IT Changes Threaten Business ContinuityBy Drew Robb
September 6, 2006
Businesses, these days, are quicker to adopt new information technologies than they have been since the late nineties. According to a joint Emerson Network Power/Continuity Insights survey, 42 percent of respondents are adding blade servers; 69 percent are adding other high-density systems; 49 percent are adopting Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems; and 53 percent have plans to physically expand the network into new locations.
Unfortunately, these initiatives may end up bringing an imbalance to their power and cooling requirements technology that may adversely affect reliability and performance. Thirty-five percent of survey respondents said their current power systems won't support planned expansions. Nearly 40 percent said their cooling systems do not have the capacity to support expansion.
Peter Panfil, vice president of power engineering at Emerson Network Power/Liebert, points out that this problem is brought more sharply into focus when looked at in terms of recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO). Although 49 percent had RTOs for re-establishment of business-critical functions of two hours or less, and 38 percent had RPOs of two hours or less for lost work, many are not factoring power and cooling for their mission-critical systems into their plans for restoring operation. Only 44 percent had calculated the amount of time their computer systems can operate without cooling in the event of an outage, while nearly a third lacked redundancy in their power distribution or back-up power systems. In addition, more than 70 percent had not quantified their cost of downtime.
End users are not forgetting to factor in power and cooling, says Panfil. Its that they are underestimating the need.
The problem, he feels is that too many data center managers have looked at power and cooling from an overly simplistic angle call in the HVAC vendor, set the AC and alls well. In the modern data center, however, the generation and disposal of heat is an intricate problem that involves multiple levels and requires an adaptive approach to the problem.
Adaptive power starts with a UPS system that is properly sized for the application and based on proven mission-critical technologies, says Panfil.
Liebert offers a variety of systems that aim to achieve the right balance between scalability and reliability. They also feature online double-conversion UPS technology to provide protection against all types of power disturbances. This ranges from 2U rackmount units to the 1000+ kVA systems that protect massive facilities.
With the number of servers and the density of those servers on the rise, you need better ways to distribute power to and manage power within racks, says Panfil. Liebert technology gives you the power to adapt to increasing densities at the room, zone and rack level.
For room cooling, the company offers the Liebert DS. This system matches its capacity to changing room requirements without cycling compressors; therefore, improving efficiency and reliability. It also features the iCOM control system and operator interface that allows unit-to-unit communication to improve system efficiency, and a maintenance-free blower drive system.
It is the only precision-cooling system that can adapt to green refrigerants without swapping out compressors, and without losing capacity, says Panfil. The day is coming when green refrigerants must be employed in the field.
Liebert DS product line includes 53 kW, 70 kW, 77 kW and 105 kW downflow units. They can be installed using traditional refrigerants and later transitioned to green refrigerants with no loss in capacity. Traditional condenser systems lose as much as 15% of capacity when converting to green refrigerants.
The price of the DS line ranges from $15k to $40k, depending on size and configuration.
Another company product, Liebert XD, delivers energy efficient and space saving, waterless cooling to a zone, row or rack using a pump and piping system that provides safety and scalability. The pumping unit ensures the coolant exists only as a gas in the controlled environment to eliminate the potential for damage from leaks or condensation. The system has quick-connect couplings and flexible piping that allows coolant to be delivered to cooling units mounted on or above the racks. If you need to move equipment racks or cooling modules, disconnect the pipe and reconnect where needed.
"Managing the high degree of change in IT systems and networks without compromising continuity requires an adaptive power and cooling infrastructure," says Panfil. "While IT systems themselves have been effectively integrated into business continuity plans, in some cases, critical infrastructure systems have not, and that can leave an organization vulnerable to disruption."