May 4, 2007

Dispelling Myths in the Data Center

To manage a data center, you need security policies, operating procedures, best practices and run books. Unfortunately, there's also a collection of myths and superstitions that tend to accumulate over time. One of these concerns the impact of powering a server up/down on that server's failure rate. It's time to dispell that myth.

The reality: servers and their internal components are designed to be resilient to power operations. Powering servers on and off does not increase their failure rate. Most server hardware released in the past 4 years has been designed for power operations. Servers from HP, Dell, IBM and Sun all ship with power controllers that allow you to power them on/off remotely. All the internal components are designed wtih power management in mind: solid-state power supplies, small-diameter hard drives that can spin up/down very quickly, efficient use of VLSI and custom ASIC's, redundant on-board network interface cards.

Think about your own laptop. Do you power it off or suspend it at night when you're not using it? Do you have power-management enabled on your laptop so the hard drive spins down after a period of inactivity?

Guess what, servers are also designed to be powered off when they're not needed and powered on only when you need them. It's just that most data center applications are not designed with power management in mind. Data centers are provisioned for peak load, whereas the average load is significantly lower.

What if you could power on servers only as they are needed to respond to increasing load? Cassatt has power management solutions for your data center where we can provide that missing power-management capability. These same power management solutions also allow to you to reduce power consumption based on time of day or demand-reduction events from your power company.

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