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8 Ways to Improve Data Center Efficiency

May 10th, 2015

Data centers are really just large spaces dedicated to the storage and maintenance of servers, computers, and other equipment. All of this equipment is typically running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which means data centers use a lot of electricity. If you’re running your own data center, you can increase energy-efficiency to keep your equipment running at optimal performance, and save on your utility bills.

1.) Reduce cooling power
While many think it’s the actual IT equipment that uses most of the power in a data center, it’s actually the cooling system. Any inefficiency in the cooling system must be upgraded and replaced with energy-efficient systems, and making better use of outside air will also increase the energy-efficiency of the cooling system.

2.) Better virtualization techniques
When dedicated servers are “virtualized”, they are split into different virtual servers. This can be done to increase overall virtualization from the typical 10 per cent of dedicated servers to anywhere between 20 and 30 per cent with more dynamic management systems. Doing so can also free rack space up for additional servers.

3.) Balancing, calibrating, and monitoring cold aisle temperatures
Cold aisles are one of the most effective ways data center operators reduce energy and keep their servers running. But the configuration of hot and cold aisles can create hot spots within data centers that can create hot spots. In order to minimize these hot spots, equipment needs to be balanced, calibrated and monitored. Equipment will run better, and energy will be saved.

4.) Match server capacity to load in real time
During periods where your server is not as active as its busiest times, it’s still using just as much power. It can be reduced by as much as 50 per cent by matching the server capacity to load in real time. Application such as Runbooks can be used to automate the steps involved, making it even easier.

5.) Improve emergency procedures of the facility and IT equipment
In some data centers, the emergency procedures of the actual facility and the IT equipment are different and sometimes, happen at different times. Correlating and automating these procedures will reduce the impact of power outages and will also reduce the UPS/generator load.

6.) Know how much power you’re using
Whether you’re using newer or older equipment, you need to know how much power you’re using. Of course older equipment will often use power inefficiently, while new servers can have a higher idle/peak swing, which can eventually overload the circuits. Know how much power you’re using and then take necessary steps to maximize server capacity while reducing the risk of overloading circuits.

7.) Stop using the transfer switch
Common configurations often involve using an automatic transfer switch between the grid and the generator. However, using an alternate current (AC) or direct current (DC) distribution bus will integrate every source of power and will allow generator maintenance cycle to be put to better use.

8.) Have multiple data centers that can use the most power when it’s cheapest
Everyone knows that power is cheaper to consumer at night. But if you have only one data center in one location, you can only take so much advantage of those lunar hours. However, if you have several data centers, loads can be shifted to where energy is not only the most stable, but also the least expensive.

Data centers use an immense amount of power and it’s critical that data center operators are aware of the many different ways they can increase the energy efficiency. This is the only way for a data center to remain viable and for owners and operators to save on not just energy consumption, but their wallets too.