Even the most reluctant gamblers look for ways to minimize risk and increase their odds of winning. The same holds true for operators of datacenters and colocation facilities as they always need to be on the lookout for innovative solutions to boost energy efficiency and resiliency.


According to a recent article in Government Computer News, federal agencies are betting on intelligent Power Distribution Units (PDUs) to help them reach mandated efficiency goals. Earlier this year when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its datacenter optimization initiative report card, the 24 participating agencies shared mixed results.


Some groups were mired in revisions to measurement guidelines as well as determining the actual tools and metrics used to assess progress. Others reported an ongoing struggle keeping up with growing IT demands while curtailing costs—known universally as being caught between a rock and a hard place.


According to GAO findings, agencies face uphill battles to achieve visibility across datacenter ecosystems, because not every piece of IT gear is Ethernet-enabled and not every network device supports SNMP. Within each category, myriad management tools exist, but many of them are proprietary and don’t offer cross-platform visibility.


There is some good news, however, as the common denominator across every IT and network device is it needs to be plugged in. This universal power requirement—when paired with intelligent power devices—offers the greatest opportunities for real-time visibility, higher utilization levels and the best gains in efficiency.


The GCN article points to intelligent Power Distribution Units (PDUs) with remote management capabilities as the most likely conduit for capturing and sharing real-time power consumption data. Yet a whole range of power devices, once enabled with software intelligence, can offer valuable, actionable insights into how power resources can be pooled and reallocated on demand.


This is the essence of Software Defined Power (SDP), which is poised to transform datacenter management by enabling power distribution to be adjusted dynamically as demand fluctuates across IT workloads, servers and racks. As SDP becomes more pervasive across the energy ecosystem, it will function as an “open power hypervisor” capable of connecting disparate power components in a datacenter to provide updated views of power usage patterns from rack-outlet to rack-to-row to entire datacenter levels.


Machine learning and big data analytics, which are fundamental elements of SDP, will play big parts in forecasting power usage while also controlling run-time actions on power distribution to/in/by/through each SDP-enabled power component.


As SDP continues to gain traction with power-component suppliers and datacenter operators, including the agencies participating in the GAO’s datacenter optimization initiative, new optimization metrics will emerge. With SDP, the ability to make data-driven decisions on the most efficient use of power across all datacenter locations and resources will create a new standard by which energy utilization and datacenter optimization will be measured.