Beyond Data Center Monitoring, Asset Management and Capacity Planning, GFS Crane DCIM also provides BMS-like Control functions for Data Centers.
Since the 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 the facility infrastructure of the data center, DCIM Software would integrate with BMS and provide a single console for all monitored data from Facilities and IT – and deliver alerts, management reports, KPIs like PUE, analytics, capacity planning and asset management. The primary protocol support a DCIM was expected to have were SNMP (for all IT infrastructure) and BACnet/IP (for integration to BMS).
GFS began its journey as an application provider of Industrial IoT solutions, and we architected our DCIM Software as an Industrial IoT stack. This meant we included support of industrial protocols like Modbus/TCP and Dry Contact devices as well. Initially, this meant we could take over monitoring of all Facility devices in the Data Center that were traditionally being done by a BMS. This provided huge savings for our customers.
From that, the next step was to provide control functions. GFS Crane does this using Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and SCADA systems. Mentioned below are few examples of Control functions delivered with GFS Crane:
- Fuel Automation Management: The customer’s power back systems are Diesel Generating (DG) Sets. Besides monitoring the DG Sets and the fuel tanks, GFS Crane also controls the fuel levels between the Buffer and Main Tanks through integration with fuel level sensors and flow meters. In this case, the 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: Depending on varying heat load conditions, the Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) are controlled by GFS Crane to ensure that AHU accurately regulates ambient temperature and humidity within the facility in line with set points. VFDs in turn control motor workings to 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. This was done using iPDU’s OID.
Another significant advantage of GFS Crane DCIM over a traditional BMS: in GFS Crane DCIM all events, including what triggered a Control mechanism and finally post event status, are logged and retained just like any monitored data from devices. This makes it invaluable for predictive analytics.