The coming energy platform play

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Data centre energy management continues to attract business attention on account of the large and growing expense line as well as environmental policy pressure to improve energy efficiencies. As part of the education track planning, we have been looking at the potential role

DCIM technologies

and innovation in cooling can play in helping drive energy efficiencies. But is this enough? Can a platform based approach to energy management provide a better way forward?

Protocol to platform

EnergyWise is an

energy management

protocol based on Cisco IOS Software for monitoring, controlling, and reporting the energy use of information technology devices. EnergyWise combined with an ecosystem of partner devices turns data centre networks into a control plane for energy management. With certain building management system partners these control planes can extend to facilities and non-IT devices.

Remote management with no need for client based controllers is a key benefit. EnergyWise runs all its tasks from a single server across existing device networking platforms. Equally important is the capability to tap into built-in energy tools across generations of IT Gear. Both these attributes make it easier to create a roadmap with a long view on future devices, especially for organisations that expect to harness the promise of IoT

EnergyWise started life with JouleX, a start-up based in Atlanta, Georgia that was acquired by Cisco in 2013. We caught up with JouleX co-founder,

Josef Brunner

, to understand what it means to be an energy platform provider.

Integration needs come in all sizes

What has been interesting while the capability was launched is that JouleX, as a small company, expected its initial partners to also be small companies. However, its very first relationship was with IBM, closely followed by Juniper; major players in the

data centre world

. In response to customer needs, and indeed pressure from those who had decided that EnergyWise was their platform of choice,

It was only after this first wave of majors that the smaller companies came though. Here again was a surprise, as they have tended to be niche companies working in a specialist sector with non-IT devices, such as vending machines, ATMs or lights.

The third wave has comprised

buildings management

companies such as Siemens, Schneider, Johnson Controls and Honeywell looking for controllers for building management systems. These companies are expert in building management, but not in creating large-scale platforms, so it makes sense to work in partnership. EnergyWise is going further with Schneider and Johnson Controls, and building additional products based on the platform.

Cisco is now seeing the fourth wave, linked to

IoT

and this is all about connecting with non-IP devices. For example, the team is working working with iSE, who are building provider-independent and provider-agnostic IoT connectivity for all kinds of devices. EnergyWise is the applications deck, making use of established communications systems to control these devices. Although the system is focused on energy-efficiency, it is serves

operational efficiency

tasks such as usage indication, for example, how many drinks are left in the vending machine.

Cloud based

As Cisco drives its Intercloud initiatives, it makes sense for EnergyWise to be cloud based, in addition to its on-premise capabilities. Customers report high satisfaction as the cloud-based capability has been practical and helpful for managing large buildings, as it allows companies to manage multiple tenants independently, complete with required security protocols.

But the most promising aspect must be the capability to integrate with existing tools, and the growing list of EnergyWise certified devices.

Hear more from

Josef

and the EnergyWise partners at the

Data Centre EXPO keynote session

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