BayTech MMP Powerstrip Product Line
Description: A line of modular power strips that provide users with the ability to track server power levels; outlet metering that enables users to read current levels, watts, and volt-amps; PCB power distribution; monitored circuit breakers; and integrated sensor inputs that allow users to measure temperature and humidity.
Interesting Fact: Founded in 1976, BayTech started out as a contractor for the Stennis Space Center specializing in environmental monitoring. Later the company made wind instruments for the FAA and flow instruments for the EPA, says Alex North, director of business development at BayTech.
As data centers grow and the cost of energy continues to rise, the ability to monitor power usage can potentially save your organization a great deal of money. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has reported that the average price of electricity for enterprises has gone up from 7.4 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2000 to 9.7 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2007, a 30% increase, says Melanie Davy, a research analyst at Info-Tech.
“As prices continue to increase, so will the costs. As costs increase, they must be added to the IT budget, possibly taking away from other projects or initiatives,” says Davy. “A growing number of IT shops seek to quantify energy as an operational cost, just like line items such as staffing and maintenance. Once the cost is accounted for, IT has a number to improve on.” To quantify those costs, intelligent power equipment is paramount.
When choosing a power strip, the most important feature IT and data center managers need to look for is a product that monitors and meters power consumption, says Davy. “While the power strip can provide this information at the box level, IT should be looking to measure and monitor power consumption on a server level for best results. Server-level monitoring allows IT to make the necessary changes where changes need to be made,” she says.
The MMP (Modular Metered Power) line of power strips from BayTech (800/523-2702; www.baytech.net) measures the amount of power a server is using. “If a customer wants to see how much power [this] particular server [has] used over time compared to this particular server of a different brand . . . the MMP can tell them,” says Alex North, director of business development at BayTech.
North calls the MMP line the Cadillac of power strips because it can perform so many tasks in addition to tracking the amount of power your servers are using. Its modular nature means that you can specify a configuration for your power strip, and BayTech can put together the combination with ease.
The MMP is unique among power strips because of this modularity, providing users with the maximum degree of flexibility in the ways in which they would like their receptacles to be laid out on a given MMP power strip. “They can say, ‘This is where I want the receptacles to be in the elevation of the rack,’” says North. “If they need higher density from [their] receptacles, they pick modules with higher receptacle counts and chassis that are longer or have more slots in them.”
Standard features in the MMP line include single-phase, two-phase, and three-phase power options; 20A, 30A, 50A, and 60A support; HTTP-based and SSH text interfaces; RADIUS and TACACS (Terminal Access Controller Access Control System) remote authentication protocols; and toolless mounting. In addition, all power receptacles are monitored individually, showing the kilowatt-hour meter per outlet along with current levels and voltage levels. If a given receptacle falls below a 0.8 power factor, for example, it sets off an SNMP-based trap that alerts you to the problem.
Although BayTech offers several types of configurations, North points out that those setups are just starting blocks. “You can virtually build this strip as you want it to be, and we see some pretty crazy requests,” says North. One customer that had 20A three-phase power asked for a power strip with 12 C13 connectors and 12 C19 connectors on the power strip.
“Three of the C19s could draw all the power that a 20A three-phase could ever think about providing,” North explains. “But it’s not quirky to them [because] they want to have easy access to the receptacle type anywhere in the rack elevation, so if they are running a communications cabinet that has two large switches, then they want to have a C19 at rack level two and at rack level 22. That’s the only area where it makes sense to put a mixture of such high-amperage receptacles in a low-amperage input, although electrically it makes absolutely no sense.”
Being Green & Saving Green
According to North, the MMP line is designed for people who really want to know the minutiae of their power usage. “You can find out over the last hour if it has been running at a 5kW rate and say, ‘You know the cooling we have for that space in the data center is only supporting 3kW.’ Boom. Internal sensors [show] you have a hot spot, and it’s very important in today’s data center layout to know where those hot spots are,” North says.
In addition, all MMP power strips come with built-in temperature and humidity sensor ports so that users do not have to shell out for another device to run these types of sensors—and users can set alarms for these sensors just as they can for any other power feature.
BayTech uses only PCB (printed circuit board) power distribution connector technology. North says PCB construction is much more reliable than using ISD (insulation displacement) connectors that many of BayTech’s competitors use.
“We realize our main job is to get power to the server. If you lose power, you’re going to get the toe tag in that data center. You’re out of there,” North says.
by Robyn Weisman