Introduction

Thor focuses on two aspects of a solid Electrical Power Infrastructure: reliability and transparency. These two aspects form the central element of the Empalme system. Empalme is a Power Distribution and environment monitoring solution, supplying everything necessary to perform control and monitoring operations on as many equipment rooms as you need. This functionality is provided in a 3 layer structure. The first layer consists of the physical power distributing equipment. The Power Distribution Units. But also several environmental sensors and interfaces. The second layer connects these pieces of equipment and acts as 'the brain' of the system. An autonomous layer, not depending on the IT infrastructure itself, formed by units called Empalme Hubs. Usually there is one of those Hubs in each equipment room. The third layer is where the interaction with the user takes place.

The layered structure of the Empalme system

One user interface can control and monitor as many Hubs (and therefore as many PDUs) as necessary. There can be as many active user interfaces as you like. This concept allows 'follow the sun' style management of facilities worldwide. It also allows you to monitor more equipment rooms with less resources.

About the Power Distribution Units

The PDU forms the foundation on which the infrastructure is built. Therefore a PDU or its management system should not be dependent on the IT equipment it's meant to protect. Our PDUs communicate over the highly reliable industrial CAN bus. That's the same type of bus being used to fly airplanes for example. The CAN bus uses common UTP type cables so it can be routed over already present structured cabling. This saves hundreds of Ethernet ports and gives true independence from the IT infrastructure.
Imagine a Datacenter of 500 racks with two PDUs each. A conventional setup would require 1000 Ethernet switch ports, 1000 IP addresses to be configured and maintained just for the PDUs. There wouldn’t be a single server in the rack yet.
EL1 PDUHave you ever had sticky relays or malfunctioning controllers? The Empalme PDUs are tested to the extreme to ensure fault free operation for their entire lifetime. And in the event that something would ever need replacing, Thor PDUs are built using our unique modular approach. This means all electronics can be user replaced at the outlet level. This ensures a problem in just one relay will not require the entire unit to be removed cutting power to all remaining equipment in the rack. An Empalme PDU from Thor will be installed once and truly last a lifetime!

 

About the software

Just as important as a reliable piece of hardware is the software controlling it. Most vendors use complicated and expensive licensing models when it comes to their software. Thor does not. The Empalme platform offers two different Graphical User Interfaces, depending on your needs and type of installation.

Both are provided free of charge to our customers.

The HTML-5 interface, usable with all major web browsers

This GUI is targeted at installations where a high degree of low level visualization is desirable. Physical power connections can be drawn by the user in order to get a highly detailed overview of what equipment is powered on and which isn't. It utilizes a flowchart based approach to easily identify status or disruptions in any part of the power distribution chain.

The MS Windows based thick client application

This GUI is targeted at multi-room/multi-site installations. It can connect to many Empalme Hubs, consolidating status and measurement information on various levels. It allows users to design their own hierarchy of sites, facilities and rooms. It also allows visualization of the equipment room using user definable floor plans.

An image of the Empalme Web-based GUI

An impression of the Empalme Management Console

 

The Empalme bus system

a robust solution starts with a reliable communication system

RJ45 connector Instead of relying on the IT infrastructure it’s meant to protect, Empalme uses an industrial interface called the CANbus. This highly reliable redundant bus connects the PDUs and auxiliary equipment to the Empalme Hub using standard CAT5e or CAT6 cabling. Being a redundant bus, interruption at any single point will not break the system. The use of an independent bus allows the administrator to see what’s going on even when there’s a partial or complete blackout and network switches no longer function. The CANbus also saves many switch ports and IP administration tasks, reducing the TCO.

 

 

  • Can be routed over structured CAT5e cabling if desired.
  • Each Bus can connect up to 100 devices to a Hub.
  • The Hub hosts 5 separate Buses for a total of 500 devices per hub
  • Uses standard RJ45 connectors.

 

How it all works together in the Empalme concept

Event processingEach PDU is connected to an Empalme Hub through the bus system. It's the Hub that processes PDU events and acts accordingly. Empalme features a sophisticated event management system allowing you to define rules on how and when to react to certain events. As an example, when current stops flowing through a particular outlet the PDU detects this and can automatically switch on another outlet. Perhaps even on a different PDU. This would allow you to start up standby equipment in case of power supply failures.
Events can also apply to groups of outlets or PDUs. This enables you to switch a group of outlets using a small low voltage button in a desk, or it could also be used to suppress SNMP Trap messages while you're performing maintenance in a particular cabinet. Possibilities with the Empalme event management system are extensive. The event processing takes place at the Hub level ensuring autonomous operation, and is controlled through the user interface at the top layer.

 

Use as much or as little as you need

The Empalme system allows interfacing to third party systems at the second layer, the layer of the Hubs. All functionality is exposed through an encrypted websocket connection, and the most important functionality is also available using SNMP. You are free to use any third party system to interface to the Hubs. Or you could use our Empalme Management Console exclusively for this task. With our framework it is also possible to create quick customer specific interfaces based on JSON or SOAP for example. For questions about custom interfaces please contact us. We are happy to discuss the possibilities.

     

    Summary

    • An Empalme deployment can contain as many Power Distribution Units as needed.
    • The PDUs connect to a central entity in the equipment room called the Hub, through a redundant bus system independent of the IT network infrastructure.
    • The Hubs are managed through a user interface called the Management Console. Or they can be managed by an external third party system through any interface you like. Standard available interfaces include SNMP and XML.
    • The Hubs are autonomous systems providing control and monitoring functionality even during major power outages.

    Address

    THOR Systems
    Bollenhofsestraat 166
    3572 VV Utrecht
    The Netherlands

    Contact

    Sales
    For help choosing the right product or design & configuration assistance, write to us at sales[at]thor-dms.com

    Support
    For technical assistance please call us at +31 (0)70 4500344 (Western Europe office hours) or write us at support[at]thor-dms.com

    Careers
    For career opportunities at Thor please contact Mr. Peter Nij Bijvank at peter.nijbijvank[at]thor-dms.com