Load balancing for the entire data center

Load balancing for the entire data center

Load balancing may seem like a grueling task, but it doesn't have to be with DCIM.

Discovering the need for load balancing in the data center is about as inevitable as finding fish out at sea during a long ocean voyage: it's not a matter of if, but when will loads will need to be balanced. 

Load balancing is really about ensuring balanced distribution of power levels in a data center. Any failure to do so can result in damaged electronics and wasted resources. Therefore, it's important that data center management understand why load balancing throughout the entire facility is essential for operational efficiency. More importantly, it's vital that they have a methodology for detecting unbalanced loads, and a strategy for reestablishing equilibrium. 

The balance of power: Beware of circuit overloads and zombie servers

Data centers consume enormous quantities of electricity, and this is precisely why they are always under scrutiny for their energy efficiency, or lack thereof. Therefore, electrical loads must be balanced with power management products and solutions. An unusually high number of shorts or circuit overloads in certain sectors of a data center might be a sign that specific cabinets or racks are consuming too much energy, or that hardware is being overworked. 

Granted, there are fail safes in place to prevent extensive downtime from poorly balanced electrical loads. For example, breakers literally "break" the current to prevent sensitive electronics from being fried by too much energy use. However, regular circuit overloads are never a good thing. After a while, breakers have to be replaced. More importantly, while breakers prevent immediate damage from occurring as a result of over-current conditions, they won't necessarily ensure optimal power conditions that ultimately prolong the life of electronics. 

Zombie servers, which are essentially comatose servers that leech electricity, are also problematic when it comes to power management. In fact, an Anthesis report estimates that there are 10 million of these comatose servers worldwide, needlessly consuming energy. Some cases of too much power consumption strike like lightning, resulting in circuit overloads. Others slowly sneak up behind data center management, eventually biting them in the form of extraneous expenses over time. 

Power monitoring can preempt load balancing issues 

In theory, an uninterruptible power supply should help mitigate damages resulting from outages. However, frequent circuit overloads and hordes of zombie servers are both deleterious. The former will result in the need to replace equipment more frequently, and, because breakers can be only be reset a finite number of times, PDUs will eventually have to be swapped out. Meanwhile, comatose servers will silently leech power, resulting in higher costs for wasted resources. In either scenario, there is little doubt that operational expenses will become bloated. This can inhibit future growth if shrugged off, or left undetected. 

Herein lies the beauty of effective power management paired with power monitoring solutions. Rather than finding out about load balancing the hard way, power monitoring alerts data center managers when there is a power-related issue that might be raising operational costs. Sensors built directly into - or added onto - power distribution units pinpoint problems that may otherwise be difficult to detect. What's more, by integrating power monitoring with a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution, power management teams can automatically identify the most efficient load balance within the entire data center. All of this information can be viewed on a single pane of glass, from which data center managers can identify specific as well as overarching issues. Power management strategies can therefore be optimized for current facility conditions, but also in a manner that is sustainable for future growth. 

Geist power monitoring PDU's, for example, in chorus with its proactive Environet solution delivers analytics that can be used to assess key power metrics. Load balancing is achieved in the present, while data center managers are also informed about what might need to be done in the future to ensure that power equilibrium is maintained across critical electronics in the data center. Such capabilities help guarantee that data center operations stay on the straight and narrow toward a consistent bottom line, that no money is wasted and that management teams continue to pinpoint new opportunities for future revenue.