Power manager measures device draw

Although there are numerous products designed to aid IT administrators in the management of their networks, power management products are generally unheard of, according to Toronto-based IDC Canada research manager Dan McLean. He said power management is not a top priority concern simply because people don’t think about it, but Server Technology Inc. claims otherwise.

Last month, the Reno, Nev.-based company released the Sentry Power Tower Power Management solution, a hardware unit with 16 power outlet feeds that’s designed to provide network managers with the ability to determine how much power the equipment in a remote cabinet or rack consumes.

According to Server Technology, the Sentry Power Tower gives network managers a new tool for maximizing network uptime and availability without occupying any additional vertical U of rack space.

“Primarily, this product is designed for data centres with a high server density,” explained Chris Holder, product marketing manager for Server Technology. “If you know how much power you are drawing at a nominal time, you could…increase power utilization, which means you can put more equipment in the rack and it requires fewer racks all together. A customer will save a lot of money.”

Holder said the Power Tower features Load Sense to provide an accurate, real-time measurement of the current draw for all the devices connected to the Power Tower, which can be viewed through the user interface screen as well as locally through a built-in display indicator. The company said the device also includes a power-up feature, which prevents all 16 outlets from turning on at once in the case of a power outage.

Still, IDC’s McLean said he has never heard of anyone expressing concerns about power management.

“To me, this sounds like one of those products that a vendor would really have to articulate the value of,” McLean said. “I don’t think this is something that would be readily apparent to most people. To suggest that it is a top of mind concern for anybody, I don’t think it is. It might be one of those things where if you could demonstrate some efficiency savings, it might be a compelling thing.”

Demand for power management tools is growing within the ISP, hosting facility and data centre environments, Holder said. These environments typically have anywhere from 12 to 16 servers per rack representing high management costs, he said.

“The Power Tower is the only solution that offers all these different features,” Holder said. “It offers more flexibility, more scalability in terms of the number of switchable power outlets, in terms of Load Sense and power-up sequencing and the options to access this from a remote location.”

Although the market for this type of product is likely minimal, he said that if it does what is says it does, it might be a good thing, McLean said.

“I’d characterize this as sort of a performance enhancement product and those product are always difficult sells,” McLean said. “That would be the challenge for a vendor like this to go in and demonstrate to (a customer) how this unit can cut costs. I guess what you could do is position this as an intriguing product.”

The Sentry Power Tower is available now with a 15, 20 or 30 Amp power input feed and distributes 110 VAC power to 16 NEMA-style power outlets. Pricing is approximately between US$1,200 to US$1,300. For more information, visit Server Technology at www.servertech.com.