I receive a lot of questions from clients seeking solutions to their problems with data center power consumption. It seems that the higher energy costs rise, the more power the average data center needs. Overall costs for data center power may be skyrocketing, but there are ways to mitigate the expense. Here are some interesting suggestions I’ve come across lately:
– Utilize virtualization software
Virtualization technology is being trumpeted by many as a great way to get more bang for your data center buck. By means of virtualization you can reduce the number of servers that are required to run your applications, thereby increasing the operational efficiency of your data center.
This has become such a hot option that many manufacturers, including Intel, are now building virtualization capabilities into their chips. Companies such as Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which provides electricity to northern California, are jumping on virtualization as an opportunity to cut energy usage by offering financial kickbacks to data centers that save power after implementing virtualization technology.
– Switch from AC-power to DC-power
The idea of running data centers on DC-power isn’t a new one. Since DC requires fewer conversions than AC, there’s great potential for energy savings – some researchers predict a 10 to 20 percent reduction in power costs. Making the switch seems like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, higher engineering and technology costs keep DC-power from really catching on. It’s estimated that the cost for DC compatible equipment can climb up to 40 percent higher than that of AC-based technology.
– Install multi-core processors
Multi-core processors can give your data center’s hardware, as well as its energy savings, a boost. Multi-core processors may use slightly more power than a standard processor, but they run faster. This means one multi-core can do the job of several individual processors, reducing the amount of equipment and energy needed to get the job done.
– Optimize your cooling systems
Data center power and cooling go hand-in-hand. To optimize your CRAC systems and reduce energy consumption, focus on adjusting your air flow to eliminate hotspots. A/C units run most efficiently when operating at approximately 80% capacity and when they’re fed the hottest air. If you introduce additional cooling equipment without first trying to improve the efficiency of your existing setup, you’re doing your data center a disservice.
– Have a “Meeting of the Minds” between IT and Facilities Management
People in data center facilities management often complain that the IT team doesn’t properly consult them before purchasing new equipment, which leads to issues with data center power and cooling efficiency. The facilities management team has an intimate knowledge of the data center’s power and cooling infrastructure. By tapping into the combined experience of both departments, companies can sidestep potential energy wasters and keep the data center running at optimal efficiency.
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