TEN ways to save money and reduce DATA Center energy consumption
Costa Rica, November 10, 2015 – There is a growing demand from consumers for computer and high availability resources directly related to increased data center energy use. There are many ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your facilities, including savings in operating costs.
Organizations such as The Greed Grid, an energy efficiency nonprofit group, can help companies that want to reduce energy consumption by offering training, metrics and best practices for facility administrators. Recent advances in server chips, cooling infrastructure, data center management tools, virtualization and other technologies can help cut unnecessary costs. Some experts believe that software developers should do their part through the development of more agile software that reduces the number of calculation cycles needed to execute these applications.
Some data center upgrades have a high price tag, such as DC power feeds and a new cooling infrastructure. Others, including monitoring and virtualization tools, have lower entry costs and can lead to more immediate cost savings.
- Look for Low Consumption Processors for More Dramatic Potential Savings: Many companies have created energy efficient processors and designs for use on data center servers.
- Liquid Immersion Cooling Helps Keep Servers Chilled: The latest in liquid immersion cooling uses non-conductor, non-corrosive substances that cover servers and other computer equipment to transfer heat away from the components. This can save you money, not only in your electric bill, but also in data center air conditioning maintenance.
- Use CFD Equipment with The Existing Infrastructure to Target Hotspots: Computer fluid dynamics (CFD) models airflow in a facility and generates a layout to identify the location of hotspots for data center operators.
- Adopt Energy Management Tools and DCIM: The introduction of data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools has provided data center operators with the platform they need to obtain an in-depth vision of where the highest energy consumption components are located in their facilities. DCIM also combines IT functions and installations by compiling data on the use of energy within the data center to help manage energy and cooling systems.
- Tesla v. Edison: Which is better for data centers, AC or DC power? This debate has been going on since Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla competed on whether alternating or direct current should power homes and companies around the world. We know that AC won the battle, but when will DC win the war? For data centers, there is no definitive answer. Direct current (DC) is more efficient, because it involves fewer energy conversions. This means less energy loss than alternating current (AC), which is very attractive for reducing operating costs in high consumption data centers. DC current also produces less heat, which saves on cooling costs. An important disadvantage of DC current is that without the appropriate equipment, it can cause the accumulation of energy and arcing. Newer data indicate that DC is the clear winner for data center efficiency. Despite the disruption caused to make the change, the savings for companies can be worthwhile.
- Converge to Reduce Data Center Cables: Many data centers still rely on less efficient, more popular methods for cooling data centers, pushing cold air under the raised floors and delivering it to server racks. Installation of this type of subfloor cooling requires a disorganized array of electrical cables and network cables in the same space. This can inhibit the flow of cold air, making the mechanical cooling systems work harder and increasing energy costs. Organizing data center cables in hanging trays is one way to free up space on the raised floor to allow free air circulation or piping for liquid cooling systems. However, companies thinking about buying one of these convergent infrastructure offers can expect another advantage: reduction in cables spread throughout the data center can reduce obstacles to air flow through the raised floor.
- Fuel Cell Technology Is Not Only for Cars and Mobile Devices: Fuel cell technology for data centers is still not widely used. However, for some companies where energy costs are high or with mandates or tax incentives for finding alternative power systems, moving from the public power grid and connecting to a nonconventional energy source may make financial sense.
- A Reliable Virtual Server Infrastructure May Reduce Initial Costs: Server virtualization helps to pack more computer resources into fewer physical boxes. This type of company rationalization using a virtual server infrastructure can reduce purchasing, updating and maintenance costs for all that server hardware during the inevitable technological upgrading. Less hardware requiring less power means you are using less electricity and reducing operating costs. Fewer servers mean reduced environmental impact from this equipment.
- Modular Data Centers Offer Rapid Deployment of Extra Computing Power: Modular data centers in containers offer a unique focus on the problem of data center requirements. If a company exceeds its computing capacity and prefers to maintain server racks under strict monitoring, these additional installations can preclude the need for new data centers. Some considerations on the use of modular data centers are the same as for the construction of regular data centers: construction costs, power sources, location and security. But, the added advantages of rapid deployment, availability, energy efficiency and scalability are an attractive sales point for many companies.
- As SSD Costs Drop, Flash Storage Use Rises: As the costs of the solid state device (SSD) decrease further, flash storage will be the way for data center administrators to reduce overall costs by reducing the energy required to rotate the hard disk drive platter and reduce the energy needed to cool hard disk drives. Estimates indicate that one watt of computer power requires 0.5 watts and 1 watt for the cooling system. Depending on business needs, the benefits may or may not have a higher weight than the current price of an SSD for a company. In addition to costs, there are situations in which SSDs may not be the best option. This includes the type of data access required, specific virtual environments and the wrong type of SSD for your applications. In addition, flash memories reduce cooling and energy costs and save space, while they accelerate data base processing functions. For some companies, the increased performance, in conjunction with lower energy costs, may tip the scales in favor of SSDs.