A growing demand for information technology means a growing demand for power hungry data centers. Data centers in the United States alone consumed nearly 100 billion kWh, or roughly 2% of the country’s total power consumption. They regularly use up to 200 times more electricity than standard office spaces. The good news is that opportunities exist to save energy and money in data centers without sacrificing reliability or compromising critical systems.
The good news is that even a small data center can save tens of thousands of dollars simply through wise choices in management practices, IT hardware, power, and cooling infrastructure. If the idea of dramatically reducing energy costs in your data center intrigues you, read on to discover how to gain this edge for your organization .
Switch Off Idle IT Equipment.
IT equipment is usually very lightly used relative to its capacity. Servers tend to be only 5- to 15-percent utilized, PCs are 10- to 20-percent utilized, direct-attached storage devices are 20- to 40-percent utilized, and network storage is 60- to 80-percent utilized.
When any of these devices becomes idle, the equipment still consumes a significant portion of the power it would draw at maximum utilization. A typical x86 server consumes 30 to 40 percent of maximum power even when it’s producing no work at all.To fight this, identify underutilized pieces of equipment and power them down. If a system hosts only one rarely used application, there may be resistance to retiring it, but there may be more cost-effective ways to serve that niche.
Start Using High Efficiency UPSs.
Even small increases in UPS efficiency can quickly translate into thousands of dollars. If the new UPS consumed even 10-percent less power than a legacy UPS, a data center with 1,000 servers could save more than $86,000. In addition to dramatic cost savings, high UPS efficiency extends battery runtime and produces cooler operating conditions within the UPS. Lower temperatures extend the life of components and increase overall reliability and performance.
Adopt Cooling Practices.
Your organization might have some ready opportunities to reduce cooling costs through these best practices:
- Use hot aisle/cold aisle enclosure configurations. By alternating equipment so there is an aisle with a cold air intake and another with hot air exhaust, you can create a more uniform air temperature.
- Use blanking panels inside equipment enclosures so that air from hot aisles doesn’t mix with air from cold aisles.
- Seal cable outputs to minimize “bypass airflow,” whereby cool air is short cycling back to cooling units instead of circulating evenly throughout the data center. This phenomenon affects as much as 60 percent of the cool-air supply in computer rooms.
- Orient computer room air-conditioning units close to the enclosures and perpendicular to hot aisles to maximize cooling where it’s needed most. Further optimization of cooling systems can be achieved by using air-handlers and chillers that use efficient technologies, such as variable frequency drives (VFDs), air- or water-side economizers, and humidity and temperature settings, according to American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidelines
Schedule Regular Cleaning and Maintenance For Your Data Center
Potential issues like data loss and media errors have been reported by data centers due to the interference of dust and particulates with the electronic equipment leading to serious downtimes. The best way to prevent such careless downtimes in your data center is to avoid issues before they show up. And the only way to do it is through regular cleaning of your Data Center.
Cleaning of the exterior hardware, top of floors, cabinets and racks, subfloors, pedestal/stringer system, equipment interiors and under floor plenum should be done in regularly scheduled intervals to get the maximum operational lifespan out of the IT equipment, thus delivering increased reliability and uptime. Cleaning the dirt and dust will also ensure proper server fan air intake and reduces the thermal output of storage and server components, ultimately reducing its cooling requirements.
Certain areas and components of data centers show greater affinity to dust and dirt. So make sure that your cleaning program includes the following:Regular vacuuming
- Sub floor deck seal and cleaning
- Equipment cleaning
- Above floor vacuuming
- Disaster recovery cleaning
- Subfloor area cleaning and sealing prior to equipment installation
- Machine scrubbing and anti-static cleaning of raised floors
- Tin and Zinc whisker remediation
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