Take the power of power management back into your hands

Inus Dreckmeyr

No matter whether they are made up of one or of a host of racks with multiple blades, the datacentre houses your most critical assets, but it is also the most susceptible to power spikes, dips and surges. Simply protecting your power at the external source, for example the power utilities feed, is not enough. Netshield South Africa advises businesses to carefully plan power management and monitoring in their business and to consider a holistic approach with multiple devices in the process.

First and foremost, Netshield CEO Inus Dreckmeyr warns that one must consider the nature of a power surge or spike, noting that these are not all created equal. Accordingly, he says that some surges are high in voltage but last for a short amount of time, whereas others last longer with respective oscillations and contain more energy, effectively causing more damage.

To this end, a lightning strike is very different to a loss of power quality or a surge in power across the utilities line, and the power management solutions you use must know the difference. In order to manage these strikes, spikes and surges, you will require a combination of differing components to ensure that all the energy is dissipated, and the components required are a combination of fast reacting and bulk absorption devices. Fast reacting devices at the leading edge and the bulk absorption and slower reacting components will ensure that the bulk energy is consumed by the protection devices – it is important to use the appropriate monitorable device that ensure prompt alerting on failure.

“Power management and protection is a quintessential aspect of any environment where sensitive electronic equipment is housed, but few companies give it the importance that it requires. In our experience, when installing a device to protect your environment it is critical that you ensure that there is monitorability on the device. While it is great to have something that does the protection component for you and will trip a switch if there is a surge (therefore doing its job), you also need to know if these devices are still in good working order and are still protectiong your equipment, or if they have been damaged by the change in voltage,” states Dreckmeyr.

“Also you can’t just protect the power that comes from the outside, you also need to protect it from the inside. In short from the distribution box to the server room / datacentre and everywhere inbetween.”

To assist with the better management of the distribution board, Netshield provides mountable monitored surge protection through its NLFC1S350/NLFC3S350 devices that cater for both single- and three-phase power environments. These units come with a fixed wired base that can be wired directly into your distribution board with the actual unit being pluggable for ease of maintenance and come in a lightning current and surge arrester combination. Covering you for both high and low voltage situations. They can be installed at the main board outside, as well as along all the distribution boards in a building – noting that not all buildings have just one board, but rather have one on each floor.

As a result of the vulnerability of the server room a lot of emphasis is today being placed on the development of self-contained cabinets. These are self-contained, fully managed and monitored environments in your server room. If you have these cabinets in your server room, you can make use of the Netshield equipment cabinet controllers that combine both remote environmental management and surge protection on the unit. These are perfect for equipment stage surge and lightning protection and come complete with Electrical VAC power measurement, monitoring protection and are available as rack mountable units.

Another power management device from Netshield that can be used within the cabinet in the server room is its cloud or network managed Smart Zero U Power Distribution Units (PDUs) that offer a user the ability to remotely monitor current, voltage, power, energy usage and environmental conditions. Furthermore, these Smart PDUs are able to alert an administrator of potential circuit overloads and nominal consumption increases, allows for remote power switching for emergency shutdowns and can via and/or a Web interface, SNMP or MQTT, relay user-definable alarms with real-time alerts when power has been compromised. An additional benefit of these PDUs is that their features extend passed just power management and have the option to add temperature, humidity and fluid monitoring sensors as part of an overall IoT solution.

“Managing power is tricky as the source itself is so volatile, it can be from the main power line, copper lines in the telephony environment and so on. You can’t be assured that your equipment is going to behave in the same way with every spike or change in voltage. Whatever the make up of your environment you must select a device that can relay some kind of information back to you.

“The Netshield power management solutions can either be installed in the distribution board or close to the equipment. They don’t just manage the behaviour of your power system in the case of surges, spikes or lightning, but they also have onboard indicators and are able to relay information to your monitoring environment via an extensive range of Netshield IoT Gateways and monitoring devices so that your administrators are aware of whether or not the equipment has been damaged. They are also the result of decades-long evolution of best-in-class power surge, power management and environmental monitoring devices from the Netshield stable,” he ends.