Today's enterprise solution providers focus on providing the most feature-rich applications possible. Therefore, alterations to hardware regulations can cause unnecessary headaches. For example, beginning in 2019, the EU Lot 9 regulations have been steadily changing what equipment is permissible to ship to European countries.
EU Lot 9 - A review
EU Lot 9 is a set of regulations that govern the sale of various products sold into the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA). Their goal is to institute new energy efficiency standards for server and data storage products. However, before assuming any products are out of compliance, it's important to remember that the regulations do not apply to all equipment and will continue to be enforced in a phased approach.
EU Lot 9 - upcoming power supply requirements
Beginning January 1, 2023, the EU will require all new servers to be shipped with more efficient power supplies. We will discuss this change in the context of a use example where a server currently shipping with a 1100W power supply will begin shipping with a 1300W power supply in order to comply with the tighter efficiency requirements.
However, when developing and supporting cutting-edge applications, the last thing solution providers need is unforeseen hardware challenges. Therefore, they should ideally take the time in 2022 to plan for and address them.
What this means for solution providers
As we all know, the more valuable an application is, the more critical its uptime. And the power supply is one of the most failure-prone parts of any given server. Therefore, it's standard for enterprise-level platforms to operate with two load-balancing power supplies to provide redundancy in the case of an outage.
Until recently, our use case shipped their machines with 1100 watt power supplies. Since these units are grandfathered under Lot 9, there is no need to change them out at this time - provided they are functioning correctly.
The critical challenge comes into play when one of the older power supplies fails. Ideally, a solution provider would only need to swap out the non-functional one with an identical replacement, but they won't always be available.
Hardware vendors currently have the older power supply units to service these machines, but inventory is limited, and, eventually, manufacturers will stop making them. Therefore, down the road, replacing the supply for an older server will require the shipment of two power supplies - one to replace the non-functioning unit and another to ensure matching wattages. Again, servers must use matching power supplies to provide proper failover and load-balancing.
The inventory and logistics challenge
Given the market's size, a software provider may support tens or hundreds of sites or more in the EU, all with one or more of their servers.
The challenge for providers comes into play when deciding how to track which machines are running on the older power supplies and manage their migration over time to the newer, more efficient units.
Tracking via SKU or part number
One strategy may be to assign servers with newer power supplies a completely new part number. In some cases, this approach may be advantageous because it delineates old and new platforms.
Tracking via rev control
By using a revision or rev change for a server, you can retain a level of continuity in how a server is categorized while still indicating a difference between an older and newer generation.
Why solution providers need to act now
With this changeover in 2023, one might wonder why they need to act now. After all, there could appear to be plenty of time to plan for the migration.
That said, as a provider's solution grows in functionality, it inevitably demands more from its hardware. And, as a result, some servers will inevitably need to be upgraded over the year. In addition, application providers are actively winning new customers who require fresh installations.
Therefore, it becomes more and more likely that by 2023, any given solution provider will be running a mix of servers with aging, older power supplies, and newer servers running the later generation.
How to take action
Case in point, there's no need to risk the uptime of your solution based on not being able to adequately power a server when you can have a strategy in place to handle any support issues that arise. Instead, good planning in 2022 can enable continued growth in 2023. That's where a full-featured OEM hardware expert with experience handling hardware support and logistics like UNICOM Engineering can help.
UNICOM Engineering is an Intel Technology Provider and a Dell Technologies Titanium OEM Partner, having had the pleasure of being named Dell Technologies Americas OEM Partner of the Year for three consecutive years. Our team is highly skilled and ready to power your solutions with Intel and Dell Technologies' industry-leading portfolio to deliver unique solutions faster and more reliably. To learn more about how we can help you drive your solution to market more quickly, watch our Why Build on Dell Video or visit our website to schedule a consultation today.