We get asked this question occasionally. The short answer is YES. GFS Crane DCIM does provide Control functions.
Since advent of DCIM about a decade back, there has been a conventional segregation of duties between BMS and DCIM. While Building Management Systems (BMS) would monitor and control facility infrastructure of data center, DCIM would integrate with BMS and provide a single console for all monitored data from Facilities and IT. DCIM’s role was to deliver alerts, dashboard with KPIs, capacity planning and asset management. Primary protocol support a DCIM was expected to have were SNMP (for IT infrastructure) and BACnet/IP (for integration to BMS).
GFS began its journey as an application provider of Industrial IoT solutions. Hence, we built our DCIM as an Industrial IoT stack. Besides SNMP and BACnet/IP, we added support of Modbus/TCP and Dry Contact devices. With industrial protocol support, we now monitor all Facility devices in Data Centers that were traditionally done by BMS. This provides huge savings to our customers.
Control Function Examples
The next step was to add BMS-like control functions. GFS Crane does this using Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and SCADA systems. Below are few examples of Control functions delivered with GFS Crane:
- Fuel Automation Management: The customer’s power back-up systems are Diesel Generating (DG) Sets. Besides monitoring DG Sets and fuel tanks, GFS Crane is controlling fuel levels between the Buffer and Main Tanks, through integration with fuel level sensors and flow meters. Customer gained in energy efficiency, not just in utility power but also in better fuel management.
- Air Quality Control: GFS Crane monitors Hydrogen levels in the Battery Room using Gas Sensors. Once threshold level is breached, GFS Crane turns on the fan and powers it off once air quality is restored to normal level.
- Air Handling Unit (AHU) Control: Customer wanted that AHU accurately regulates ambient temperature and humidity in line with set points. Hence, GFS Crane was configured to control the Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) depending on variable heat conditions. This helped customer save energy.
- iPDU Control: the customer required all pairs of Rack iPDUs (SNMP-based) to be controlled at socket level so that a server could be switched off during an emergency. GFS Crane provides this control using iPDU’s OID.
A significant advantage of GFS Crane DCIM over a traditional BMS: All events, like what triggered a Control mechanism and post event status, are logged and retained just like the monitored data from devices. This makes GFS Crane DCIM invaluable for predictive analytics.