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Managing power in PoPs with DCIM

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Belgacom International Carrier Services had been considering using power monitoring tools from Racktivity in its remote Points of Presence (PoPs) for about a year. Its decision would have taken longer if not for an outage. It seems to be the way a lot of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) deals are landed, Racktivity CEO Hans Witdouck says.

“They had a customer who basically ran away after an outage occurred in one of their PoPs. From that moment on they said they needed a monitoring tool, management tool and needed to know what’s going on in these sites’,” Witdouck says.

“This is what we see typically in this industry – there is an event that causes a problem which allows the vendor to show the benefit of having such tools. In fact, they were in bed with another big player who was already doing some monitoring on their sites for both power and inventory, but Belgacom asked to have one specific device integrated in a short time frame for the PoPs and they said the response was too long. After the outage they saw this as a key enabler.”

The Belgium-based international carrier has 200 PoPs worldwide that act as interconnection points as well as data centers. Most are unmanned in city centers, which means Belgacom often has to rely on costly third-party relationships to carry out work – or pay to fly one of its own personnel out to the site.

Racktivity signed a deal to roll out ten sensors per unit for both AC and DC power monitoring – 2,000 units in total. The telco is carrying out the deployment in line with its PoP upgrades and at the time of speaking with FOCUS Witdouck said the Belgacom project was about 75% complete.

Racktivity customized its DC2 and AC2 Sensor lines to fit the needs of Belgacom. “The software has been designed to be quite customizable from our end,” Witdouk says.

Belgacom now has control over all the power in its 200 PoPs – it can view the operations to locate power issues, identify if costly contractors are required to carry out work and measure overall energy efficiency. And it is finding new ways of using the monitoring to increase efficiencies and resiliency at its PoPs.

“We have an agent that can be pulled down on to the server which is looking into the CPU usage, memory usage and linking that to effective power usage. So Belgacom is now using this to see if their server is the working efficiently or not, then at the same time they can simulate those applications deployed on servers by redistributing servers if they have sufficient capacity. They are benefitting by the savings seen by shutting down all other servers,” Witdouk says.

“They are also looking at how they can do charge back on power used so they can create new business models.”

Witdouk says this is typical of DCIM deployments: “You start with one angle – the one thing that was causing pain – then you provide extra measuring then companies will start to think of other ways of using it. DCIM tools are always evolving in customer sites.” 

This article first appeared in FOCUS magazine, Issue 29 – out now! Read the digital edition in full here.

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  • A Belgacom head office in Paris

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