San Jose, Calif.-based Cassatt Corp. has added new features to its Active Power Management software this month, including better integration with other software and hardware and the ability to turn off idle servers with demand-based policies.
Cassatt Active Response can monitor application demand and shut down servers as needed and add them back automatically, said Jay Fry, the VP of marketing for Cassatt.
Though servers running virtualization are rarely idle, Cassatt Active Response 5.1 can also shut down and bring back up virtual machines (VMs) as well, Fry said. The software supports Citrix XenServer and VMware Inc. and Cassatt plans to support Microsoft's Hyper-V when it comes out this summer.Reducing energy use
In addition, Version 5.1 works cooperatively with other data center tools, including load balancers like F5, systems and network management tools like HP OpenView.
By being integrated with these tools, Cassatt's software can update a customer's existing system management, configuration management database or compliance systems about actions taken by Cassatt Active Response to stay in sync.
Cassatt reported that its Active Response software can cut data center energy use by 30% by powering servers down and back up again on a regular schedule. Add the new demand-based policies to automatically shut down servers that become idle at unscheduled times, and data center energy savings could be as high as 50%, Cassatt estimated.
Michelle Bailey, research vice president for IDC's Enterprise Platforms and Data Center Trends, said the product will likely ease its way into data centers for testing and development environments and be used in production environments when IT becomes comfortable with it.
"Most test-and-dev servers have only a couple of environments on them, and those systems don't need to be on all of the time. The other opportunity for this product is with standalone servers that are underutilized," Bailey said.
In a testing and development, for example, Cassatt Active Response can automatically power on servers for scheduled testing and then turn those servers off when the tests are complete, cutting down on unnecessary power consumption.User testing Cassatt expects major savings
A site operations manager who works for a large, well-known storage and data management provider in California has tested Cassatt's Active Power Management product since January, and thus far, he likes the results.
The site manager, whose company asked that it not be named because it is still testing Cassatt's products, said he is trying out the software's time-based power management policies to shut down product development systems when they aren't scheduled for use.
The company began with a small environment of about eight devices, mostly servers. Once the use of Active Power Management was validated, the company increased to 40 devices, and now successfully runs Active Power Management on about 120 devices.
The global company has 5,000 racks of servers, most of them in Sunnyvale, Calif., and others located around the world. Prior to using Cassatt, the company had no way to manage system power, but the high cost of power in California and a sense of corporate responsibility prompted it to try Cassatt's software.
But this end user has faced hurdles within his organization when it comes to shutting down servers.
"You have to get over a paradigm shift in this industry when equipment goes on it never goes off," he said. "There is a certain level of comfort engineers have by always being able to access their machines, but once you get over that and look at this from a realistic standpoint, you realize energy consumption is a real issue and [the best thing to do] is to turn your equipment off and stop it from drawing power."
Now that he has used the product and proven that it performs the assigned tasks, he said he will test out additional functions, like the server repurposing feature of the Data Center Edition that can install new O/S and application images.
The specific savings amount has not been calculated, but it is expected to be significant, especially since California's power costs are among the highest in the U.S.
In addition to any savings the company will gain from shutting down its systems, its utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Co., is one of a handful that offers rebates for power reduction technologies. PG&E's rebate is about 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, which will accelerate the payback for licensing and software acquisition costs, the site operations manager said.Competition and pricing
Cassatt doesn't have direct competition for Active Power Management, but software that performs job scheduling, virtualization and power distribution units for data centers competes with it, according to Gartner Inc.
The 5.1 releases of Cassatt Active Response are available now at the same price as the previous versions. Cassatt Active Response, Standard Edition, starts at $200 per managed machine. Cassatt Active Response, Premium Edition, starts at $1,250 per managed machine. Cassatt Active Response, Data Center Edition, starts at $2,500 per managed machine.
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