Packet Power Blog

Paul Bieganski

Paul is a serial entrepreneur, investor and inventor with twenty-five years of technology and business experience in software, Internet, embedded systems, medical devices and bioinformatics. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and is a past president of the Minnesota Venture Capital Association.

Recent Posts

Bowling balls and one-way mirrors:  The physics of provably safe and secure monitoring systems

Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 by Paul Bieganski

Security and safety are the foremost concerns of anybody deploying and managing an energy and environmental monitoring solution within a data center or any other networked environment such as a building or factory floor. The system being monitored and the systems performing the monitoring deploy exceedingly complex technologies. Unfortunately, complexity tends to lead to side effects and unintended consequences.

We have all heard of the original Internet worm, Stuxnet, ransomware and dozens of other public and not so public incidents involving accidental or malicious disruptions spread and delivered through computer networks. At times, the complexity of the problem seems very daunting, despite the acronym soup of safe-sounding certifications and assurances from vendors. Luckily, there are some basic rules that ANY technology has to obey.

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Topics: Packet Power, Wireless technology, wireless security, wireless monitoring

IoT convenience doesn't require sacrificing security

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by Paul Bieganski

The rise of the "Internet of Things" (IoT) has made it possible to monitor and control an incredibly wide range of devices using wireless connections. This convenience can create security concerns. But not for Packet Power.

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Topics: IoT, Wireless technology, wireless security

Baby you can drive my (electric) car!

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016 by Paul Bieganski

Electric cars are here. If you don't drive one yet, chances are you will before the end of the decade. An electric car is basically a computer (multiple computers really) with a bunch of batteries and an electric motor or two on four wheels. Just like your average computer, it consumes electrical energy. Have you ever wondered how far your average rack of servers could take you if it was a Tesla?

We did the math.

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Topics: Server energy consumption

Walk and chew gum -- data center monitoring at every speed

Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 by Paul Bieganski

Data center infrastructure monitoring is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. There are many parameters you could monitor:  power, energy, temperature, humidity, pressure, etc. There are also multiple levels in physical and organizational hierarchy that monitoring could be deployed at:  main feeds, PDUs, cabinets, busways, servers, etc. Obviously, you want a system that supports as many parameters as possible and covers them throughout the hierarchy.

What is sometimes forgotten, however, is the dimension of time. Good monitoring also takes place on multiple time scales.

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Topics: data center monitoring, data centre monitoring

Three-phase power or the magic of the missing Neutral

Posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 by Paul Bieganski

Few things seem to cause as much confusion as three-phase power, especially in a Delta configuration.  Plumbing and car enthusiasts: rejoice! In this post we'll present a plumber's (and car mechanic's) version of a three phase power system.  

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Topics: data center operations, Know your power, Data center power, Power basics, 3-phase power

How to grow into data center monitoring without breaking your budget or your career

Posted on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 by Paul Bieganski

Data center power and environmental monitoring can be a daunting project, but it shouldn’t be! It should be a simple and low risk proposition, quickly providing tangible benefits.  Many of our customers have done it. We distilled their experiences into eight simple rules and present them below. Whatever solution you choose, we hope you will find them helpful.

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Topics: data center monitoring, environmental monitoring, power monitoring

DC in the DC

Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 by Paul Bieganski

Direct Current has been an intermittently hot topic in the Data Center community for over a decade, yet it remains relatively unknown. It is finally beginning to change and many of our customers are starting to consider and actually deploy DC systems. Here's a brief review of the basics of DC vs. AC installations.

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Topics: data center monitoring, Know your power, DC monitoring, DC

Power Factor: The difference between promise and reality

Posted on Friday, October 30, 2015 by Paul Bieganski

Most data centers use AC (Alternating Current) power. The current within an AC system flows in one direction, reverses, flows backward and then forward again 50 or 60 times a second, depending on what country you’re in. That means that voltage and current in an AC system fluctuate back and forth between positive and negative. Since the power being delivered is the product of voltage and current, it will fluctuate as well. If voltage and current were perfectly synchronized you could simply multiply the average voltage and average current and get the correct average power being delivered. Unfortunately, voltage and current can get out of sync so you may be getting less power than you think.

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Topics: Know your power

Volts, Amps, Watts, Watt-hours and Cost

Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 by Paul Bieganski

Power is what makes all computation possible. Data centers are factories that take information and electrical energy and turn it into more valuable information and heat. In order to function, data centers must make sure enough power is always available.  Data center managers also closely track power as the cost of energy used by a server over its useful life routinely exceeds its purchase price. And most data centers spend twice that amount to cool the servers and remove heat from the facility.

Here's a quick review on the basics of electricity -- Volts, Amps, Watts and Watt-hours. Cost turns this review of the basics into a necessary part of any data center manager's job.

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Choose the right wireless protocol for your data center

Posted on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 by Paul Bieganski

Wireless monitoring networks for data centers have specific requirements that are not always obvious and can be painful if ignored. Packet Power has spent years building and running large scale wireless monitoring systems for data centers and found the following features to be essential.

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Topics: data center monitoring, wireless monitoring