Putting a New Level of Intelligence into Power Supplies

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-12-04 Print this article Print

Does Cisco buy or make its own power supplies?

We buy them, but we have our own requirements. Emerson is a big [hardware] supplier to us.

We're also looking to put the next level of intelligence in power supplies. Why do we need intelligence? This is extremely important when you want the ability to control and output information on the operational parameters of something. The key point is that this output can now go into energy management systems, building management systems and IT management systems.

They can then make value decisions on what you want to do.

Can you offer an example of intelligence in an energy management system?

Everyone knows about virtualization; we're all pretty astute in that now. Suppose your virtualized process wants to transmit a workload in the data center to another data center on a campus, or to another data center on the other side of the planet. We make the assumption about where that workload is going to be transferred-taking into account any additional resources that are needed-that the power and cooling [on the other end] is fine. That is a very dangerous assumption. Right now, it's not a problem because we transmit small requests.

If you convert the data to watts, you're looking at [general workloads] of anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 watts-about half a rack [of servers]. Those are small loads. But as virtualization becomes more powerful within the data center, you'll be finding larger amounts of data being requested, which will need larger amounts of power [to transport it].

So the ability to send [power control] information ahead to where the data will go-in order to pre-cool it and to validate that the power indeed is available to receive it-becomes extremely important.

Why are the workloads getting so much larger? Because of the sheer depth and amount of data, and newer, heavier files, such as high-definition video?

Yes on all of the above. It's being driven by all sorts of social networking activities. The amount of transference [over the Web] two years ago was a small fraction of what it is today. Two years from now, it will be many, many times larger.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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