With the Intel Xeon 5500 series (Nehalem) based processors, the X5500 chipset and instrumented power supplies, you can start with the most basic use case for Intel Node Manager - monitoring the power usage of your servers.
As you can see in the Intel Datacenter Manager (DCM) screen below - there are multiple servers configured into logical units: HF2-EIL is the lab that these servers are located in. Rack 1 and Rack 2 are the physical location of these servers, and each Rack contains 2 servers each.
When you highlight one server (as above in DCM)- you can see the power characteristics over a certain time period. The time period shown gives you the idle power, max power, and thermal measurement. The 'hump' in the graph is a SQL workload which creates 'work' for the server and the process runs for about 5 1/2 minutes with no power capping.
Here's a graph of the 2nd server in that rack, performing a similar workload. As you can see, the 2nd server power usage is different than the first.
The Intel Datacenter Manager SDK console can monitor multiple systems as well. The next graph, is both of those servers in the rack, which accounts for both servers power usage during the same timeframe.
Finally, here is the final graph, showing the accumulation of all 4 servers, in both Rack #1 and Rack #2. This shows the maximum power utilized during the workload, the minimum power (idle) and the inlet thermal temperature in the lab. Something that hasn't been able to be done before without expensive equipment in the datacenter.
My next power based blog will show how power-capping can give you more effience use of your workload power while using Xeon 5500 series platforms.