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A centralized energy management system is vital for managing edge data centers

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A centralized energy management system is vital for managing edge data centers

By Andrew Ruef, director of sales and marketing, Janitza

Ensuring uptime while reducing energy costs and environmental impacts is a top priority for the edge data center sector. This, however, is a goal much easier said than done. According to the Uptime Institute, power-related problems cause 43% of data center outages that result in downtime and financial losses. In other words, the path to safeguarded uptime and a healthy bottom line lies in better energy and power quality management at the edge. 

Across the industry, many edge data center operations teams rely on existing building management systems (BMS) and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions to inform them of power quality issues. However, this strategy is not enough to deliver a truly optimized, sustainable power footprint that can support their uptime requirements. When it comes to managing multiple edge facilities, embracing a centralized electrical power monitoring system (EPMS) is a must.

The Difficulties of Multi-Site Energy Management

Here is arguably the biggest challenge of driving uptime and reducing energy expenditures across multiple edge data centers: measuring operations data both holistically for the entire network infrastructure and at a granular level to diagnose and address specific power quality issues.  That means collecting data at every level of an edge data center’s power chain, from its primary and secondary supply systems, through its power distribution units and down to the individual branch circuits. Each point must be measured with the right technology to prevent equipment damage and downtime from disruptions including voltage fluctuations, undervoltage, harmonic distortion, waveform distortion, transients and residual ground currents. 

While BMS and DCIM solutions have their own role to play, they are not as comprehensive as a centralized EPMS when providing edge data center operators with vital information about the overall health and efficiency of each facility’s power system. This lack of holistic visibility means lost opportunities to safeguard uptime and optimize operations to support greater efficiency and sustainability.

If data acquisition is one key piece of the uptime, efficiency and sustainability puzzle, automation and alerting is the other core requirement for ensuring the optimal health of your edge operations. For edge data center operators with multiple facilities, addressing issues quickly – before they snowball into downtime-causing problems – is crucial for supporting capacity planning and ongoing operations across their entire footprint. With so much else to manage, facility managers and other operations team members need all the help they can get by setting thresholds, confirming the health of their sites’ power chains and devices, and configuring alerts/alarms so they can allocate maintenance resources effectively. With this in mind, pairing the right monitoring tools with a cloud energy management system is vital for protecting the integrity and performance of each edge facility.

How Does a Centralized EPMS Help?

Here are some ways a centralized EPMS can help edge data center operators preserve uptime while driving greater efficiency and sustainability across their multiple facilities:

  • Improved Holistic Visibility: Through extensive monitoring and reporting capabilities, a connected, centralized EPMS will enable edge data center operators to gather data across their various systems in real-time, analyze that data and implement necessary changes to improve operations and prevent downtime. It should not only allow operations teams to automate the monitoring of consumption data and other important power quality values like Power Utilization Effectiveness (PUE), but also integrate with third-party devices to give a comprehensive overview of the integrity of each facility’s power system. A centralized EPMS means an end to logging into multiple site software systems that can only offer a siloed view of each site’s power quality and energy efficiency. 
  • Improved Decision Making: An advanced EPMS provides customized reporting capabilities and tools including statistics, heatmaps, and Sankey diagrams, along with recommendations for resolving power quality issues that can affect IT components and equipment. This makes it easier for facility managers and their teammates to adjust operations at each edge facility as well as ensure optimal energy efficiency and compliance with standards and regulations. It also enables the quick and easy creation of dashboards without a need for programming knowledge. In this way, a centralized EPMS can give an edge data center’s entire team, from the C-Suite to operations, vital data necessary for critical decisions in a multi-site, mission-critical environment. 
  • Scalability and Affordability: Leveraging the remote monitoring functionality of a centralized EPMS will also mean a reduction in the number of on-site deployments needed to troubleshoot issues.  When members of the edge data center’s service team must travel, having greater visibility into the site’s entire power system will enable them not just to resolve issues effectively, but also improve mean time between failures (MTBF). They will also be able to avoid procuring the additional IT infrastructure and space needed to leverage it as their footprint grows. By partnering with a trusted provider that pays the strictest attention to security and reliability, operations teams can enjoy all the benefits of both remote connectivity and an electrical power monitoring system.

A healthy power and energy chain will ensure reliable and efficient edge data center operations. This makes centralized energy management systems an excellent addition to existing BMS and DCIM solutions because they can comprehensively collect vital energy system and power quality data while making it accessible from anywhere. 

By combining energy and alarm management with automated network analysis and evaluation tools, as well as robust visualization and documentation, this powerful solution helps edge data center operators improve multi-site efficiency and sustainability while avoiding costly downtime. If you are responsible for managing multiple facilities, then a centralized EPMS should be at the top of your list.

About the author

Andrew Ruef is director of sales and marketing at Janitza. Janitza is a global, family-owned manufacturer of energy efficiency systems, including digital measurement equipment, universal-measurement devices, power factor monitoring, and peak demand management systems.

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