There is a mad dash to make servers look better. In the communications space the first good looking server I remember was the Orca from Nuera (now part of Audiocodes). The drive to make servers even better looking came as the consumer electronics market and especially Apple began to increase its influence on designers.
The exception to this rule is definitely Eaton Electric, the company behind the Power Xpert Server Solution which they claim to be the ugliest server you have ever seen. They further go on to say you’d be ugly too if you had your hands across 4,000 amps. You know what? They are right. And speaking of amps and volts, the company’s servers are designed exclusively to monitor the power levels in your data center.
You can’t fit these servers on a 19 inch rack by the way – they look more like a heat sink on steroids than a blade.
The angle here is as follows – you need to know more about the power your data center uses and whether your electric bill is accurate. Furthermore you need to be aware of the occurrence and duration of sags, swells and transients.
You also need to be aware of voltage problems brought on by your power generator and/or the combination of your UPS and generator.
It should go without saying that the company’s servers help you identify the above problems and moreover an embedded web server means you can monitor your facilities’ electrical situation via a simple web browser.
Even if you don’t know that voltage equals current times resistance or V=IR, you should be able to utilize Eaton’s servers as they present a web interface which displays a few rows of what appear to be digital thermometers representing such items as power frequency, kVA, kW, voltage and amps. This display in fact seems to be intentionally Star Trek like.
In addition, there are two thermometers representing power quality index – one for the past ten minutes and another for the past 24 hour. These thermometers are colored green, yellow and/or red depending on power quality parameters.
Think of these two as the power displays for beginners as they show you the overall health of your electrical systems and power.
For the person who aced electrical engineering and enjoys dealing with Fourier transforms and double integrals, there are settings which allow you to change various thresholds and add other items you would like to monitor.
In a perfect world, you would have one server sit on the unconditioned power line and another one sit on the conditioned power line allowing baselining so you can easily monitor the variation between both power sources.
Another reason you may want to monitor both types of power is due to the fact a copier, laser printer or fan can potentially wreak havoc on your electrical signals. In order to determine if power problems are being caused inside or outside your company, you need to watch both very closely.
Eaton Electric’s servers are obviously also helpful for companies looking to make their data centers more green as they allow you to instantly see how much power various pieces of equipment – or even entire racks utilize.
As corporate investment in technology increases, it is incumbent on IT managers to ensure their networks are getting a diet of clean power to ensure that mission critical equipment stays healthy. Installing servers specifically designed to monitor power quality makes a lot of sense if you have something worth protecting.
Let’s just hope you find this article before you have a power issue instead of having your boss find it after a spike takes out a critical server.