Contrary to the popular belief, achieving data center efficiency does not always involve overhauling the equipment and facility. Even small positive steps in energy management can lead to cost savings and improved efficiency. The highest level of efficiency can be achieved when organisations shift their focus on measuring energy use, airflow and use of free-cooling.
The following steps can help transform a data center from being a cost center to a profit center:
Drive up overall usage rates – The overall energy usage rates of most data centers is less than 20%. In fact, to be precise, typical data centers run at just 15% or less server workload utilisation. There is a need to rationalize, consolidate and virtualise to drive up the overall usage rates as it will boost energy metrics at the server as well as at the data center.
Maintain the operating temperature – Most Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units run at a temperature of 70 degree Fahrenheit or lower, which is too cool, especially if your IT Equipment is fairly new. Moving the CRAC temperature a point or two upwards will save energy and will also help optimize data center efficiency.
Use containment strategies while cooling air – Cooling down the entire data center is unnecessary when one can simply cool down hot spots through effective ducting. Companies should leverage containment strategies such as in-row cooling and/or hot/cold aisle approaches.
Use water cooling – Water cooling systems are often more efficient than air cooling. Systems based on negative pressure water systems can cool dramatically better than air cooling systems and hence can save costs and improve efficiency.
Use a ‘flat’ distribution system to bring down the energy bill – If your data center is not running on a flat distribution center, then there is huge probability that you are losing energy with every voltage transformation. A flat distribution system can move AC voltages from substations to data center AC and DC voltages very fast, thus helping you save on energy bills.
If your data center is pretty large, or if there are good chances of your data center’s energy needs to increase in the near future, then you can consider self-generation. However, this is advised only if you are sure that the data center energy needs will increase and not shrink. Also, you must be sure that you do not want to adopt cloud computing, to make absolute sense of it all.
Last but not the least, you can achieve data center efficiency by partnering with an experienced IT service provider who can ably host, maintain and manage your servers, networks and storage infrastructure.