Knowing how much energy is a good start

There is a new category of software emerging called Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM). Software and tools fall under this banner if they measure, report or manage the energy consumption of data centers. Our NightWatchman Server Edition product does all three for physical and virtual servers and then crucially reveals where energy is being wasted.

Gartner recently published a paper covering not only DCIM but workload-based energy management too. This is interesting as it discusses the idea of measuring energy used per application and assessing how much useful work is achieved with the energy used. Click here to access the Gartner paper: /nightwatchman/

The concept of useful work was built into NightWatchman Server Edition from the start. The question of ‘how much energy?’ is a good one and reports on that are important, but for me the goal has always been to find out where and when that energy is put to good use. Once you get your hands on that information it becomes much easier to improve efficiency.

Here’s a good example of inefficiency. How often have you experienced that sudden need for a server? Usually it’s to try out something new and interesting or do a quick bit of testing, something like that. You don’t fancy your chances of getting a new server approved and anyway that procurement process takes time. So you embark on a piece of detective work and interrogation that I see all the time. Who’s got the latest inventory spreadsheet? Are you still using that server in the lab? This approach is time consuming and beset by inaccuracy and hoarders.

Of course virtualization is advertised as the fix. It’s quick and easy to provision a new server, and you probably don’t even have to talk to anybody about it. But is that fixing it or creating a new problem? I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

What I propose is that energy monitoring and reporting by itself doesn’t fix the inefficient ‘I need a spare server’ cycle. But knowing what is powered and not doing anything useful absolutely does. So by attaching usefulness to energy consumption you really can find spare servers in a few minutes and avoid short cuts which lead to sprawl.

Andy Hawkins, Product Manager NightWatchman Server Edition

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