One of the chief ways that startups are helping make data centers greener is by developing wireless technology that can fill in the energy blind spots. As analyst Katherine Austin put it in our recent GigaOM Pro report (subscription required), in which she takes a look at startups like SynapSense and Sentilla: “You can’t control what you don’t monitor.” Well, here’s another startup moving into that market: Arch Rock announced Sunday night that it has launched a wireless data center energy management product to complement its energy management software service Energy Optimizer.
The 4-year-old San Francisco-based company says its new Energy Optimizer Data Center Edition can help data center operators track their facility’s electricity usage and thermal status. As the company explains it, there’s an increasing amount of pressure on data center operators to decrease the cooling of their systems and to run their facilities at a higher temperatures. That pressure is coming from both rising energy costs for data centers and regulations that could put a cap on carbon emissions and, thus, penalize companies using a lot of energy.
But as data center operators run their systems at higher temperatures, it’s difficult for them to tell which areas of the data center are getting overheated and could falter. (Stacks and stacks of servers produce a lot of heat.) That’s where Arch Rock’s energy optimizer for data centers steps in. The wireless sensor network and management software monitors both electricity and cooling system efficiency at a variety of spots like the data center’s power circuits, server racks, air conditioners, chillers and underneath the raised floor.
As Austin explained in her GigaOM Pro report, the vital role of wireless energy monitoring and management systems not only can kick off power-saving IT strategies, but can also help sustain those efficiencies over the long haul. One of the primary reasons to adopt a wireless monitoring system is to validate the effectiveness of other green investments like adding on free cooling or running the center a couple degrees hotter. Otherwise, says Austin, “you can implement all these strategies, but you have no way of telling if it’s doing any good.”
Both SynapSense and Sentilla have been selling into this area for a while. HP relies on SynapSense, a company launched by Intel’s Peter Van Deventer and UC Davis computer science professor Raju Pandey, for its Environmental Edge monitoring system. The company’s wireless sensor technology feeds power and cooling data into real-time visualization software. Sentilla’s “Energy Manager for Data Centers” allows IT shops to wirelessly monitor their energy consumption in multi-vendor environments with microcomputers embedded in their power strips that monitor how much energy is going into their server rack.