Continuing my series of chats with companies in the data center energy management space, I spoke recently to Philip Petersen, CEO of UK-based ad infinitum.
Their product, called InSite, like that of most of the others in this space I have spoken to, is a server based product, front-ended by a browser.
InSite pulls the data directly from devices (like power strips, distribution board meters, temperature and humidity sensors) and stores them in a PostgreSQL database. Having an SQL database makes it that much easier to integrate with other systems for pulling in data, and also for sharing information. This is handy when InSite is connected to a Building Management System (BMS), it allows organisations to see what proportion of a building’s power is going to the keep the Data Center running, for example. And because InSite can poll servers directly, it can be used to calculate the cost of running server-based applications (such as Exchange, Notes, SQL Server, SAP, etc.).
I asked Philip about automation and he said that while InSite has an inbuilt Automation Engine, it hasn’t been deployed because “no client that we have spoken to has wanted to do that yet”. Demand for automation will come, he said but right now companies are looking for more basic stuff – they often just want to see what’s actually going on, so that they can decide on the best way to respond.
InSIte’s target customers are your typical medium too large organisations (ones likely to have significant IT infrastructures) as well as co-lo operators. Unlike some of the other companies in this space though, Ad infinitum were able to share some significant customer wins – Tiscali’s UK Business Services, Equinix and Cisco’s UK Engineering labs.
In fact, Cisco have published a Case Study on the Cisco.com website referencing this solution [PDF] and how Cisco were able to achieve a 30% reduction in IT equipment power consumption and a 50% drop in their cooling costs!
It’s hard to argue with a significant customer win like that!
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Photo credit JohnSeb
Just to clarify regarding demand for automations – in particular we were talking about a program such as InSite being allowed to turn servers on and off automatically based on defined criteria. In our experience, most data centre managers are not yet ready to trust software to do this particularly with any devices that are involved with line of business processes. Before getting to that degree of automation, they want dashboards and reports that show them in detail what is actually going on in their environment in real-time so they are better informed to make appropriate decisions. As more than one data centre manager has told us: given the current level of monitoring and management they have available, they want to walk first before they try running. InSite will help them progress through the levels, matching their needs and capabilities.