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Power monitoring systems can help data centres across Africa save money on energy costs and be prepared for outages. Here’s what to consider for a system.

Data centres across Africa are challenged with regular power disruptions. Many rely on generators and batteries for backup power. These require wireless power-monitoring solutions. More options are now available to help operators monitor power so they can plan and optimize their facilities. #PowerMonitoring

Power monitoring is critical to keep data centres across Africa up and running when power supplies are not reliable. With utilities struggling to maintain consistent power, many operators are retrofitting data centres with the monitors they need to stay online and improve performance at the same time. Here are the things to consider before selecting a monitoring system. #PowerMonitoring

A wireless power-monitoring system that installs quickly could be a game changer for data centres across African, dealing with regular power disruptions. Learn what data centre operators are looking for when it comes to systems to monitor generators, batteries, busbars, busways, and panelboards so they can optimize their facilities. #PowerMonitoring

Power Monitoring Solutions for Data Centres across Africa

As more and more data centres come online across Africa, and as many cities struggle to provide reliable electricity and combat loadshedding, power monitoring (or energy monitoring) will be critical for maintaining uninterrupted service to customers and lowering operating costs.

Power metering gives data centre operators the ability to see if backup systems like generators and batteries are prepared, and have kicked in when electrical service is disrupted. Operators can also use monitors to track equipment within the data centre and overall power consumption to make capacity planning and performance optimization easier.

However, existing data centres and colocations risk being at a competitive disadvantage as new greenfield facilities come online, which will likely have energy monitoring tools designed into them from the start. Anyone who has seen inside a server cabinet knows each inch of a data centre is engineered precisely, so retrofitting presents many challenges.

TechAccess has heard from many operators about their frustrations with retrofitting. This helped inspire our distribution partnership with Packet Power, which offers energy and environmental sensors that can deliver data wirelessly and securely.

Retrofitting Data Centres with Energy Monitoring

When considering a retrofit project, these are the factors an operator must nail down to get the greatest ROI on their system:

⦁ Monitor Placement

This depends on whether an operator is looking to wirelessly monitor backup systems (in which case you want the monitors coming off the generators or batteries) or the equipment inside the racks. To monitor servers and network switches, operators usually go with placing sensors either at the panelboard or on the busways and busbars running above the racks.

⦁ Manufacturer Matching

Nothing is more frustrating than having new hardware that is incompatible with existing systems. So whether they’re using equipment from Starline, E+I, Anord Mardix, Vass, or another company, it’s important that operators either confirm that their new energy sensors will work with their existing technology or select a monitoring system that is vendor agnostic (and will work with any manufacturer’s equipment). Going with a vendor-agnostic monitoring system both simplifies the initial installation and leaves the door open for equipment from a different manufacturer to be deployed (and monitored) in the future.

⦁ Time to Install

Speaking of installation, downtime is lost money in the data centre. This means that finding a solution that requires the least amount of cable runs and de-energizing of equipment is ideal. With this in mind, there are a lot of advantages to power monitors that can communicate wirelessly. Security is, of course, another factor to consider if an operator does install a wireless system.

⦁ Environmental Monitors

Data centres run best with cooler air. Operators know between 30% and 60% of their costs are related to cooling. As global temperatures and energy prices rise, environmental and temperature monitoring systems are more important than ever in the data centre.

Assetspire, which offers data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions, recommends every data centre implement environmental monitoring in order to reduce energy waste by making cooling processes as efficient as possible.

Packet Power Partnership

TechAccess has partnered with Packet Power to offer customers wireless systems to monitor both power usage and environmental conditions in data centres across Africa. Packet Power’s devices operate on a proprietary wireless network protocol that adheres to the strict security needs of data centres worldwide.

“Packet Power’s devices are vendor agnostic,” says Troy Wyborny, Global Sales and Channel manager for Packet Power. “The wireless capabilities both speed up the install process and make collecting data so much easier for operators. They can look at their backup systems, capacity planning, submetering, and cooling costs quickly from anywhere at any time.”

“Packet Power offers a complete solution,” says Jaxon Martin, Managing Director for TechAccess. “You’ve got the hardware, you’ve got the software side for monitoring and reporting. So you’re offering the client a full package from start to finish. I think there’s a lot of value there.”