution, any USB 2.0 or 1.1 device and stereo audio, all over Cat 5 cable of up to 1640 feet (500 meters) in length. ExtremeLink 3500 requires no drivers, works with any operating system and performed flawlessly with all tested USB hubs, cameras and printers.

Bits Ltd LCG3

The ingenious SmartStrip from Bits Ltd. senses the power usage of a CPU or other component in the (blue) control outlet and turns off anything plugged into the outlets colored green (get it?). The company claims that SmartStrips can save $39 or more annually.

The red-colored outlets are for any peripheral that should not be switched off, such as a router.

We looked at the SmartStrip LCG3E, which worked perfectly. Testers plugged a PC into the control outlet and a monitor and external hard drive into two of the green auto-switched outlets. As soon as the PC was powered down, so too were the peripherals. Why didn’t we think of that? At $36.99 list, the SmartStrip is a no-brainer.