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October 04, 2012

Dell Analyzes Smart Grid 'Data Chatter' to Respond to Faults More Rapidly



Round Rock, Texas-based Dell (News - Alert) is offering a new bundled solution that stores and assesses electric distribution system performance data, in order to isolate and predict system faults and outages, and provide a rapid resolution geared to prevent service interruptions.

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“Smart grid technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way power is produced, delivered, used and conserved – but only if we can effectively capture, analyze and respond to the data that is generated,” said Jeff Gillespey, Global Energy sales director for Dell. “Managing the data deluge is imperative for utility companies that want to make their operations more efficient, and Dell is committed to giving them the power to improve productivity and enhance service levels.”

The Dell Smart Grid Data Management Solution has been tested in collaboration with San Leandro, California-based OSIsoft, a provider of PI System enterprise infrastructure for streaming data and events. Bundled with the PI System, the total Dell solution combines high-performance computing, networking and storage to manage data and provide actionable results in real time.

Based on customer requirements and the age of the data, Dell’s solution provides three tiers of storage, enabling customers to optimize performance at a low cost.

Leading electric utilities are beginning to leverage Phasor Measurement Units (PMU) within their transmission and distribution (T&D) systems to monitor and manage the status of infrastructure. PMU measurements provide data related to the stability of the electricity network; PMU output can indicate either a current or imminent outage condition.

However, the benefits of these high-speed measurements (up to hundreds of measurements per second) are only realized when actionable information from the streaming data can be efficiently retained for later analysis.

Dell’s Smart Grid Data Management Solution, in conjunction with the OSIsoft PI System, has been built to meet this challenge. The PI System captures phasor and other T&D system performance data, archives and contextualizes the data including real-time calculations and makes the data available to staff, applications and business systems.

“In the utilities market, deriving knowledge from grid data confers a competitive advantage but can stress computing systems,” said Bernard Morneau, chief strategy officer at OSIsoft. “We are very pleased to see Dell taking up this challenge and joining us in this journey to help OSIsoft customers address their growing data management requirements. We will be looking to expand this collaboration to other industries and big data scenarios.”

The solution’s reference architecture features Dell PowerEdge 12th-generation servers with PCI (News - Alert) Express Flash drives, and provides data in near-real time to grid operators – enabling them to quickly identify and assess the status of the distribution grid. Dell Force10 high-performance 10/40GbE network switches provide low-latency, high-bandwidth throughput to handle the data demands of the entire system; and Dell Compellent’s automated tiered storage makes relevant data readily accessible, while providing the flexibility and scalability to store historical grid data for compliance purposes.

 “Today’s energy distribution system is more complex than ever before. For instance, homeowners are installing solar panels that can actually feed energy back to the grid, and electric vehicles are presenting new demand challenges for energy companies,” said David Lear, executive director of Sustainability at Dell. “Dell’s Smart Grid Data Management Solution can help our energy customers – and their customers – be productive and environmentally sustainable. We are committed to putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.” 

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Edited by Braden Becker
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