Optimizing your UPS infrastructure for cloud computing

Five years ago Amazon announced its Elastic Compute Cloud beta (EC2), which may well have been the first service to call itself a cloud. Today the cloud computing term is so often used that it seems like it’s been around forever. Eager to drive efficiency up and costs down, organizations of every size and description are rapidly adopting Web-based software, platform and infrastructure solutions.

“The worldwide cloud professional services opportunity is growing 10 times faster than the overall IT services opportunity,” says Gard Little of analyst firm International Data Corporation. Within a matter of years, experts predict, most businesses will utilize at least some cloud-based applications and services. As pointed out in a recently published white paper by Eaton Corporation (“Optimizing your Infrastructure for Cloud Computing. Best practices for managing a cloud IT environment”, find the download link below) cloud computing poses unique power, cooling and availability challenges.

The white paper explores how cloud architectures impact data centers and discusses some concrete best practices that can help companies collect the benefits of cloud computing without compromising uptime or overwhelming their power and cooling systems.

In this article we just highlight the strategies for powering cloud-based infrastructure.

1. How cloud computing impacts power infrastrucures

“The server hardware that most cloud infrastructures use to host virtual machines is bigger and more robust than a typical single-function server. It’s also far more heavily utilized: While the average non-virtualized server operates at perhaps 5 to 15 percent of processing capacity, the average virtualization host server may be as much as 80 percent utilized at any given time. For both reasons, the virtualization host servers in data centers demand more power than conventional servers, and put greater strain on power distribution units (PDUs), panelboards and uninterruptible power systems (UPSs).”

2. Recommended best practice: Use modular power system components

“Such products let you add capacity quickly and incrementally as your needs increase. For example, a modular scalable UPS for a small cloud environment may provide up to 50 or 60 kW of capacity in 12 kW building blocks that fit in standard equipment racks. As your requirements increase, IT personnel can simply plug in another 12 kW unit, growing capacity (in this example) from as little as 12 kW up to 60 kW N+1. That’s a scalable and efficient approach to keeping up with escalating power needs that’s far more economical than purchasing surplus capacity in advance. Moreover, rack-based modular power system components tend to be compact and easy to install, making them an ideal fit for fast-paced cloud data centers, in which technicians are constantly moving, changing and adding infrastructure resources.”

3. Add redundancy to your power architecture

“Organizations can increase availability and reduce the likelihood of unscheduled downtime by utilizing a redundant power system architecture, such as […] N+1: An N+1 architecture includes one more UPS, generator or other power component than the minimum required to keep server equipment up and running. Thus, if any one component experiences an outage or requires maintenance, the remaining systems can still provide adequate protection against data loss. An N+1 architecture is often sufficient for the needs of a small or medium cloud environment.”

For more information about the forces behind the rising adoption of cloud-based solutions dowload Eaton Corporation’s White Paper after the following link:

Download | White Paper “Optimizing your infrastructure for cloud computing” (via DatacenterDynamics)

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