Key Factors for Driving Energy Efficiency in Data Centers

By CIOReview | Tuesday, September 27, 2016
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As data center usage grows consistently across industries, the rise in energy consumption has set in new challenges both at economic and ecological front. For instance, in 2011, Google revealed that it used up about 260MW of electric power. Fast forward four years, the company reported in 2015 that it had purchased a monumental figure of almost 781MW of renewable energy for its data centers. However, companies can improve their energy efficiency in the data center design by complying to the following best practices.

Air Economizers

By regulating the temperature without affecting energy costs, air economizers are efficient cooling options for data centers. In addition, these devices have been able to reduce annual energy consumption costs by more than 60 per cent. An air economizer replaces the hot air within the data center with fresh and filtered air when the outside temperatures are cooler than on the inside. However, it is worth noting that the geography and climate are important factors while deploying air economizers.

Power Distribution

Power distribution holds much significance in maintaining the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of a data center. The PUE value of a data center must be on the higher side as it implies an efficient power distribution within the data center while a lower value means an uneven power distribution. In 2014, Uptime Institute published a report which noted that the average PUE in the US was 1.7. In order to increase the PUE further, organizations have to identify and cut down "zombie servers"- the servers that are idle but still consume power. According to a latest study conducted by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC)  in 2015, almost 30 percent of servers globally are zombie servers.

Proactive Monitoring

It's always better to be proactive than be reactive to any contingency situations. Monitoring helps IT managers to keep an eye on everything that is happening within the data center and prevent any mishaps that may occur. Moreover, constant monitoring allows managers to track down any fluctuations in power output or temperature variations and enables them to take appropriate measures to deal with such incidents. As a result, the organization can be well-prepared to tackle any emergency related to power and temperature changes.

Responsive Design

Earlier, organizations faced difficulty in using full capacity that lead to wastage of money and resources. In order to negate such scenarios, it is better for organizations to build capacity as the need arises. This will not only reduce wastage but will allow enterprises to cut back on power consumption.

Outsourcing

CIOs are really looking into the option of outsourcing data centers. Why so? Organizations incur mammoth costs in improving the capacity of a data center. Moreover, today's technology will be termed as "prehistoric" within the next five years. This necessitates enterprises to upgrade their current systems and infrastructure to cope with burgeoning competition. On the other hand, outsourcing data centers instead of spending a fortune in building or upgrading remains the most viable option for organizations. Also, this helps enterprises to concentrate more on their core business activities.

Additionally, enterprises must also focus on sustainability of resources in a world where energy consumption becomes the most important aspect of technology. By engaging in sustainable use of resources and using renewable energy, enterprises can chart a more greener and cost effective data center strategies.