Are you confident in your data center power management skills? This Eaton guide can help

by Brianna Crandall — April 19, 2017 — Research conducted by independent industry analyst firm Freeform Dynamics has revealed a chronic skills gap in the data center industry that risks undermining attempts to future-proof infrastructure to meet the demands of increasing digitization. The survey of 320 European data center professionals showed that only one in three (36%) respondents were fully confident in their knowledge of power management.

According to the survey, this skills gap is causing a lack of confidence in data center resilience and ability to respond effectively to power-related incidents. The findings also cast doubt on the ability of data center facilities managers to handle the growing demands of the digital transformation of data center infrastructure, and their ability to deal with the increasing complexity of power management.

The survey, commissioned by power management company Eaton, also showed that over half of all respondents believed their facilities infrastructure needed strengthening in terms of power and cooling (53%) and resiliency and disaster recovery (55%), perhaps underlined by the discovery that over a third of respondents (36%) had suffered a prolonged and disruptive outage within the preceding three months. Furthermore, 35% said managing power distribution within the data center was a significant challenge, while a further 42% said it was becoming more of a challenge.

Michael Byrnes, director of Sales, Services and Emerging Market, Data Center Segment at Eaton EMEA, commented:

Data center workloads are intensifying as the business places more demands on it. Those pressures are compounded by a lack of confidence in the skills, tools and expertise to manage the data center environments effectively, particularly in power. IT managers and data center professionals need a simple, holistic view and integrated control of the infrastructure so that they can be confident they are managing the data center effectively.

Dale Vile, CEO of Freeform Dynamics, added:

Data centers are under a lot of pressure as they deal with continued growth and additional pressures, such as the growing use of virtualization or new initiatives. There seems to be a widespread lack of knowledge concerning the availability of new tools that would help data center managers.

In response to the survey findings, power management specialist Eaton published a new paper that provides data center managers with essential advice on how to ensure power supply reliability is taken into account when commissioning a new data center. Entitled Fast Track to Improved Power Supply Reliability, the paper offers practical advice on optimizing a data center’s power chain and explains how, by considering the individual requirements of all components, a data center’s power infrastructure can be designed to meet both current and future requirements to guarantee business continuity.

Byrnes continued:

Mission-critical applications rely on having a continuous supply of clean power under all conditions, making the design of the supporting power infrastructure crucial. An early consultation with an experienced supplier is essential for identifying and overcoming possible challenges, some of which the installers may not even be aware of, in order to ensure the system’s safety, reliability and availability.

The paper examines what needs to be considered in terms of power distribution and UPS components to achieve a system that is reliable and protected against unscheduled power events. It covers topics including 3- and 4-pole switching, the impact of a UPS on a power system, possible fault conditions including arc flashes, and operation and maintenance issues, as well as the latest industry standards. The paper also highlights the possible consequences of failing to follow good design principles.

Over the coming months, Eaton will also be publishing a set of five technical white papers that inspects the topic in more detail in order to provide data center designers, consultants and operators with in-depth practical guidance on how to optimize system reliability.

The papers will all be available to download from Eaton’s Discover Infrastructure with Intelligence Web page, under the Resources Library section.

To learn more about Eaton’s data center solutions, visit the company’s Web site.