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Monitoring systems

Securing server enclosures

Enterprises must provide effective protection against fire, water, break-ins, and other dangers facing server enclosures and data centers. Network management systems also monitor physical parameters and issue alerts in case of deviation from set-point values. CAN networks increasingly play a role in these systems.

Low-voltage main distribution system with a rated current of 4000 A (Photo: Rittal)

South of Hanover, one of Germany’s most modern data centers was built in 2013. The TÜV-Nord Group has concentrated all EDV-activities of their national and international daughter companies there. Besides 99,99 % availability, their aims were safety and energy efficiency. 99,99 % availability means that the data center can’t have more than 52 minutes of unplanned failure time a year. Leroy Racette of TÜV Nord Group explained: “Furthermore with its the external electrical power supply, the data center can operate for 72 hours independently of the external mains supply.“ To achieve this high availability, all relevant systems are realized twice.

The construction of the low-voltage main distribution system was executed by Kesselhut Schaltanlagen (Germany). This board is also constructed redundantly, which means two completely independent power distribution networks are realized. These can supply single technical units as well server rooms. The distribution board is based on Rittal’s (Germany) Ri4Power system. “We have had the best experiences with this system over the last years,” explained Andreas Pahl, director of Kesselhut.

The 12 TS IT racks in server room 1 have been positioned according to a cold-/warm aisle concept. A redundant recirculation climate system is responsible for air-conditioning. Two hybrid coolers are installed on the roof of the building, which emits the thermal energy from the server rooms into the environment.
Normally the hybrid coolers cool the water-glycol-mix with the ambient air, which works fine up to an ambient temperature of +16 °C. Up to temperatures of +27 °C the coolers have to be sprinkled with water additionally. If it gets even warmer, compression cooling hast to be used. It would of course be even more effective to use energy more efficiently, so that less electricity is lost as thermal energy. Digital power micro-controllers can bring efficiency to digital power conversion with a high-resolution timer.

Low-voltage main distribution system with a rated current of 4000 A (Photo: Rittal)

Monitoring and optimizing the power consumption

The cable for the power supply of the server are installed in a double floor. Rittal’s Power System Module (PSM), a modular energy distribution system, is installed in the racks. The system supplies measurement data via a webserver, which is integrated in the monitoring system, or via SNMP. Because of this connection to the energy management system, the power consumption can be watched and optimized. Other measurement data, like the temperature in the warm and cold aisles, can be monitored. The data is brought together via Rittal’s Computer Multi Control III (CMC III) monitoring system. This system also watches the doors of the racks.

Rittal’s energy distribution system

The CMC III monitoring system passes data on to the network management system for further processing. In addition, it also operates independently – issuing alerts or notifying predefined contacts. The system comprises a central Processing Unit (PU), which interacts with various sensors that measure temperature, humidity, and other factors within the enclosure. The sensors are connected to the PU in series via CAN – keeping cabling to a minimum. The company offers a range of sensors and units that can be connected to the system so that systems can be tailored to specific needs by combining various components. The solution can be deployed in IT racks, plus industrial and control enclosures.

Low-voltage main distribution system with a rated current of 4000 A (Photo: Rittal)

The system’s peripherals range includes the Power System Module (PSM), a modular energy distribution system. It measures relevant values on the input side including real power (in kW) and real power consumed (in kWh). The real power consumed is measured to an accuracy of 1 %. The distribution system includes an element that measures electricity on the ground wire and detects unbalanced power distributions. An integrated display makes it possible to check parameters directly at the server and network rack plus industrial and control enclosures. The rail can be connected directly to the CMC III, and is available in 16-A (three-phase) and 32-A (single-phase) versions.

The monitoring system has received UL certification, which means the monitoring system is authorized for sale in the US. Its individual electrical components have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and were found to comply with the organization’s safety requirements.

Low-voltage main distribution system with a rated current of 4000 A (Photo: Rittal)

Additionally, Rittal offers the DET-AC III product family, which comprises the DET-AC III master fire alarm and extinguisher system, the complementary DET-AC III slave unit, and the EFD III early fire detection solution. All three are available in the form of 19-inch slide-in racks. The system features a CAN interface for direct integration with the monitoring solution. This provides administrators with detailed information on the status of installations and on incoming alerts, which means that administrators can read error messages on a PC instead of on individual devices, and can immediately take appropriate action.
The systems use the Novec 1230 fire suppression solution from 3M. It does not conduct electricity or damage IT equipment. Using the stored medium, the master unit can extinguish volumes up to 2.8 m³. In conjunction with up to four DET-AC III slave units, it can monitor and suppress fires in up to five server enclosures.

Low-voltage main distribution system with a rated current of 4000 A (Photo: Rittal)

Didactum’s monitoring system

Didactum, another Germany company, also offers monitoring systems for mission-critical facilities and sites. TCP/IP-based and SNMP-enabled systems are available, all of them stand-alone operated with no software required. Alarms such as SNMP, e-mail, and SMS are offered, as well as SMS command functions, including acknowledgement. The SMS functions require a GSM modem. An integrated mapping function and time and date filters are also included. The company also offers a range of sensors, such as temperature sensors, humidity sensors, vibration sensors, motion detectors, water sensors, magnetic door contacts or voltage sensors. Up to eight sensor expansion units can be connected to each available CAN port. The CAN network is configured in a line structure. Stubs are permitted in limited circumstances and a star type bus is possible. The data is NRZ coded, and for data backup the cyclic redundancy check (CRC Sheet for Cyclic Redundancy Check) is used.

The Monitoring System 500 is suitable for monitoring of IT infrastructures, as well as production and technical rooms. With its SNMP support this monitoring system can be included in management solutions and network monitoring software. It provides 8 ports for analog sensors. Two CAN ports support future expansions of infrastructure monitoring. Additionally, four relay ports enable IP-based control important equipment such as fans. The monitoring system can be equipped with a 16-port dry contact board and a Quad-Band GSM modem.

Low-voltage main distribution system with a rated current of 4000 A (Photo: Rittal)

The Monitoring System 500 DC IT monitoring appliance was developed for the monitoring of energy and telecommunications infrastructure and is equipped with an internal 24 VDC – 48 VDC power supply. With two CAN ports and eight analog sensor ports, this device can monitor critical equipment over a network or the Web. Four integrated relays can be switched on and off manually, via SNMP command or in combination with the connected sensors. With an optional 16-port dry contact board critical UPS or HVAC systems can be monitored around the clock.

The Monitoring System 600 is fully SNMPv1/v2c/v3 compatible and can be integrated in many SNMP-enabled monitoring tools and network management systems. This monitoring appliance is currently the top product of the company’s SNMP enabled monitoring systems. In addition to two CAN ports, eight analog sensor ports and four C13 relay connections are offered. SNMPv1/v2c/v3 support allows integration with SNMP-based building and network management solutions. Optionally, dry contacts of installations of the building and security technology can be integrated into the 7/24 surveillance of this device.

The company also offers the 8-Port PDU. This power distribution unit supplies up to 8 devices in the cabinet. With remote access, the user can manage the power of mission-critical devices. At the same time, CAN sensors and CAN extension units can be attached to the PDU to intensify infrastructure monitoring. Per optional GSM modem, remote SMS commands can be send to this PDU.