Guest Column | October 16, 2012

Avoiding A Data Disaster: Part 2

Jim Tessier

By Jim Tessier, Eaton Power Quality Division

Plug-Into Power Management for Enhanced Control of Virtualized Environments

Virtualization offers many compelling benefits to IT operations, including lower capital and operational expenses, simplified administration and boosted availability. However, for all of its advantages, virtualization does create some unique power management opportunities.

By deploying a combination of modern power management software and network management cards, administrators can securely monitor and manage power hardware and ease the complexities of keeping critical applications continuously available from anywhere over a network or the Internet.

Here is how to take advantage of virtualization-driven power management opportunities:

1. Manage Power Directly From Any Major Virtualization Platform
Many organizations use virtualization management software to administer host servers, VMs and more. At present, though, users of virtualization platforms usually employ a separate set of management tools to monitor their power infrastructure, decreasing the productivity of their technicians and oversight of their infrastructure – potentially delaying response times when problems occur, especially when technicians are offsite. 

The newest solutions integrate closely, if not completely, with leading virtualization management products, including VMware® vCenter™ Server, Microsoft® SCVMM™ and Citrix™ XenCenter™. This seamless integration enables technicians to view, monitor and administer not only physical and virtual servers but uninterruptible power systems (UPSs) and other power devices through a single console.

Integrated solutions also improve productivity and reaction time by allowing users to receive power alarms in the same window as server and virtual machine alarms – compiling all relevant information needed to maintain virtual productivity in one convenient window.

2. Trigger Live Migration to Respond to Power Events
To improve uptime and prevent data loss during an extended power outage, leverage the latest power management software solutions that can automatically trigger live migration, transparently moving virtual machines from an affected server to another server on the network. For example, if a branch circuit fails, the server workloads can be transferred to other working servers in the network.

When carried out, live migration has little impact on the end user, and has multiple benefits for administrators of virtual environments. For one, if a failure is expected or maintenance is planned, a technician can trigger live migration remotely using modern power management software to allow the problem to be resolved without a disruption in service. In other instances, live migration can be automated using power management solutions to balance loads in order to optimize the utilization of computing resources and potentially increase energy efficiency.

3. Prioritize Workloads to Enhance Response Time During Power Interruptions
Modern power protection solutions enable users to create scripts that automatically respond to specific alarms in a predefined manner. Companies can use such scripts to augment their power protection system’s built-in functionalities in sophisticated ways.

For example, technicians can extend UPS battery runtime by creating a script that automatically shuts down VMs running non-critical workloads early in a power outage, and then consolidates the remaining VMs onto a smaller number of host servers to minimize energy usage and extend the available time frame for business continuity processes while maintaining the uptime of critical workloads.

While the three benefits above are influential in illustrating the advantages of integrated power management solutions for virtualization, they are by no means encompassing. My next post will discuss methods for extending backup battery runtime to protect virtual machines using modern power management software, which builds upon my previous post discussing techniques for increasing the disaster recovery and business continuity potential for your data center.

For a more elaborate take on solutions for the common power-related challenges created by virtualization, please refer to my Eaton colleagues’ white paper, “Is Your Data Center Ready for Virtualization?” and “Power Management for Server Virtualization.” To learn more about Eaton’s solutions for virtualized and cloud infrastructures, visit