Console management can help with server efficiency

Server efficiency issues are pushing data center leaders to manage energy use more effectively, making console server systems more important.

By Donna Donnawitz
October 10, 2012
Data center efficiency is a major problem. Energy consumption in data centers is rising quickly. While many facilities are more efficient that most data centers were just a few years ago, if you analyze power usage metrics, you may notice a somewhat clear lack of details pertaining to energy use by actual servers.

Server power use issues in data centers
Power usage efficiency, one of the most common metrics developed to identify how efficiently data centers run, does not even take server power into serious consideration. The metric takes the amount of energy used by servers and compares it to the amount of energy used by cooling and other non-core technology systems. The goal is to get a rating as close to 1.0 as possible. A 1.0 rating would mean that all of a the electricity used in the data center goes to servers and other IT equipment, with nothing being wasted on secondary systems.

The problem with this measuring stick is that it does not address how efficient the actual servers are. A company can be wasting large quantities of power by underutilizing systems or having them take excess energy because of a component problem, and one of the leading energy metrics doesn't really take this into account.

A recent Wired report explained that the lack of careful analysis of server power efficiency across the data center industry is becoming a real problem. The companies that actually get sustainability right, at least on some levels, are unwilling to share their data because it is a competitive secret. So nobody benefits from their expertise and plenty of data centers are being run with hundreds of servers that are only 6 percent or 7 percent utilized.

The importance of console management
Investing in console server systems can help companies alleviate some of their server-related energy struggles. While console management features will not usually provide the ability to identify precisely how much energy is wasted by servers, it will give you the ability to more easily control and manage devices. This ensures that when a problem arises with an application system, the user can set up new virtual machines from a remote device. Operators will not have to drive a few hours out to a branch office's data center and hurriedly install a new server to solve the problem quickly. This enables substantial efficiency gains over time, as haphazard server deployment can be eliminated and sustainability can be enabled.

Perle’s wide range of 1 to 48 port Perle Console Servers provide data center managers and network administrators with secure remote management of any device with a serial console port. Plus, they are the only truly fault tolerant Console Servers on the market with the advanced security functionality needed to easily perform secure remote data center management and out-of-band management of IT assets from anywhere in the world.

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