Best Practices to Increase Uptime and Capacity Utilization with Busway Monitoring
Modern data center environments continue to grow in density and complexity, leading to issues with power distribution, cabling, and cooling. To stay ahead of rising power requirements and reduce complexity, many data center managers deploy overhead busways for their power distribution architecture. Further, by monitoring busway tap boxes with data center management software, data center professionals can more easily improve uptime and increase the capacity utilization of their power resources.
In a recent webinar titled How to increase Uptime and Capacity Utilization with Busway Monitoring, John Berenbrok, Senior Product Manager, Starline and James Cerwinski, VP Product Management, Sunbird Software demonstrated best practices on how to leverage the complete solution of busways and second-generation Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software to boost uptime and efficiency.
Benefits of Busways vs. Remote Power Panels (RPPs)
A traditional power system typically includes remote power panels (RPPs) fed from floor PDUs. The RPP feeds the individual cabinets, often in underfloor plenum space. A significant number of cables under the floor can cause clutter, lead to wiring errors, and restrict airflow. RPPs also consume valuable floor space and make maintenance difficult. If you want to add a circuit to an RPP, you must either shut down the entire row or perform dangerous live work.
Overhead track busway power distribution takes the RPP out of the equation by feeding the power directly into the busways with a tap off for each cabinet. Busways are energy efficient, modular, ideal for high-density power distribution, reduce human error, increase space capacity, improve airflow, and reduce one of the leading causes of downtime: human error.
Busway Metering Best Practices
- Daisy chain ethernet. Starline Busway's Critical Power Monitor (CPM) can come configured with two RJ45 ports, making it easy to daisy chain them with no gateway required. This removes the need to run hundreds or thousands of home runs back to a switch. If it's a concern that the daisy chain will break, the ring mode configuration ensures multiple paths to a switch so the chain is never broken.
- Multiple circuit monitoring. One CPM can monitor up to six single-phase circuits or two three-phase circuits. This reduces the number of plug-in units required by combining multiple circuits into one unit. If you have a high-density row, this can reduce space problems you may have.
- Temperature monitoring in the end feed. Temperature nodes measure the temperature of each mechanical or compression lug to ensure a properly torqued connection with the power cables. This reduces or even eliminates the need for scheduled IR scanning, allows you to perform predictive maintenance rather than reactive maintenance, and eliminates "hot work."
- Breaker status sensing. Remotely monitor your breakers and plug-in units to know whether they're on or off. If onsite, you can pair this with pilot lights for easy visual detection of breaker status.
Busway Monitoring Best Practices
DCIM software collects live measurement data from busway meters, combines it with detailed asset management and end-to-end power path connectivity management, and presents it in rich 3D visualizations and business intelligence dashboards so data center professionals can see and understand their data centers remotely even better than being there.
Leverage DCIM software for busway monitoring to:
- Visualize your busway infrastructure in 3D. Human intervention is often the cause of downtime, making remote data center visualization critical to reducing errors in the data center. See your busways, tap boxes, racks, and IT equipment on your data center floor map in 3D with high-fidelity visuals. Overlay live readings from power and environment sensors to know at-a-glance the conditions of your data center without having to physically visit the site and read local meters.
- Monitor and set thresholds on actual cabinet power loads. Be the first to know of any potential problems and proactively resolves any issues before they cause downtime or impact users. Monitor actual cabinet power loads from your busways in real-time to know the health and capacity of your sites. Set thresholds on the power data from your busway meters to receive warning and critical alerts based upon threshold violations.
- Perform failover analysis to ensure redundancy. Monitor power redundancy to ensure that power is always available to IT equipment even if there is a power failure on a single power supply or power path. Set thresholds on the actual rack PDU inlet current and leverage failover reports to rest assured that power from your busways is redundant and uptime will not be impacted in the event of a failover scenario.
- Monitor actual loads at every breaker point in the power path. Adding too many devices to the power path may trip a breaker and cause you to lose redundancy or experience downtime. Monitor every breaker point to know when a circuit breaker is about to trip so you can remediate the issue and maintain redundancy and uptime.
- Identify and utilize stranded power capacity. It is a common occurrence that data center managers budget more power to each rack than is actually demanded by the IT devices in them. This results in stranded power that wastes money and resources. Tracking both cabinet-level power capacity and utilization enables you to see exactly where and how much stranded capacity you have. You can then confidently deploy that power to delay the building out of new cabinets or even new sites.
- Balance power on three-phases. Unbalanced power can lead to premature circuit breaker trips which can cause downtime and high voltages that can reduce the life of equipment. Monitor your power consumption on all three phases in real-time and set thresholds to be alerted to unbalanced conditions. This will help you maintain balanced power, improve uptime, and increase power capacity utilization.
- Measure and trend your Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). Automatically measuring power loads provides highly accurate PUE calculations in real-time, giving you an instant understanding of how efficient your power capacity utilization is. Trending your PUE over time allows you to see the impact of your efficiency optimizations.
Bringing It All Together
Busway infrastructure combined with DCIM software form a complete solution that enables you to maintain uptime and improve efficiency of capacity utilization. By following best practices and monitoring your tap boxes with DCIM software, you will transform power meter data into easy-to-understand information that allows you to optimize your data center.
Want to see busways and DCIM software in action? Watch the on-demand webinar How to Increase Uptime and Capacity Utilization with Busway Monitoring.
Ready to test drive Sunbird's award-winning DCIM software? Try it for free now.