Saturday 19 November 2011

November Update

Well, I promised to update the blog with news from the Green IT expo and the BCS DCSG event so here goes.

Green IT Expo

The usual suspects were all there with the notable exception of Very PC, whom I know had some very important stuff to attend to, namely the take over of another green IT vendor, I cant say too much about this at the present time as I am sworn to secrecy. Peter will no doubt be available over the coming weeks to explain about his exciting new venture.
The quality of the speakers was again exceptional and Sara Clark and her team at Revolution Events are to be congratulated for the excellent exhibition and seminars. I understand that next year the event will be held once again at the QE2 Exhibition centre.
Both Chris Wallace and Bob Crookes were speaking (Chris is the Green IT Product Manager at the BCS and Bob is the chair of the BCS Green IT SG.
I will be with Bob on the 1st December at Environment 2011, where we will be heading the discussion group panel on the "Role ot IT in Environmental protection: data centre energy consumption", for further information and to register for the event follow this link Environment 2011 Registration.

DCSG Meeting
This meeting was to hear about Data Centre Infrastructure Management or DCIM tools, DCIM tools allow the real time management of Data Centres in terms of both the facilities side and the IT side, however as you can imagine, technicians on both sides of the fence have differing opinions on how this should be acheived with the result that many tools deal with the issues from their particular perspective.
The facilities side is dominated by Building Management Systems and the IT side with enterprise management products such as HP Openview or IBM's Tivoli and it seems with little interaction between them.
This is mostly historic, as BMS monitoring systems used proprietory connections and software as did the IT side, difficult to monitor an IBM Server with HP Open view for instance.
Anyway it seems that we've got to view the DC as a system, not a series of servers and manage the facilty as a whole not as separate entities.
So, what are we monitoring? well Temperature and Humidity, but also server health and utilisation to build up a environmental map for the whole data centre, and to be able to dynamically move vservers into optimum environmental areas as required.
In practice, lets imagine a 200 rack facility with 10 physical hosts per rack and most of the physical servers comprise 10 vservers each, thus we have 200 x 10 x 10 = 20,000 vservers, now most of these servers are used between 8am and 6pm, say 18,000 and we have 2,000 core servers available 24/7/365.
What DCIM allows you to do, is to vmotion the 18,000 servers into a parked state and putting the hosts into standby, thus saving energy and cooling across the facility, further that you put your core servers into the optimum zones for cooling/energy use.
DCIM requires the real time monitoring of temperature and humidity and this is where is all gets a bit interesting, the amount of data to be collected can very quickly become unmanageable and some clever stuff is used to minimise the amount of data transmitted across the networks to the monitoring server.
This particular company use a level of local processing, so whilst the monitors are polling at say 1min intervals, local processing means that only hourly averages get sent to the server, that not to say that data is lost, its just kept locally, for a set period then deleted, after all who needs to know the temperature at 1min intervals?
In the event of a "spike" the entire data set for a set period before and after the event is kept, a sort of overide and probably better than currently, where spikes would trigger monitoring events after the initial trigger point.
All in all very exciting stuff, backed up with the excellent Andy Lawrence from the 451 Group who gave us a sneak preview of his talk on the DCIM market that he will be giving at DCD on the 30th November/1st December at Excel further information and booking details here DCD London .
I'll be speaking at this event as well on the subject of retrofiting energy efficiency solutions into existing Data Centres.

Well thats enough from me, I appreciate that I promised a review of the Governments Greening ICT strategy and this is in progress, theres a lot to go through!
See you next time

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