The more I work with iBootBar, the more applications I find for it. For one, iBootBar measures the power draw, in Amperes, for each group of four outlets. This allows for relatively precise remote power monitoring, which includes notification thresholds if the power falls below or exceeds a set level. iBootBar handles physical security by allowing me to cut power to the KVM switch, which is locked inside the XRackPro2 cabinet. I can fail-over the Xserve to one of the 16-core servers with neither machine's involvement, and if I'm under attack, as I was recently, I can kill the Internet router and work safely via the LAN.
Ages ago, sent me an rack power monitor/controller for evaluation. It sat idle for want of a rack to call home, but as soon as the XRackPro2 arrived, the iBootBar was the first device in the enclosure. The configuration of iBootBar that I use controls the power to eight outlets, singly or in user-defined groups. You give each outlet or group a name, and then you can control the outlets or list their power status using any of iBootBar's included Telnet, Web, serial, and modem management interfaces, all of which are constantly and simultaneously active. iBootBar can cycle power to force a server to do a full reset and perform user-defined power sequencing. It can also monitor network devices with auto-ping and cycle their power if they fail to respond, acting as an external watchdog.
XRackPro2 makes a jaw-dropping difference in rack servers' noise level, but by itself it isn't enough. The 6U XRackPro2 renders an 8-core Xserve silent. Even in the XRackPro2, the noise from three servers churning under high workloads falls from painful to safe, but in a 10-by-10 space, noise-reducing headphones are still occasional companions.
That long search brought me around to a company I've known about for a long time, but didn't associate with solutions suitable for enterprise use. After a long and edifying discussion, , a company that really needs to work on its name, agreed to send me an sealed rack enclosure. GizMac was careful to set my expectations. XRackPro2 is not, the company warned, a noise-isolating cabinet. It reduces noise, I've learned, with varying effectiveness depending on the type and amount of fan noise generated inside the rack. But I'll tell you this: I packed an 8-core Xserve and two 16-core machines in a 6U XRackPro2. When I powered them all up, the noise was so overwhelming as to make a telephone call impossible from anywhere in the room. Until, that is, I shut XRackPro2's foam-sealed front and back doors. I sat there opening and closing the doors for quite a while, marveling at the difference in noise levels. I also discovered that the forced airflow through XRackPro2, with a filtered intake underneath the enclosure, where the cool air is, and a pair of huge AC fans mounted to the rear door, made the server fans spin considerably slower, further helping to control noise. GizMac chose the fans for the rear of XRackPro2's cabinet well. They are barely noticeable.