Friday, January 18, 2013

DC Insight Integration with Emerson NetSure 801

DC Insight is a mission to help data center managers integrate and monitor all the data center equipment under a single tool. Working with another data center operator in the telecom industry, we integrated Emerson NetSure 801 under the management of DC Insight.

We re-used the status configured in NetSure 801 and will show an alarm when the System Status is:

  • unknown
  • observation
  • warning 
  • minor
  • major
  • unmanaged
  • restricted
  • testing
  • disabled

We will also notify the user with an alarm when the Communication Status is unknown or interrupt.

Here is a screenshot of the data from NetSure 801 show in InterMapper Status Window:

Monday, October 22, 2012

DC Insight with Austin Hughes iPDU and Liebert STS

Having a new customer is great. Having a returning customer is even better. It proves we did our job right. Earlier we are happy to help a local university in Hong Kong deploy DC Insight using the a wire-free approach, the customer was happy with our solution and has ask us to help them deploy 160 Austin Hughes intelligent power distribution units (iPDU) and 10 Liebert Static Transfer Switches all under the management of DC Insight.

Austin Hughes iPDU  information retrieve directly from IPD-01 for the MT/MTS iPDU series

Liebert STS information retrieve through the optional SIC Card

All-in-all, 200+ sensors and devices are monitored under the DC Insight solution.

While we where performing configuration for our customer, we noticed one of our fluid sensor detected fluid. Long and behold, after opening up the raised floor, some of the pipes are leaking. The interesting part is the customer has a second set of traditional building management fluid detection system in place, but it was unable to pick up the water leakage.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Another Story on how DC Insight Wire-Free Temperature Monitoring saved a Data Center Manager's day

I was doing my rounds with DC Insight customers and he shared a story of how their DC Insight monitoring system saved them from another potential operation breakdown.

Data Center Manager, Jim (named changed to preserved customer's anonymity), and his crew was taking care of their data center as usually when all of a sudden, they received alerts on multiple server in-take temperature was rising above their threshold temperature.

With the first alarm, the shift leader, Tom (also not his real name), quickly bring up the map showing the location of the sensor relative to their floor plan is in "Alarm" state. This visual cue is important, as it give the operator insight into whether the issue has a locality aspect to it.

In a few clicks, Tom also brought up the historical reading of the sensor to see whether this is a trend.

Within a few minutes, he notice the rise in temperature spreading very quickly. Tom had a bad feeling about this. Oddly enough, he quickly spotted from the visual map that the supply temperature sensor of the CRAH units are also showing alarm state, which has never happened before.

Tom quickly go ahead and turn on other back up CRAH units and lucky enough, the rack in-take temperature sensors gradually go back to "Normal" status, indicating temperature at rack in-takes are back to acceptable level. However, the temperature sensors at the CRAH supply are still showing high temperature alarms.

Armed with these charts and data, Tom was able to quickly compile a detail report and send it to Jim, the data center manager.

With these detail maps, charts and data, it was not hard for Jim to realized that there is something wrong with the cooling facilities. Long and behold, Jim found out that due to a corporate directive to save energy by some X%, the building management went ahead an raised the chilled water temperature for the entire building!

So here is why, high density temperature monitoring at a data center is important. While many data center do have temperature sensors, they are usually far and few, and positing at places which do not correlate much to what matter most - the server in-let temperature.

Secondly, these sparse sensors are usually deployed by building management team, which means the data center operators do not own them. Due to the dynamic nature of data center, temperature may fluctuate quite a bit across the day and throughout the year. Because data center operators don't own the monitoring system deployed by building management, they do not have the ability to tune the threshold of these sensors to suit the data center environment. If this issue is not address, operators may get into the habit of ignoring alarms.

While operators may dismiss 1 or 2 building temperature sensors throwing high-temperature alarms for various reasons, it is hard to ignore a case where operators can physically see the high temperature alarms spreading across their data center.

Bottom line, the DC Insight wire-free approach provides data center with the ability to deploy as many sensors around their data center as required very economically. If you have seen DC Insight in action, contact us for a demo or proof-of-concept trial deployment at your site today!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wrapping DC Insight showcase at IDC Safari

Last Friday was an exciting day for us. Learning from last year's exhibition at Data Center Strategic 2011, at IDC Safari 2012, we decide to focus on just showcasing one solution - DC Insight Monitoring.

In this event, Ricardo also gave a presentation and introduced the new Rack Cooling Index (RCI) and Return Temperature Index (RTI) to the audience. If you missed the presentation, please feel free to contact us to learn more about the 2 simple index, which allows you to quickly assess the cooling condition of your data center.

If you look carefully at the picture above, you can see we have developed a prototype which allow user of DC Insight to quickly calculate RCI and RTI. To learn more about DC Insight, visit our DC Insight product page or contact us!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

QDS sponsoring IDC Safari 2012 on Jun 8th 2012 at Hotel ICON, Tsim Sha Shui

Great News! QDS is sponsoring the IDC Safari 2012 in Hong Kong. The event is on 8th of June 2012 (Friday) at Hotel ICON in Tsim Sha Tsui. We will be showcasing our DC Insight Platform at the event, so come visit us for a live demo! Also our Director, Ricardo Siu, will be presenting at the event as well. Over the last 5 years, Ricardo has help many Data Center operators optimize their data center cooling and he will be sharing his experience during the event.

Ricardo Siu joined QDS in 2007 and has worked in various sales and business roles in the company. He is currently responsible for the company’s business development and operations activities. Ricardo has also worked with many data center managers and operators in the region to optimize their data center’s cooling and to improve airflow management. With this valuable experience, he drove the inception of the company’s DC Insight solution. DC Insight provides an unprecedented visibility in key data center metrics to DC managers for cooling optimization and efficiency improvements in physical asset tracking.

Prior to joining QDS, Ricardo has also worked at NVIDIA Corporation in San Jose (USA), MOSAID in Kanata (Canada) and Sympatico (part of Bell Canada). He holds a BASc degree from University of Waterloo in Computer Engineering.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Supercharge your DCiM strategy with DC Insight solutions

We have provided our last training session to a customer today and the customer's Data Center Operations Manager was very thankful for our DC Insight solution. This solution exceeded their expectation and it provided unprecedented visibility and insight into their data center. They have deployed 300+ sensors to cover 4 sites in Hong Kong, and the DC Insight software provide a straight-forward user interface for their operators.

Transforming customer Organization from Reactive to Proactive 

Our solution completely transformed the way they operate, from an reactive organization to an proactive one. Before the deployment of the DC Insight platform, they are plagued with incident where it was the end-user who are the first to know their service was down!

Today, the DC Insight's centralize and easy to customize thresholds settings allow them to iterate and fine tune their notification mechanism such that every alert they receive are important alert. Our data logging and strip charts allow any authorized operator to quickly look back at historical data to analyze the situation. With the readily-accessible data, they can take a data-centric approach to support their investigation. In this particular case, the customer share with us how they were able to quickly look back at the pass performance of the cooling unit (look at the supply and return air trends) and push for a thorough investigation of the unit by their supplier, where it was eventually found their were hidden problems with the unit.

Integrating DC Insight with Customer existing Infrastructure

We understand customers don't want silo systems and we take great pride in the interoperability of our solution and the integration services we provide. For this particular customer, we integrated DC Insight into their existing incident management solution, Microsoft System Center Service Manager and connect to their Micosoft System Center Operation Manager system.

This integration was very important for our customer to simplify the adoption by their operational team and it was really rewarding to learn that not owner are the project sponsors happy with the result, the operation users also found the new tools very helpful in managing their data center day-to-day activities.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wraps up an exciting 2012 Q1 and DC Insight in other industries?

Last quarter of 2011 and Q1 of 2012 was an exiting 6 months for us. In this 6 months, we have wrapped up a major roll out of our DC Insight solution for an electricity provider in Hong Kong covering 4 our their data centers in Hong Kong with hundreds of sensors deployed.

We also kick started demo and proof-of-concept projects for many various companies. This includes:

  • A University in Hong Kong
  • A French Bank
  • An American Bank
  • A TV Broadcasting company
  • A Cosmetic manufacturer
  • A Casino in Macau
  • A Logistic company
  • A Government Agency
We are also seeing an interesting development of our solution branching out to other verticals outside of data center. For example, the cosmetic manufacturer is looking to achieve ISO standards for their existing manufacturing processing. Their site contains multiple clean rooms where their manufacturing equipment are located.

Historically, they monitoring their temperature and humidity through standalone devices and requires a laborious process to physically log down the readings of each device in each clean room.
With our wire-free approach, this customer can just installed one reader to cover their manufacturing site, which is around 2,000 - 3,000 sq ft, and place sensors anywhere they see fit or required by the ISO auditor - all without interrupting their manufacturing operation.

Another partner from the commercial refrigerator business approached as and is interested in our solution to provide centralize monitoring for commercial refrigerators for large restaurants and hotels. It is interesting to learn that large restaurants often have an area with multiple commercial refrigerators installed. An these areas are usually around 2,000 - 3,000 sq ft, making traditional wiring solution costly and difficult to deploy, but in our case, a single reader can nicely cover the whole area.

Our partner also shared an interesting angle on the correlation of food poisoning, even at high-end expensive restaurant, and the lack of proper monitoring. To this day, all these commercial refrigerators have standalone monitoring but lack a centralize approach with alerting. What this means is again, a laborious process of having staff manually take note of temperature and humidity every couple of hours. No wonder at this day and age, food poisoning in the food and services industry is still a norm.

As we further develop our solution, it will be interesting to explore what other industries it can be applied on. While our traditional complete on-premise approach may not be applicable or cost-effective, technologically speaking, it is not difficult for us to offer a hosted service, where only the end-point monitoring devices are on-site, and the software runs in the "cloud". It will be interesting to explore setting up this cloud-based service, but this will be a topic for another post.