Arch Rock 'Energy Optimizer' Lets Data Centers Conserve Energy While Meeting Efficiency Goals

Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:00am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Wireless Sensor Network System Continuously Monitors Power and Thermal Use,
Pinpointing Common Waste Areas; Users Can Match Cooling Load to Power Load,
Improve PUE
SAN FRANCISCO--(Business Wire)--
Arch Rock has introduced a wireless monitoring system that provides continually
updated information on a data center's electrical usage and thermal status,
giving users the precise knowledge to take energy-conservation measures while
maximizing the operational efficiency and reliability of their servers and other
computing equipment. 

Arch Rock Energy Optimizer-Data Center Edition (AREO-DC) is the first solution
to measure both power and cooling system efficiency in the data center using
non-disruptive Internet Protocol (IP)-based wireless sensor networks. It lets
data center managers:

* "baseline" the data center against American Society of Heating, Refrigerating
and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) benchmarks for temperature/humidity/air
quality, as well as for actual dollars spent on energy and its carbon
equivalent; 
* identify the factors that cause energy waste (e.g., short-cycling, missing
blanking panels, sub-floor obstructions) or "hot spots" and other harmful
conditions, and correct these problems to reduce existing power consumption or
allow the facility to support more equipment; 
* optimize available capacity for new servers based on the actual
electrical/cooling consumption of equipment, rather than the overstated
"nameplate" ratings.

How Energy Optimizer Works in the Data Center

AREO-DC works by deploying wireless sensors to measure electrical, thermal, flow
and pressure conditions on power circuits, server racks, computer-room air
conditioners (CRACs) or air handlers (CRAHs), chillers and underneath the raised
computer-room floor. The sensed data is then transmitted via wireless sensor
networks to a graphical, multi-window dashboard that shows the electricity load
(and associated utility rate-adjusted spend rate) of various equipment,
electricity usage by physical or functional area over user-selected time
intervals; temperature and humidity data from CRACs, CRAHs, server racks and
chillers over time; chiller water-flow rates; "heat maps" superimposed on a
floor plan; and key performance indicators such as the Green Grid organization's
Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) Level 3 standard. 

From the AREO-DC dashboard, users can drill down to specific data centers and
specific racks within a data center, and bring up side-by-side views of various
factors, such as energy usage vis-à-vis indoor and/or outdoor temperature.
Alerts can be generated when heat- and energy-use thresholds or user-defined
financial thresholds are exceeded. 

Energy Optimizer Family Expands With Addition of Thermal Monitoring

The new product extends Arch Rock's original Energy Optimizer, introduced in
April 2009, with upgraded software and new thermal, flow and pressure sensor
nodes. The earlier product provided real-time, circuit-level visibility into a
building's electric power consumption, letting facilities managers boost
efficiency and gear usage patterns to accommodate utilities' demand-response and
other incentive programs. To this power-monitoring and analysis function,
AREO-DC now adds thermal efficiency monitoring, which is critical to a
densely-packed data center, where efficient cooling plant operation is
vulnerable to seemingly minor rack or floor openings or tiny variations in air
flow. 

Because it relies on Arch Rock's PhyNet enterprise-class IP-based wireless
sensor network (WSN) technology, AREO-DC can be used to securely monitor and
centrally manage multiple data centers and/or other facilities located in remote
locations, as part of the corporate IT infrastructure. 

Keeping Server Racks Cool Enough - But No Cooler Than Necessary

"Conserving power is a major concern in today's data centers," said Roland Acra,
Arch Rock CEO. "In the past, data center managers often overprovisioned CRACs,
CRAHs and chillers to give themselves a 'safety zone.' Now they are being
encouraged to raise set points to save energy. But they lack the data to answer
key questions: How high can they raise temperatures without creating hot spots
that will lead to server shutdowns? Are there plenum leaks or missing blanking
panels that waste energy? Are air-conditioning units fighting each other, one
humidifying and the other dehumidifying? What is the best new topology for
server consolidation using the existing cooling and power-distribution system? 

"These questions can only be answered by understanding the relationship between
power consumption and the cooling infrastructure. For that you need continuous,
precise measurements of both electricity usage and cooling-equipment performance
- especially supply air temperature into the server racks. While many systems
can give a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) figure, only AREO-DC provides the
data to improve that PUE while conforming to ASHRAE recommendations. And because
it's wireless, it's practical to deploy and redeploy tens or hundreds of sensors
where needed." 

AREO-DC can help data center managers, for example:

* pinpoint improper mixing of hot and cold air: e.g., missing "blanking panels"
in racks, open or misplaced floor tiles, under-floor obstructions - conditions
that may lead to insufficient cold air pressure at rack inlets, top-of-rack hot
spots, or cooling-plant overcompensation; 
* verify the existence of short-cycling or conditions that cause sub-optimal
CRAC/CRAH operation; users can then decide whether to add hot- or cold-aisle
containment to maintain efficient server operation; 
* obtain an accurate PUE figure in mixed-use environments by measuring the
cooling load of the data center relative to that of the entire facility, and
combining this with measurement of the central cooling plant's electrical
consumption; 
* use continuous rack supply air temperature data to determine how high HVAC set
points can be raised without creating hot spots; 
* measure outside air temperature and humidity to identify air or water
free-cooling opportunities through the use of HVAC economizers or cooling towers
rather than costly use of compressors and refrigerants.

Components of Energy Optimizer-Data Center Edition

Components of Energy Optimizer-Data Center Edition include:

* IPthermal-XT Nodes (new), which provide up to seven temperature and one
humidity measurements, are used in hot and cold aisles to measure input and
output air temperatures at various heights from the raised floor and to generate
heat maps. 
* IPthermal-HT Nodes (new), which provide up to four combined temperature and
humidity measurements, are used for sensing CRAH supply and return conditions. 
* IPthermal-CF Nodes (new), which measure chiller water flow and temperature
with up to two pipe surface temperature probes and one ultrasonic flow meter
input, are used to measure air conditioning unit efficiency. 
* IPpressure Nodes (new), placed at up to three points just above and below the
data center's raised floor to measure differential air pressure, reveal air-flow
paths and indicate possible plenum leaks or sub-floor blockages. 
* IPpower Nodes are mains-powered nodes mounted in or near electrical
circuit-breaker panels to measure AC power and voltage on 3-18 circuits per
node. 
* Energy Portal (with new thermal data software) is a web-based application that
displays detailed energy and thermal usage data in graphical and tabular
formats. 
* PhyNet Router is an IP router connecting users' WSNs to the PhyNet Server and
the Energy Portal. The router connects to the portal over local- or wide-area
network links (e.g., Wi-Fi, Ethernet) and to the sensor nodes over IEEE 802.15.4
low-power radio links using the IETF 6LoWPAN (IPv6 over low-power wireless
personal area networks) standard.

All wireless nodes are battery-operated with an optional AC wall adapter, and
support over-the-air (OTA) software upgrades. 

Pricing and Availability

Arch Rock Energy Optimizer-Data Center Edition is available now. The Energy
Portal is offered as a hosted service or an on-site customer premise appliance.
An example starter configuration including the Energy Portal (one-year
subscription to hosted service), one PhyNet Router, three IPpower Nodes
(monitoring up to nine circuits), four IPthermal-XT nodes (up to 28 temperature
measurement points and four humidity points), one IPthermal-HT node (up to four
combined thermal and humidity measurement points), two IPpressure nodes (up to
six differential pressure measurement points), and two IPrelay (extender) nodes,
is priced at $9,995 (U.S. list). 

About Arch Rock Corporation

Arch Rock is a pioneer in IP-based wireless sensor network (WSN) technology,
focusing on energy and environmental monitoring applications. The company's
PhyNet WSN architecture is the foundation for turning autonomous wireless
sensing points into IP- and Web-enabled devices that can communicate data
locally or globally, enabling ubiquitous, non-disruptive and cost-effective
instrumentation for improved energy and environmental management. Arch Rock's
Energy Optimizer solution allows enterprises to better monitor, analyze and
optimize their use of energy resources while maintaining safe, reliable and
comfortable environmental conditions in their buildings, campuses and data
centers. For more information, visit http://www.archrock.com.

Arch Rock Corporation
Malay Thaker, 415-692-0828 ext. 2841
mthaker@archrock.com
or
Ulevich & Orrange, Inc.
Janis Ulevich, 650-329-1590
ulevich@u-o.com

Copyright Business Wire 2009