Schneider Electric News
New Approach Incrementally Cools Data Centers
By Carl Weinschenk, October 22, 2015
Technology from Inertech is enabling sister company Aligned Data Centers to add or reduce cooling capacity in 300 kW increments.
A feature at Data Center Knowledge starts with a description of the challenge: Firms want the ability to scale data center capacity up and down at will. This can be done by using a public data center such as Amazon Web Services. However, such an approach reduces the control over data that some companies want.
The answer is to modularize all phases of a colocation data center. The story says that 300 kW of additional cooling can be deployed in eight weeks. This approach represents a real world compromise – since the public (infrastructure-as-a-service) model is instantaneous. It does, however, enable the client to avoid what it sees as the drawbacks of the IaaS approach.
Inertech’s modular cooling system is called The Thermal Hub. A 100-ton Hub runs on 500 watts – compared to the 90,000 watts needed for a chiller and chiller pump system. Aligned and Inertech are parts of holding company Aligned Energy.
Data centers use extraordinary amounts of power. Ratcheting that consumption down is an important topic. Last month, Schneider Electric released a white paper that explores some of the options.
Check out the full article:
Sys-Con Media: Data Centers: Wearables, Connected Cars and Smart Homes | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M
By Elizabeth White, October 22, 2015
How the IoT, wearable technology, connected cars and smart homes could all depend upon the benefits offered by edge data centers
Data Centers on the Edge
With the exponential growth of network traffic slowing down data transmission, companies are looking for solutions. Recently, a solution has emerged that can help improve your data speed with data centers on the edge. These micro data center solutions can simplify the lives of many data center owners and operators because they are self-contained, secure computing environments, assembled in a factory and shipped in one enclosure which includes all the necessary power, cooling, security, and management tools. Their flexibility opens up a wave of new applications, made possible through reduced latency, increased security and cost efficiency.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steven Carlini, Senior Director for Schneider Electric, will discuss how the Internet of Things, wearable technology, connected cars and smart homes could all depend upon the benefits offered by these edge data centers.
Steven Carlini is the Senior Director, Data Center Global Solution Marketing and Business Development for Schneider Electric. He is responsible for developing and communicating the value proposition for Schneider Electric's data center segment. A frequent speaker at industry conferences and forums, his focus is on physical infrastructure for enterprise and cloud data centers. He is an expert on the foundation layer of data centers which include prefabricated modules, power and power distribution, cooling, rack systems, physical security, and DCIM management solutions.
Prior to joining Schneider Electric, who acquired APC in 2007, Steven ran the UPS Division for Toshiba International Corporation. Involved with the critical power and cooling industry since 1989, he has been responsible for guiding the direction of many industry changing products and solutions that solve real customer problems or give businesses competitive advantages.
Steven holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma, and an MBA in International Business from the CT Bauer School at the University of Houston.
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Who is Winning in the DCIM Software Market?
By YEVGENIY SVERDLIK, October 21, 2015
Despite continued skepticism in the industry, the data center infrastructure management software market is growing. DCIM software is expensive, complicated, difficult to implement, and difficult to define, which are all good and justified reasons for skepticism. But at least the first three characteristics can be applied to any major enterprise software product. There’s no “easy button” for DCIM – at least today – and that’s something more and more data center operators are learning to come to terms with.
IDC this week released its latest MarketScape report on the DCIM software market, finding that while the very top players are the same, competition for their market share is heating up, as new vendors enter the market, and as previously existing ones step up their game.
Gaining on the Leaders
The three leaders in the DCIM software market are still Schneider Electric, Emerson Network Power, and Nlyte Software. IDC ranks market leadership based on both technological capabilities and business strategy.
But a group of other vendors the market research firm considers “major players” has moved much closer to the top three. Within this group are also some newer entrants with highly competitive solutions.
Two of those newer entrants are the Swiss industrial automation giant ABB and the German conglomerate Siemens. The two companies have a special advantage if the data center market continues to move in the direction of greater automation.
Both have significant industrial automation experience, which they are using as a “calling card” in the DCIM software market, Jennifer Koppy, research director at IDC and author of the report, said. Both Schneider and Emerson have automation capabilities, but ABB and Siemens are emphasizing them to “make their mark.”
Market Expected to Get Close to $1B by 2019
Compared to revenues raked in by vendors selling other kinds of data center technology, DCIM software isn’t a huge market, but it is growing steadily.
IDC’s forecast is that it will reach about $576 million in size this year – up from $475 million in 2014. Koppy projects that the market will grow at a compound annual rate of about 16 percent between 2014 and 2019, at which point it will reach $988 million.
Today, Emerson has the largest share of the DCIM software market, and Schneider has the second largest, according to IDC.
The Importance of Services
Providing services around DCIM planning and deployment is a big part of the revenue calculation for DCIM software vendors. Of the $576 million in revenue IDC expects vendors to make this year, $184 million is revenue from services. The proportion remains similar over the next five years in IDC’s projections.
Domenic Alcaro, VP of mission critical services and software at Schneider, told us in an earlier interview that companies were increasingly realizing just how costly large-scale DCIM implementation can be and coming to terms with those costs. That companies were recognizing that deploying DCIM should be viewed as similar to deploying other major enterprise applications – like those by Oracle or SAP, which traditionally require hiring an entire implementation team – is a sign that the market is maturing, he said.
Being able to provide a high level of services around DCIM has become necessary for a DCIM software vendor to stay competitive, Koppy said.
DCIM to Become Key Differentiator for Colos
One of the most promising market segments for DCIM vendors are data center colocation providers. Koppy expects take-up of DCIM solutions by colo companies to accelerate, as they look for ways to stand out in the market.
Today, some colocation providers are using off-the-shelf DCIM software, and some are taking the “white label” approach, buying commercial solutions but giving them their own brand names and offering DCIM capabilities to customers as a service.
“Colocation providers are choosing their dance partners now in the DCIM space,” Koppy said. She expects DCIM to become a major differentiator for colos next year.
Another growing opportunity for DCIM vendors is the expansion of data center capacity to places not traditionally known as major data center markets. Referred to as “edge” data centers, companies are building these facilities primarily to store digital media content and cloud services for delivery to customers in those areas faster.
There’s demand for remote management of those facilities by data center providers, and DCIM software that offers such capabilities finds its way to those sites.
Pressure on IT Drives DCIM Maturation
After a period of vagueness and a lot of frustration with DCIM, the market is showing signs of maturation. Data center operators in general have a better understanding of DCIM technologies, Koppy said.
The market is maturing, and it’s pressure to provide “better, faster, cheaper delivery of IT resources that is really driving that,” she said.
IT shops recognize that they need better visibility into their data center infrastructure and, ultimately, more automation, and DCIM software, in combination with other management systems, such as IT service management software and building management systems, offers a way to get there.
Early DCIM software users pay more than Johnny-come-latelies
By Robert Gates, October 20, 2015
The total cost of ownership for DCIM has dropped over the past few years as more data centers use the tech.
If you bought DCIM software three years ago, you've spent about 40% more than IT shops that buy it today.
Total cost of ownership (TCO) for data center infrastructure management(DCIM) software has dropped 40% in the past three years, said Jay Pultz, a vice president and analyst at Gartner Inc., during a presentation earlier this month at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Fla. TCO for DCIM will drop another 25% over the next three years, he said.
One IT pro who has been in the market for DCIM software this year is Jan Bates, systems operations director at UK HealthCare at University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.
UK HealthCare narrowed it down to two finalists that were asked to respond to specific scenarios presented by the organization's employees, including questions about compatibility with blade servers. UK HealthCare needed a way to get down to the blade and chassis level and get "the full picture" from the configuration management database.
"We are a very blade-centered data center," Bates said. "That was a big differentiator within the DCIM tools."
Her vision, after getting up and running with the DCIM product, is to get auto-discover tools that update it.
The ROI of DCIM software
A typical DCIM system costs less than 1% of the TCO of a data center. For example, DCIM for a 200-rack data center will cost about $80,000 annually, according to Gartner's research.
Bates is still working on ways to justify the cost and return on investment of buying a DCIM tool.
"It will cut down on the human error -- that is the reason I want to do it," she said. "Any time I have a human do it, it is error-prone."
Businesses should consider installing a DCIM system in the next few years because it solves a fundamental problem in the data center by bringing together monitoring of the IT and facilities systems, according to Pultz.
"I wonder how we were able to manage so well without resolving this problem," Pultz said, noting that the two parts of the data center have been separately managed for many years.
DCIM success hinges on the cooperation of IT and facilities teams in the data center. Pultz encourages enterprises to create a collaborative team to select a DCIM tool and give both sides an equal say in selection.
"The idea is to get IT and facilities working closer together and not have the artificial separation that has existed for years," he said.
Some key considerations when shopping for DCIM software is to ask about how well it works with IT service management platforms, to what degree it allows for automation and whether it will work across multiple data centers.
DCIM software vendors may not be household names to IT pros, Pultz said, because many come from the power and cooling industry or are DCIM pure-plays that don't have other IT offerings.
DCIM has been a "fussily-defined market" with 97 vendors offering a DCIM product of some sort, each one offering slightly different features, Pultz said. More recently, the specifics of what DCIM software should include has become better defined. Some of the top vendors include Schneider Electric,Emerson Network Power, CA Technologies and Nlyte Software.
It is a $250 million market annually with growth to $1 billion in the next few years, Gartner showed, with more than 5,000 enterprises running DCIM in data centers today.
How DCIM software helps data center managers
It is just as important for a data center manager to have insight into the building systems as it is to have insight into the IT infrastructure, since the building systems "fundamentally define" data center uptime, Pultz said. If a data center fails it will likely fail from the power or cooling systems that rust or wear out in ways that IT equipment does not, he said.
Increased density in the data center also puts more pressure on the power and cooling infrastructure, he said.
"Their jobs basically depend on it," Pultz said of data center managers. "If the data center goes down, they should basically be writing their resume."
DCIM also helps synchronize capacity planning for both IT and building facility needs.
"Power systems have a very long lead time. You can't go down to Costco and buy another UPS for your data center -- it takes time," Pultz said.
A data center is optimized on day one, but over time -- after adding new servers, for example, the data center is not optimized for power, cooling and physical space.
Many enterprises have IT asset management systems, but those often do not show how servers are being powered -- something DCIM helps do. DCIM also helps data center managers understand how all parts of a facility are connected and interrelated.
"It's 10 a.m., do you know where your server is?" Pultz asked. "That is not an easy question to answer if you have a very large data center."
The value of DCIM is growing, getting closer to claims made by many vendors about three years ago that DCIM software would pay for itself through energy savings, Pultz said.
"It wasn't true three years ago, but it is starting to be true now," he said.
The next step for DCIM is to manage multiple data centers or integrate colocation data center locations.
"A number of the vendors are moving in that direction," Pultz said.
Robert Gates covers data centers, data center strategies, server technologies, converged and hyper-converged infrastructure and open source operating systems for SearchDataCenter. Follow him on Twitter@RBGatesTT or email him at email@example.com.