TrendPoint appliance watchdogs data center cooling efficiency

The EnviroCube, which began shipping in volume this summer, is also being represented by optimization companies Schneider Electric and CA.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

One major challenge with keeping a data center energy-efficient is that they are not static environments. Infrastructure equipment is constantly in a state of flux, which means the job that the cooling units need to do likewise is variable. To help ensuring that those units operate to their fullest potential efficiency, TrendPoint Systems of San Ramon, Calif., recently introduced a monitoring appliance called the EnviroCube.

The technology is specifically charged with keeping tabs on heat issues that could lead to downtime, warning a data center operator if a failure is likely to occur. It also monitors for energy efficiency, comparing the performance of different units as appropriate and keep tabs on how many watts are being use to remove heat.

TrendPoint CEO Bob Hunter described EnviroCube's value proposition as a sort of uptime insurance policy for your data center, one that can help pay for itself by cutting cooling costs by up to 30 percent. He isn't the only one that seems to think highly of the technology: TrendPoint partners Schneider Electric and CA planning to support the technology in their data center optimization solutions.

Among the metrics that EnviroCube follows are:

  • Air flow in cubic fee per minute
  • Temperature rise information (the difference between return temperature and supply temperature)
  • Voltage, amperage, power factor, and wattage

This data can be used to determine rankings for the computer room air conditioning (CRAC) or computer room handling (CRAH) units being monitored;

  • Factors that could point to a potential equipment failure
  • Tuning for low-performing units
  • Knowing when certain units can be decommissioned (for example, as the result of a data center consolidation project)

The information is presented both in reports and visually, and the live graphs can even be viewed on the iPad. Beta customer SpringNet has been using several EnviroCubes in its 70,000 square-foot hosting center in Springfield, Miss. Said Chris Yates, operations and engineering manager.

"We have a long and successful relationship with TrendPoint and have used their EnerSure product to bill and manage our data center's power usage. We have been looking forward to using their EnviroCube and now have four of them installed in one of our separate data rooms. ... We plan to deploy the units throughout our data center and expect a payback on investment in less than two years."

It takes one EnviroCube to monitor one CRAC or CRAH. Each appliance is priced at approximately $2,300, Hunter said.

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