Peter Panfil, VP of Global Power at Vertiv, is one of the top executives in the power industry with a truly global perspective. He recently wrote an article, Power Utilization: Big Power Infrastructure Means Big Savings that was published in Data Center Frontier (great publication by the way).

In it, he acknowledges what we at VPS have been saying for years: Namely, that one of the biggest problems facing the data center industry today is excess (also known as stranded) power. In the article, Peter  goes on to say “there are two ways to change the low power utilization equation:

  • Change from the bottom up by adding IT load.
  • Change from the top down by right-sizing the power infrastructure.”

But only offers up hope for greenfield environments with his segue to what essentially are “best practices” “As an infrastructure provider, the biggest opportunity we can address is right-sizing the power infrastructure at the front end.”

This Is the Way We Have Always Done it

Whether it be hardware vendors or data center operators, many continue to look at power “through a hardware lens”. They don’t consider for a moment that there might be another way to solve the problem – like software technology – in addition to “best practices” liking sizing your power train, driving to 100% redline UPS utilization, or reducing battery runtimes.

Enter Software Defined Power

When you widen your field of vision to include additional tools, like software defined power AND hardware (from Vertiv, Eaton, Schneider, Artesyn and others), the following strategies emerge:

  • It’s not only “best practices to optimize hardware”; it is software technology AND hardware best practices.
  • It is not “either or” when addressing the problem from the bottom up or top down; it is about addressing both top down and bottom up.
  • It’s not being able to only optimize greenfield versus brownfield; it is optimizing both.

Bottoms Up!

Since Peter addressed some ideas from the “top down”, let’s address this from the bottoms up. SDP is a software-based power control platform that uses machine learning and big data analytics to provide awareness and recommendations, including how, when and where power should be utilized to better inform the capacity planning process. Furthermore, when SDP is combined with hardware, the union automates datacenter operations and power management. The result increases utilization of installed capacity by removing unnecessary buffers and automating SLAs while mitigating risks and improving uptime of critical applications.


For brownfield facilities with 50% to 80% of their power stranded and unusable, SDP enables reuse of 30% to 60% of the power. See our ROI for an Enterprise Client to understand how SDP can recapture 352 kW to reuse out of 1 MW provisioned. See our ROI for a Colo – this is a real game changer for this industry segment.

SDP can also increase data center resiliency. See our Power Aware Workload Orchestration something that no one else in the industry can do!

I would be remiss without ending with the “top down” impact of SDP, ideal for greenfield datacenters. We find that greenfield data centers that originally were designed at 20 MW now can be designed for 14 MW. With capex at $10 million per MW, that’s $70 million in savings just on the original design! We love our hardware partners, we need our hardware partners. But not all roads lead to a hardware only answer. You need hardware and Software Defined Power.