Open Source Rack Management for Better Data Center Efficiency

Jamie AngaraBlog

Open Source Rack Management

Cloud data center construction and innovation are booming as a result of the digital revolution across sectors. Many technological advancements in the data center are focused on hyperscale data center cooling, power supply, and administration, the demands of small and medium-sized data centers servicing private and hybrid cloud customers are often overlooked. With contributions from Microsoft and Wiwynn, the Open Source Rack Management Project with the Open Compute Project (OCP) introduces a rack management solution that integrates hardware and software to help data centers improve construction efficiency, simplify management, and improve operational efficiency.

Open, Automated Operations, and Maintenance Capacity

Open, Automated Operations, and Maintenance Capacity

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Datacenter maintenance is an important element of the business, and they’re becoming more complicated. As the intelligent era expands, data centers’ application loads become more diverse and complex. As technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are introduced computing resources become more heterogeneous and pooled. Computing units, such as GPUs and FPGAs, are now playing an increasingly essential role in server systems, in addition to regular CPUs. As CPU and GPU capacity expands, so does server energy usage.

Users want to automate deployment and inspection, conduct in-depth problem diagnosis, and get intelligent alarms to increase the dependability and availability of their data centers.

Energy use for cooling and IT power accounts for a significant portion of data center operational costs, putting massive financial pressures on businesses. Green and energy-efficient data center designs are critical for increasing competitiveness and achieving a balance between environmental and economic advantages.

Traditional data center operations, however, have failed to achieve the desired energy efficiency due to the difficulty of monitoring server performance and power consumption in real-time and at a fine granularity.

An IT rack’s power capacity is over-reserved for backup by 30%, and sometimes more. Open Source Rack Management’s precise telemetry and power control features might boost power usage and rack density by 15 to 25%.

Reduced energy usage and better server resource allocation necessitate automated data center operations. Open Compute Project OCP has made significant progress in recent years in terms of offering increased compute density per unit area, minimizing vendor lock-in through uniform standards, and responding fast to unforeseen application demands.

The design and implementation of a flexible and modular rack solution for data centers hold the key to achieving this.

The introduction of automated data center operations and energy-saving devices is still in its early stages due to product, technical, and capability restrictions.

A Promising Data Center Rack Management Solution

Data Center management solution

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Inspur founded and managed the Open Source Rack Management Project in response to the rising need for automated data center operations, increased system availability, and improved energy efficiency. Through open-source management capabilities, the Project intends to lead the industry in providing software and hardware-based rack management solutions.

Enhancing openness and usability is a critical topic addressed by Open Source Rack Management. Each server node is the most essential managed control unit in the functioning of a typical data center. The systems in the entire rack can only be coordinated and exploited in order if each node is stable and efficient. The key to administering each server is the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) on the server node. The BMC is a service organization controls (SoC) that links numerous sensors to many subsystems and collects the information needed to regulate the environment through its own copious IOs. Open Source Rack Management implements management functions such as remote power control, Serial over LAN, host node CPU and memory operating status monitoring, and the hard disk LED on/off by using the BMC of each node as the basic unit of management and control. It also supports IPMI and Redfish interfaces.

In terms of software and communication interfaces, Open Source Rack Management supports OpenBMC open source management software architecture in addition to common IPMI interface standards and several commercial BMCs like iLO and DRAC. The SoC system is built using the Linux kernel, and the application layer utilizes comparable modular software packages, so the BMC management system can be built using a uniform API, and the creation and deployment of the BMC management function of a new device can be accomplished in a relatively short time.

Inspur has contributed to OCP interface requirements for northbound management that target all of the devices in the rack. Within the OCP framework, this is an attempt to foster a smooth link and effective communication between northbound presentation and southbound management.

Intel and Microsoft are also actively encouraging Open Source Rack Management innovation and application. The Intel Rack Scale Design (RSD) was launched in 2014 as a reference design to enable resource pooling and flexible deployment in data centers to optimize resource usage. Intel has open-sourced the RSD rack management module and management APIs (RSD RMM REST API) and submitted them to the OCP Open Source Rack Management project as one of the project’s sponsors. It also includes a reference code and techniques for getting the parameters of important functions and components including the chassis, power supply, and cooling.

Microsoft Azure is one of the world’s largest public clouds, and as a hyperscale data center owner and cloud computing service provider, Microsoft has contributed open-source server standards and its Olympus server specs to the OCP community. It has shared its own data center management knowledge with the community and recommended a variety of RMC hardware implementation approaches. The company has also offered proposals for the Open Source Rack Management firmware’s software modularization architecture, as well as examples of accessing the status of rack-level components, management, and monitoring.

Members of the OCP Project have provided code and hardware reference designs that have considerably expanded the use cases of Open Source Rack Management and reinvented the automated operations ecosystem. The members have also been given an underlying infrastructure as well as a credit guarantee to ensure that OpenRMC functionalities are widely used.

A rack management system based on open source technology may be scaled up to allow both big and small and medium-sized data centers to combine heterogeneous equipment and achieve automated and fine-grained operations with Open Source Rack Management. Data centers may save money on IT operations, simplify management, and increase efficiency this way.

Monitor Open Source Rack Management With AKCP

AKCPro Server is our world-class central monitoring and management software. Suitable for a wide range of monitoring applications. Free to use for all AKCP devices. Monitor your infrastructure, whether it be a single building or remote sites over a wide geographic area. Integrate third-party devices with, Modbus, SNMP, and ONVIF compatible IP cameras.

Monitor all your AKCP devices

All deployed AKCP base units and attached sensors can be configured and monitored from AKCPro Server (APS). Base units communicate with the server through your wired local network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN). Remote sites with no wired network send data to the server through the cellular data network* via a VPN connection.


AKCP SensorProbeX+

AKCP SensorProbeX+

The latest generation of sensorProbe devices, in a form factor that allows for 1U, 0U, and DIN rail mounting. A low-profile design that is economical on cabinet space. sensorProbeX+ comes in several standard configurations or can be customized by choosing from a variety of modules such as dry contact inputs, IO’s, internal modem, analog to digital converters, internal UPS, and additional sensor ports.

  • Every sensorProbeX+ is equipped with Ethernet, Modbus RS485, EXP, and BEB communications
  • Compatible with sensorProbeX+ EXP and BEB units, expand the capabilities of your device.
  • 1U rackmount brackets, Tool-less 0U mounting, or DIN rail mounting options.
  • Notification by SNMP, Email, SMS (requires optional cellular modem), built-in buzzer.
  • Compatible with a wide range of AKCP Intelligent sensors.
  • Start with base configuration and build up your device with the modules you need.
  • Up to 80 virtual sensors.

Intelligent Sensors

sensorProbeX+ is compatible with all AKCP Intelligent sensors, making it an extremely versatile and cost-effective monitoring solution. From the data center to remote sites, industrial controls have you covered.

Environmental Monitoring Sensors

Wherever monitoring of environmental conditions is important to your daily operations and health of equipment, deploy sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, airflow, and water leaks.

Security Sensors

RFID Access control swing handle cabinet locks, door contacts, and motion detectors will keep you in tune with the security situation at your sites down to cabinet level. Control who can access and when with RFID access control, centrally managed and monitored through AKCPro Server.

Power Sensors

AC Voltage detection, DC voltmeters, sensor-controlled relays, and power metering can all be done on the SPX+

Specialized Sensors

Tank depth pressure sensors can monitor for liquid levels in fuel tanks, oil storage, chemical tanks, and so on. Any tank up to 2 meters in depth can be monitored. Alarms are generated when levels drop to critical levels, making sure you can re-fill with sufficient notice. Other specialized sensors include the key switch override, to disable notifications while maintenance work is being performed, and a programmable LCD.

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Jamie AngaraOpen Source Rack Management for Better Data Center Efficiency