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5 Tips Helping CIOs Achieve Data Center Energy Efficiency

Enterprise Technology Review | Wednesday, October 16, 2019

CIOs can simply save dollars through wise choices in data center energy management practices. Sounds good? It ought to.

FREMONT, CA: Data centers are now a key business parameter. Scattered across the world, they run the planet’s most digital services. Biggest data centers, covering a million square feet or more, consume as much power as a city of a million people. In total, data centers take up more than two percent of the world’s electricity and emit carbon dioxide as much as the airline industry does. With global data traffic mounting every year, data centers are growing fast. Processes like storing, moving, and analyzing data require energy. Data centers can consume much energy to prevent the servers and surrounding buildings from overheating. With the specter of an energy-hungry future, CIOs are exploring ways to game plan energy efficiency of data centers. Read on to unearth the ways to gain the edge. 

• Optimizing IT Power

Since the IT system requires high power delivery, data center managers need to lower the amount of power that IT equipment consumes. Saving a single unit of power at the server level can result in considerable savings in data center energy usage. Strategies for reducing IT loads include server virtualization, consolidating less used servers and removing unused servers, smarter data storage solutions, and buying in more energy-efficient equipment. Additionally, turning off idle IT equipment is essential. When any of IT devices become inactive and still consumes a significant portion of the power, the case needs to be looked into. Another strategy is to remove ineffective software systems that use excessive CPU cycles. Efficient ones help reduce CPU cycles, enabling a platform to generate more processing output for the same input.

•​ Virtualizing Servers and Storage

If applications are inefficiently deployed across multiple systems—dedicating a server and storage for each application— as a way to maintain lines of democratization, each application will consume all of the power it would require at the peak load. With virtualization, data center managers can cluster servers and storage onto a shared platform while maintaining strict segregation among operating systems, and applications. Virtualization dramatically improves hardware utilization and allows reducing the number of power-consuming servers and storage devices. Server and storage virtualization tops among CIO strategies in attaining energy efficiency in data centers.

•​ Optimizing Data Center Space

Data centers built before the development of server virtualization may be overbuilt for modern equipment needs, causing further reduction of the necessary space for IT equipment and less IT power. When designing new data centers, it is worth for CIOs to consider a modular design that breaks down the data center into individual modules that can be continually refreshed as part of more flexible and efficient data center designing.

• Adopting Best Practices for Cooling

Much of the data center’s power bill goes to support cooling systems. But CIOs have some ready opportunities to lower cooling costs through some best practices. Using hot aisle/cold aisle enclosure configurations can create a more uniform air temperature, reducing the energy used for cooling. Additionally, CIOs can insist on using blanking panels inside equipment enclosures to avoid mixing up of air from hot aisles with air from cold aisles.

•​ Conducting an Energy Audit

How much of the data center’s energy investment goes into IT systems? And how much goes to support operations? For every unit of power spent on IT systems, how much IT output is produced? The answers to these questions provide a picture of the energy consumption of each unit of energy spent on data center productivity. Auditing the energy efficiency of data centers can help CIOs identify and prioritize opportunities to reduce energy consumption.

Data centers are battling with the growing power bill for the past several years. What is most needed is a business culture of energy responsibility built with current data center practices of reliability and profitability. The above best practices can help CIOs easily win the battle of achieving data center energy efficiency.