Sunday, June 26, 2011

DC Insight - Analytic - Giving Data Center facility managers and operators what they want, when they want

Over the past couple of weeks, I was working closely with a data center operator to complete a cooling optimization project.  The customer deployed our DC Insight solution, which allow us to have a very high-density environment monitoring solution.  We have 2 sensors at each rack and 4 at each CRAC, as well as door sensors, dry contacts and fluid tags all deployed with no cabling required.

We have allowed our system to collect the "as-is" data for a week, then we went on optimizing the air-flow distribution of the data center, including installing HotLok blanking panels and KoldLok grommets.  We also re-arranged some perforated tiles to allow better air-flow distribution to the server equipment.

We then sit and waited for another week to allow our DC Insight solution to collect data.

Using the before and after data, we compiled a comprehensive report for our customer, confirming some existing suspicions, as well as discovering new interesting trends and potential risks.  Bottom line, this is a very data-driven process which allows data center operators to truly understand the environment which houses their mission critical systems.

The time has now come to streamline this experience.  This is where DC Insight - Analytic comes in. We are moving towards gathering the grass-root experience, and merge it with the best practice of today, to provide an Analytic platform for our data center users and operators.  This is still in alpha stage of development, but anyways, here is a screenshot:

Looks familiar? It is time to bring intuitive user-experience consumer had enjoyed for years to the world of data centers.

With DC Insight we now have all the pieces to make this happen:

  • DC Insight - Integrator: The data collection platform to collect virtually any device with an electronically readable output.
  • DC Insight - Operation: Utilizing the best-of-breed and proven platform of InterMapper, this provide operation team a familiar user-experience: map-in-map view, tiered notifications and alerts, acknowledgement  and device maintenance mode, multiple authentication source options, and admin/operator/read-only user role seperation.
  • DC Insight - Analytic: The platform which brings all these together.  The number crunching and processing platform to bring an aggregated view and provide business intelligence to operators, managers and executives of today's data centers.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wraps up a busy week in Beijing

With a project still underway in Hong Kong, I still end up heading to Beijing for a week.  Thanks to my colleagues in Hong Kong for holding the fort, we were able to handle some ad-hoc customer request regarding the project while I was away.

Thanks to my colleagues in Beijing, we were able to meet with 2 System Integrators in Beijing on such short notice.  We showcased our Wire-Free RFID environment monitoring solution, soon-to-be re-brand DC Insight. We received some positive response from the System Integrators and they even suggested they would start putting this in as part of the standard data centre design proposal!

I also spend a good amount of time training my technical colleague Mr. Niu on the system.  He is a pretty quick learner.  By the 3rd day, he has no issue setting up the demo and presenting it to the customer for our second meeting with another SI.  Boy, was I relieve as it was very difficult for me to present in my broken mandarin. As China present ample of opportunities, I see a strong need to really pick up mandarin quickly!

In the evening, we spend some time networking and socializing over dinner with some of my dad's friends and former associates in China.  Thanks to my dad for arranging these events.
With my broken Canton-Mandarin, I did try to chime in occasionally.  In the beginning, I was often met with these confused "what-the-heck-is-he-saying" look. A couple more beers, either I stop caring, or the conversation started to flow a little better. At the end of the day, we exchanged some contacts and email addresses.  Hopefully this well lead to some lasting relationships and opportunities for both parties on the motherland.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Find X biggest object by retained size" function in jVisualVM help find memory leak in your program

After adding the component to interface RF Code Zone Manager with a custom InterMapper SNMP probe, I went about load testing it to ensure the stability of the solution. I have created a map of many many probe and set them to poll at 1 second interval.

During the load testing, I observed this steady growth in memory:

Not a good sign.

Good news is the jVisualVM has made finding the memory leak so easy!  I recall in the old days memory leak hunting use to be a pain without enterpricy tools such as YourKit.
I don't know when this was added to jVisualVM, but this function, "Find X biggest object by retained size", is tremendously helpful in finding the root cause of the memory leak!

Why is this function helpful? To understand how this function will help determine the root cause from memory leak, refer to this article, "Shallow and retained sizes", by the folks at YourKit.
Now just examine the classes with the largest retained size, and they are probably the classes giving you your memory leak problem!