(The Hosting News) – Minkels, a major European manufacturer of cooling, monitoring and housing solutions for data centres, has introduced the Varicontrol 1.0 software product to the market supported by Minkels UK based in High Wycombe. This is a fully integrated, brand-independent data centre monitoring system, which uses sensors to measure, analyse and manage aspects including power consumption, temperature, air humidity, air flows, access and fire detection.
Minkels developed the monitoring system in cooperation with the University of Antwerp and leading customers. The monitoring system comprises all the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) required to manage the entire infrastructure of a data centre environment cost-effectively. The system accesses all the real-time data required from the various types of infrastructural equipment in a data centre, including PDUs, chillers, CRAC units, UPSs, coolers, cameras and fire detectors.
Managing a data centre using Varicontrol 1.0
‘Existing data centre monitoring & management systems are primarily designed for the monitoring and management of individual pieces of data centre equipment, which are often brand-specific,’ explains Jeroen Hol, Minkels’ Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). ‘Varicontrol 1.0 is different. It serves as a sort of umbrella for the measurement, analysis and management of all parameters in the data centre, in which brand-specific protocols can communicate with one another and all the management information is accumulated in a single, central database. This makes the underlying technology and systems transparent to users. It is an open source platform that supports all the popular protocols, including SNMP, Modbus and various others.’
As a manufacturer, Minkels is aware that many commercial data centres, corporate data centres and SME data centres throughout Europe currently lack a fully integrated monitoring system. Mr Hol: ‘They do often use a Building Management System (BMS) for instance, for the general control and management of the data centre. However, a BMS offers little scope for interaction with IT, as it is usually installed from the real estate perspective, which implies that it does not fully comply with the increasing needs of data centre managers, in terms of operational excellence.’
Mr Hol: ‘Anyone who aspires to achieve operational excellence in a data centre therefore requires a means of managing all the KPIs using a platform in which various sub-solutions have been integrated. And this is the reason that we developed Varicontrol 1.0, a solution which approaches the problem specifically from the perspective of IT and the data centre infrastructure technology. Thanks to the open source nature of the platform, it readily enables the integration of existing management software – such as an access control system, a Network Management System (NMS) and a building management system (BMS) – in Varicontrol 1.0.’
Operationally excellent data centre
As a manufacturer, Minkels does not consider existing management software suitable for the detailed monitoring and management of all the processes currently performed in a data centre. Mr Hol explains: ‘It is not capable of measuring power consumption at rack level, which is currently certainly a crucial requirement now that electricity has become a relatively large cost item. Nor is it generally capable of managing the various power strips fitted in each data centre rack. And finally, existing management software is not equipped to handle IP traffic, or to collect data from routers and switches using the SNMP protocol.’
According to Minkels, there is quite a considerable market demand for a specialised data centre management product, such as Varicontrol 1.0, which is aimed at operational excellence in the data centre.
‘Given the sharp growth of data centres during the past few years and the increased complexity this entails, integrated monitoring & management solutions have simply become a must,’ Mr Hol maintains. ‘Data centre management is precision work nowadays. One simply has to endeavour to achieve operational excellence these days in order to acquire favourable Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and therefore low energy consumption. And this can only be achieved by monitoring and analysing all the relevant parameters, without exception. A data centre monitoring & management system like Varicontrol 1.0 offers firm footholds, which enable one to gain control of all the various parameters, with a view to achieving optimum alignment and cost efficiency of the technologies involved.’
Minkels B.V. (www.minkels.com) is a European manufacturer of total solutions for data centre infrastructure, whose headquarters, R&D department and assembly lines are in the Netherlands (Veghel). The firm also has branches in the UK, France, Switzerland and Belgium. Minkels’ product portfolio is subdivided into cooling (Varicondition®), housing (Varicon®) and monitoring (Varicontrol®) solutions. The following are significant products in the Minkels portfolio: Data centre watercooling solutions (Varicondition H2O); hybrid cooling solutions, using both air and water; and Cold Corridor systems, which are used to segregate hot and cold air flows in the data centre.
Minkels’ client base comprises prominent organisations, including Swisscom (Switzerland), France Telecom (France), Radboud University Nijmegen and EvoSwitch data centre (the Netherlands), as well as De Persgroep media firm (Belgium). In view of the considerable knowledge and experience Minkels has acquired throughout the years in the field of data centre infrastructure solutions, it was approached by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (EU-JRC) in 2008, to assist in the process of drafting the EU Code of Conduct for Data centres.
A supplier of total solutions for technology housings and cooling since 1948, Minkels is a subsidiary of the Aegide Group (www.aegide-group.com), a major European player in the field of integrated development, manufacturing and marketing of high-quality housing solutions for the ICT and high tech OEM industries. Aegide has a workforce comprising some 175 dedicated and experienced specialists, while its client base includes various prominent global market players.