How to Find Your Data Center Power Solution
Data center power consumption is a critical issue. Your IT equipment needs electricity to run, and we know the electricity rates aren’t going down anytime soon. When you implement data center power solutions to reduce as much energy waste as possible, you’ll experience direct savings. In some cases, energy consumption contributes to nearly half of total operating expenses for data centers—they’re ripe with energy-saving opportunity.
The Growing Need for Data Center Power Solutions
The Natural Resources Defense Council pinpoints data centers as one of the largest, fastest-growing consumers of electricity in the United States. In fact, data centers are on track to consume 140 billion kilowatt hours by 2020.
The first step in understanding data center power consumption is to measure it, and to do so in a way that identifies waste. Simply checking the meter at the end of the month won’t give you the full story.
3 Principles of Energy Efficiency Management
Examine these specific areas to get a better handle on data center power consumption:
- Server Utilization. There’s nothing worse than powering servers that sit idle or have low utilization. In some cases, these servers do almost nothing, but still draw power. Anthesis Group's new report estimates that there are 10 million physical servers deployed that aren’t being used – which translates to $30 billion in idle IT infrastructure assets. Virtual servers and virtualization software can help you combine underused servers into one server to not only reduce power consumption, but also reduce cooling demands and free up valuable data center floor space.
- Power at the Rack. Using the latest meter power strips enables power consumption monitoring down to the rack or outlet level to get a clear understanding of power demands. DCIM solutions or software built into a PDU can help you conduct power consumption trending to see when and where power use occurs.
- CRAC Units. We’ve talked a lot about proper thermal management in relationship to CRAC (computer room air-conditioning) units, but thermal management focuses on airflow. CRAC activity should also be monitored for energy use. One unit might be in cool mode while another unit in the same room is in reheat mode. Or you may find a CRAC unit providing humidify and dehumidifying at the same time. These activities are usually referred to as “demand fighting.” Some of the leading CRAC unit manufacturers include built-in communication to prevent this from occurring – as long as they’re installed correctly. Any of these situations creates pure waste – which you’re still paying for. Tracking and setting up communication between CRAC units can solve this.
Implementing Your Data Center Power Solution
To minimize data center power consumption, start by measuring. Then take time to understand consumption trends and areas of excessive energy waste. Finally, by setting up metrics and reporting, you’ll be able to track your progress. Sometimes, simply reporting on the issue will help bring everyone into the loop and gain corporate-wide acceptance.