802.11 Wi-Fi platform governs intelligent rack PDUs

Raritan has introduced an 802.11-standards-based wireless platform designed to simplify and reduce the cost of deploying intelligent rack PDUs (iPDUs).

Raritan has introduced an 802.11-standards-based wireless platform designed to simplify and reduce the cost of deploying intelligent rack PDUs (iPDUs) and an array of environment and asset sensors used in monitoring energy, capacity, assets, and the overall health of data centers. The new product announcement was made at the Gartner Data Center Conference 2012, where the new wireless platform is being shown this week.

The Raritan Wi-Fi solution enables data center racks to be instrumented quickly and easily for data center infrastructure management (DCIM) capabilities and solutions, and eliminates the time and cost associated with wired Ethernet connections at each rack. The company says the Wi-Fi solution is ideal for new data centers that want to deploy power monitoring and sensors, as well as for existing data centers that do not have available Ethernet ports and want to augment basic PDUs in a cabinet with intelligent energy monitoring iPDUs and/or environment and asset sensors.

Unlike proprietary versions of wireless mesh technology, Raritan notes that its solution supports the widely adopted 802.11 standard and is Wi-Fi certified for the 802.11 a/b/g/n standards. Deploying the Raritan Wi-Fi solution in a data center cabinet/rack simply involves plugging the Raritan Wi-Fi USB stick into a small magnetic USB dock, which in turn plugs into a USB port of a Raritan PX2 iPDU or EMX Smart Rack Controller.

Once installed, the solution immediately starts capturing real-time power monitoring data from Raritan iPDUs and information from connected environment and asset sensors, and sends the encrypted data over the air to a third-party wireless access point -- which also provides a connection to the wired network. The wireless access point can support up to 6,400 sensors and up to 2,000 metered outlets.

To provide a more complete picture of data center operations, data collected -- which can include current (amps), voltage, power (kVA, kW), energy consumption (kWh), temperature, humidity and airflow -- is shared with Raritan DCIM software solutions (dcTrack for asset, change, and capacity management and Power IQ for energy management) that provide analytics and reporting.

In addition to ease-of-deployment and flexibility advantages, Raritan says its Wi-Fi solution can help customers lower DCIM total cost of ownership (TCO) by reducing the number of Ethernet ports -- and associated costs in switching hardware, wiring and IP addresses. The company claims that use of the Wi-Fi solution can result in 10x savings over traditional wired Ethernet solutions.

eBay -- which monitors data center energy and temperature with Raritan's iPDUs and sensors -- used Raritan's Wi-Fi solution to eliminate two Ethernet drops per cabinet, reducing network CAPEX and cost of Ethernet cabling installation and maintenance.

"Our new Wi-Fi solution is designed to provide more flexibility and ease in deploying energy-monitoring iPDUs and sensors in racks, so that data centers can take advantage of DCIM capabilities to optimize data center performance," concludes David Wood, Director - Power Business Unit, Raritan.

Wood adds, "An instrumented data center delivers detailed performance, utilization and energy consumption information -- as well as clear visibility to all data center assets along with their connectivity and system status. As a result, managers can be more efficient in their use of energy, space, equipment and human resources."

According to Gartner, by 2015 DCIM tools and processes will be deployed by more than 60 percent of data centers.

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