Earlier this month Power Assure, a developer of software-defined power solutions, offered its PAR4 Measurement Tool, a software utility which allows users to exercise servers, measure power consumption and calculate PAR4 energy efficiency ratings, available free of charge. “We believe that PAR4 provides critical energy efficiency information for organizations to select their servers, and to determine the true amount of power a server will consume at full load,” said President and CEO Pete Malcolm.
SDP is the abstraction of the application from a specific power source, which is accomplished by moving the application automatically from one data center to another or one data source to another. This effectively frees it from a specific power source by exploiting the multiple locations, data centers and redundancy hardware that has been provisioned for disaster recovery purposes.
IT Trends & Analysis spoke with Malcom recently about SDP and how it is becoming less of an unknown, and more a topic of conversation, if not interest. “Essentially the IT guys don’t pay the power bills!” As a result, they pretty much didn’t care, but other people were starting to notice that power was becoming more critical.
“The cost of power has increased, which made much more visible… and other people in the organization are starting to sit up and take notice.” The numbers offered by Power Assure illustrate just why power is getting a higher profile:
-data centers consume approximately 2.2% of world’s electricity, and rising, costing $60 billion per year;
-this consumption produces 230 million tons of CO2 every year;
-the loss of power remains cause of more than 50% of application outages;
-five nines – 99.999% data center reliability – equates to 5.26 minutes downtime per year, but the effect on applications is substantially greater;
-more than 80% of disaster recovery failovers to a secondary site do not complete successfully; and,
-outages often last for hours or even days.
Avoiding – and/or – recovering from a power outage is a key benefit of SDP, said Malcolm. “This is the big advantage of software-defined power for the IT side of the house because it dramatically increases your reliability.”
Essentially what we’re doing is virtualizing the entire data center, he said. “That increase in reliability just happens to be paid for by the power savings. It’s a win/win for everybody.”
Power Assure has been spending a lot of time educating analysts about power issues, said Malcolm. “We were talking about it but nobody was really seeing it.”
Educating analysts seems to be paying off. In October IDC published a report stating that becoming involved in the energy market and improving energy management using solutions such as Power Assure’s EM/4 and PAR4 is a logical way for the large datacenter owners and operators — those that manage facilities in multiple regions — to decrease costs while increasing efficiency. ‘An additional benefit beyond cost savings is the ability to reduce risk by enabling an IT organization to shift workloads easily,’ said the report’s author, Jennifer Koppy.
Last month Enterprise Management Associates called Power Assure a vendor to watch. ‘Blazing a trail to delivering true software-defined power, data center infrastructure and energy management solution provider, Power Assure, helps organizations dynamically provision workloads to maximize their high-availability, performance, and cost-effectiveness.’
While software-defined data centers have increased in popularity for their ability to ensure optimal workload performance (in terms of processing, memory, disk I/O, and network speed), existing solutions in this space do not natively account for the substantial costs and reliability challenges associated with energy consumption. EMA believes Power Assure’s unique and effective approach to achieving software-defined power has earned the vendor recognition for its innovation and leadership.
The analyst plugs are nice but there is still more education to be done, said Malcolm. “Once we show it to people and it works, they move to how would it work in my environment.”
Looking ahead, he said there are a variety of directions they can move in, including adding functionality, new applications, ie consolidating virtual workloads, and more sophisticated pricing models. “We’re right at the beginning of the curve here, but the potential market is huge.”