How can FlexPod and FlexPod Express Help Organisations Become More Energy Efficient?

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As sales of FlexPod passes the $3 billion mark for Cisco and NetApp, and with shipments growing 81 percent annually to more than 4,100 customers across 100 countries I wondered what other benefits purchasers derived from converged infrastructure. At CiscoLive 2014 in Milan, I’d caught up with David O’Coimin, Solutions Offer Manager to discuss what energy efficiency gains companies might see from their use of Flexpod and Flexpod Express with Schneider Electric integrated solutions.

David explained that the advantages are delivered in two fundamental ways: Firstly by giving the operator better information and insight into how IT and infrastructure energy is being used, including total energy being used. Secondly, the solutions also help organisations to use less energy in the delivery branch office IT infrastructure.

With respect to giving you better information this includes helping organisations answer questions like how much energy is going into a system? Where is it going in the system? Where are the hotspots? Or how can you move things around to better spread the energy load?

David O’Coimin said, “With that in mind, Schneider Electric is working with Cisco and using EnergyWise protocols on its PDUs and UPS devices. This mean the equipment communicates with a protocol used by the Cisco – so they speak the same language. This also means the information is fully integrated within the Cisco UCS manager and that managers don’t have to step out of the Cisco management console to see the data brought together”.

This integrations allows for better analysis and therefore better decisions to be made using a single management console. All of this together enables remote management of the infrastructure, meaning that in particular FlexPod Express with Schneider Electric can be deployed in the field or in a branch office but managed centrally. This model is very appealing to many companies that have centralised their IT support staff.

The next important aspect of FlexPod with Schneider Electric is in the organisation of physical infrastructure equipment in such a way as to allow companies to get the most efficient cooling where it’s needed. Using the example of not cooling an entire kitchen to chill milk, when the right thing to do is put the cooling where it’s needed via a refrigerator, David explained that it is Schneider Electric view to put the cooling only where it’s really needed.

Using FlexPod Express with Schneider Electric, companies and users can reduce the cooling requirement for IT equipment by 90%. This is achieved by locating the Flexpod Express in the open office environment and applying highly efficient forced air cooling to significantly reduce energy use. Taking this approach also frees up space in the office building by removing the need to have dedicated IT space.

The overall objective of bringing Schneider Electric’s infrastructure together with FlexPod and FlexPod Express is to increase efficiency. At the same time the solution was also designed to increase manageability by integrating best of breed suppliers who, when brought together, provide customers with an easy to deploy and manage solution that is scalable as far and wide as needed.

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