Monday, July 27, 2009

Minicom Interview: Calvin Nicholson Server Technology

Following the announcement that our AccessIT is integrated with the SentryTM Cabinet Power Distribution Unit from Server Technology, I wanted to take a closer look at the power industry and had a chance to ask Calvin Nicholson from Server Technology a few questions. Server Technology designs and manufactures intelligent power distribution products for enterprise data centers, service providers and branch office locations. Founded in 1984, Server Technology is recognized as a leader in innovative Remote Power Management solutions.

What is your position at Server Technology?

I am the Director of Product Marketing

Can you give me an overview of Server Tech’s method of selling?

We have both direct sales people as well as working through the channel. So the option is up to the customer as to whether they want to work direct or through a partner that they are comfortable with. We have an opportunity registration program through our web site that allows our partners to register opportunities. This lets us reward the partners that are pushing our products and who bring in the opportunities.

Do you have international customers? If so, what is the percentage of international sales compared to North America?

We do have international customers and we have offices in Canada, UK, Germany and Singapore along with a strong channel of partners throughout the world. I can’t give percentages but this is a strong a growing portion of our business.

How does Server Tech differentiate itself from your competitors?

Server Technology just focuses on power distribution, monitoring, management and control within the data center cabinet. We have been in business over 26 years and have the largest number of engineers in the industry focused in this area. We provide high quality products that are very feature rich along with a superior level of support. Being the leader in our industry we are requested to produce cutting edge products for new data center projects well ahead of the industry norm. These products then become part of our standard product line.

What are your unique selling points?

You can manage two power in-feeds (power distribution units PDU’s) and two temperature and two humidity measurements all under a single IP address through our unique linking technology. We offer the largest product line and have a number of 3-Phase products and 60A products focused on high density applications. Our temperature and humidity probes are on 10 foot cards so they can be placed in any locations within the cabinet. We offer a tool to monitor and manage all of the PDU’s in you DC called SPM.

What’s popular with your customers today?

Right now the new trend is 415 V 3-Phase power delivered to the cabinet for North American data centers. Efficiency gains with this technology are in the 4-6% range and offer significant efficiency gains and cost savings. Most products supplied a Zero U technology with some kind of intelligence. Customers don’t always and to turn things on and off or reboot them but monitoring power is becoming a significant trend.

What specific features are your customers looking for in your PDU’s?

Solutions that deliver the amount of power that is required with the proper outlet types and features/functions that they desire.

With regards to monitoring power usage, why is it so important to your customers?

Monitoring power is critical on so many different levels:
1) If you don’t know the amount of power that you are using then it is easy to overload the circuit and possibly bring down some of the equipment in the cabinet.

2) For three phase loads it is critical for load balancing and efficiency.
3) In today’s market where power costs are going up, power availability is going down and in some cases our customers cannot get enough power you need to understand how much power you are using and how changes within your facility affect this. This information is also used for efficiency calculations like the PUE and DCiE metrics from The Green Grid. To identify comatose or zombie servers that can be shut down or possibly virtualized. For power capacity planning (where do I have the power to install a new device.)

What percentage of your customers requires remote power capability as a feature?

Switched products where you can turn devices on or off is our biggest selling products.

Do you see any increase with customers dealing with support issues when there are problems with a server?

Facilities today have much smaller staffs and must use their resources wisely to be competitive in today’s market. I am not sure if the issues are going up but the ability to resolve these issues as fast as possible and move onto the next task is required.

Are you finding an increase in requests for consolidated remote access for power, kvm, console and serial?

Since we don’t actively sell these products we don’t see a lot of these requests. We do see a desire in customers to want to go to one central location and manage a number of devices. For servers it is our combined solution. If it is just the PDU’s then they use our Sentry Power Manager product.

What can we expect to see from Server Tech in the future?

Continued innovation, a number of 415 V products for North America and expansion of the device level power monitoring solutions

Thanks Calvin!

To contact or learn more about
Server Tech – visit their website>>

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