New Industry Products

Emerson Network Power Unveils Comprehensive Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) Strategy

October 24, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Emerson Network Power introduced Trellis™, the first integrated, single-information-source data center infrastructure management (DCIM) platform to bridge the critical gap between a data center’s IT equipment and facilities infrastructure.

The Trellis dynamic infrastructure optimization platform is a family of hardware, software and services designed to manage the dynamic nature and requirements of the infrastructure holistically from a central "source of truth," enabling data center managers to make smarter decisions on the interplay between efficiency, availability and capacity utilization.

"Virtualization has brought greater flexibility and efficiency to data center management, but has introduced new complexities and pressures to the static physical infrastructure," said Steve Hassell, President of the Avocent business of Emerson Network Power. Hassell was CIO at Emerson when the company built its new 35,000 square-foot, LEED Gold data center, an initiative that gave him first-hand experience with the challenges facing even a state-of-the-art data center. "Organizations today lack visibility into the impact of virtualization and the deployment of high-density servers on the physical infrastructure, and that keeps them from utilizing the full capacity of their equipment. We intend to provide that visibility along with the tools to manage and optimize changes to the physical infrastructure."

Currently, data center managers typically reserve 20% or more of their power system capacity as a buffer against overload. This has become a standard practice because they lack a single, real-time view of operating conditions within the IT equipment and the power and cooling systems that support them, instead relying on the face-plate specifications rather than real-time performance indicators. Virtualization has added to the uncertainty—and increased the size of the buffer in some cases – as it creates a dynamically shifting operating environment on a static physical layer. According to Emerson calculations, if every U.S. data center could utilize 10% more of its available capacity, U.S. businesses stand to save more than $10 billion through improved data center infrastructure management.

The Trellis platform will increase capacity utilization by providing visibility into and control over integration and collaboration between the physical and IT infrastructure layers—what Emerson Network Power calls dynamic infrastructure optimization – eliminating the need for guesswork that necessitates a power system capacity "buffer."

The Trellis platform brings together the functionalities of Emerson’s existing Aperture, Avocent and Liebert DCIM Solutions and enhances them by creating one seamless solution that draws information into one source of truth. Emerson Network Power expects the core Trellis modules to be available by Q4 2011 with subsequent modules rolling out over the following 12 to 18 months. To begin achieving the benefits of an optimized data center infrastructure, customers can implement any of Emerson Network Power’s existing hardware or software solutions. Current solutions will either migrate or integrate, as appropriate, with the new Trellis platform and bring the customer dynamic infrastructure optimization, a level of DCIM that no one else can provide.

With the 2009 acquisition of Avocent, Emerson Network Power gained the final component required to provide holistic insight and control across every aspect of the data center physical infrastructure. It has aligned its organization to streamline integration of infrastructure management technologies across its Aperture, Avocent and Liebert product lines to develop Trellis, which will be the most comprehensive data center infrastructure management platform available. Emerson has made an unprecedented resource commitment to addressing the industry’s need for a solution that bridges IT and facilities systems and provides data in appropriate interfaces across IT and facilities.

Emerson’s acquisitions of Aperture and Avocent represent a more than $1.25 billion investment, which is among the largest in a single solution category in the company’s history. Furthermore, in January, Emerson named its own CIO, Steve Hassell, to head up the newly formed division that encompasses the Aperture and Avocent brands and is dedicated to creating the industry’s first holistic DCIM solution.