New HP power-monitoring tools promote energy savings

Insight Power Manager could be an asset, says Ted Samson

With many companies struggling with soaring energy costs as well as limits on getting the power they need to expand, or even run, their datacentres, HP has announced a new power-capping component for HP Insight Power Manager, part of the HP Systems Insight Manager (SIM) hardware management platform.

Using Insight Power Manager, customers can measure the average and peak power usage of their HP ProLiant and BladeSystem servers and cap power at specific wattages, according to HP. That, in turn, can reduce power and cooling costs. Moreover, it helps companies ensure that they don’t draw more energy from the grid than they’re allotted. Trying to draw more energy than is available to you can result in unexpected downtime.

Currently, datacentre administrators plan their power budgets — the total amount of energy they expect the hardware in the datacentre to consume — based on collective power-consumption specs provided by the vendors. However, those numbers are based on high-usage scenarios, which some servers never actually reach, according to Jeff Carlat, director of industry standard servers software at HP. Thus, companies are pumping more electricity into certain machines than may be necessary.

“The energy usage grows significantly as you reach that faster speed on the server. The ability to capture the power and drive conservation of power can free up excess power in your power budget to deploy new servers,” says Carlat.

Alternatively, depending on a company’s needs, you can just put those savings back in your pocket.

According to Carlat, HP found in lab tests that it was able to reduce power consumption by 70% through power-capping, though the tests were limited to 10 servers.

Administrators can tweak the power-cap on a given server as needed, too. A database server, for example, might need more energy when churning at monthly reports. Thus, an administrator could set it to receive 1,000W during report time and 700W the rest of the time.

The potential drawback to not setting the power cap high enough is degraded hardware response time, which administrators can rectify by adjusting the cap — or accepting in exchange for the associated savings.

In addition to the new power-capping features, HP has also introduced remote management features through Integrated Lights-Out 2, a plug-in application to HP SIM. Through a shared remote console, the tool allows for up to four users at one time to diagnose system issues and execute tasks from anywhere in the world, according to HP.

Through the console replay capability, users can document procedures, train others or share with others to troubleshoot a problem.

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