I was invited by a local hosting provider to give a presentation last Friday about green data centers. As I was gathering the data to illustrate some of the trends I wanted to highlight, I was astonished to discover that very few companies apparently measure their server power consumption very closely today.
Software vendor Cassatt, for example, recently published the results of a survey showing that more than one-quarter of data center managers don't measure power consumption for their servers at all. Another 24 percent watch it on the macro-level, by monitoring the power distribution units. Another 23 percent have a handle on the server room, 16 percent look at it by rack and 8 percent follow individual servers. If you want to read more of the Cassatt data, you can find a press release and white paper at this link.
Not surprisingly, there's a lot of venture capital being funneled into companies that offer various approaches for data center visibility and visibility across the electric grid. I've written about several of them over the past nine months and will take a closer look over the next few weeks at updating what's going on with some of them.
First up is SynapSense, which introduced a new version of its SynapSoft software for collecting and analyzing data center operating conditions during the Uptime Institute's Symposium 2008. Here's a whole lot more detail on the technology, which includes a new feature called LiveImaging, which actually maps different "hot spots" and "overcooled zones" so that data center managers can see them visually on a diagram.
Peter Van Deventer, cofounder, president and CEO of SynapSense, says because the sensors that SynapSoft uses are wireless, his company's technology can be deployed in a 25,000-square-foot data center in a matter of hours without disrupting operations. The startup, which was founded a little over two years ago, is working closely with IBM, which has helped its cause. Another public ally is Yahoo, Van Deventer said, and SynapSense is also involved with a project in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
You'll hear a whole more about the role of wireless sensors and instrumentation in the data center. Some companies, including SynapSense, believe sensor networks such as the ones that underlie SynapSoft will represent the next wave of wireless adoption. It's another twist on that old pervasive networks infilitration theory. Van Deventer has more to say in this video interview with Environmental Leader.