7 Ways to Make Data Center Efficient

Data centers are essential to most business operations as they contain essential business information and also control building and security operations. Because businesses exist to make money, it is essential that data centers run as efficiently and inexpensively as possible, making best use of utilities, space and technology. An IBM Data Center Study found that only 21 percent of data centers are energy efficient For example, electrical costs account for 25 to 40 percent of data center operating expenses.

FACTORS AFFECTING DATA CENTER EFFICIENCY

1. Cooling
2. Servers
3. Equipment configuration
4. Server capacity
5. Coordinating procedures between facilities management and the IT department
6. Age and proper use of equipment
7. Use of transfer switches instead of more efficient AC or DC distribution buses

BEST PRACTICES

1. Cooling –By using more outside air or by upgrading to a variable speed cooling system, electrical use can be reduced drastically.

2. Servers – by virtualizing the computer servers (i.e., the computers share their resources) can drastically reduce costs and increase the amount of rack space for computers and equipment.

3. Equipment configuration – Usually data centers are configured to alternate hot and cold aisles and maintain a cold aisle inlet temperature of 80.60 degrees F. However, this arrangement can result in hot spots that can waste energy to the point of power outages. This can be avoided by properly balancing the equipment and monitoring cold aisle temperatures.
In addition, companies can save a lot of money by building their redundant data centers in locations where they can take advantage of lower, night-time energy rates and keep their businesses running 24/7.

4. Server capacity – by matching online capacity to actual load, server power usage can be cut by up to 50 percent, according to Greentechmedia.com

5. Coordinating procedures – Simply coordinating emergency and other procedures for the facility and the IT department can reduce and even prevent power failures.

6. Age and proper usage of equipment – UL (Underwriters Laboratories)2540 PAR4 was created to maximize server capacity and eliminate overloaded circuits caused by older, inefficient equipment and incorrectly aggregated newer servers.

7. Transfer switches– an alternating or direct current(AC or DC) distribution bus is more efficient than an automatic transfer switch between the grid and generator and equally effective in a power failure.
Make money

While data centers use more and more electricity, a company can make still make money by taking part in a smart grid’s energy markets and demand response programs. It can also distributed electricity via net metering using a renewable-energy microgrid. Thus a company can sell electricity generated by the data center to the local utility or to other consumers.

POWER USAGE AND ITS EFFECTS

Making a data center as energy efficient as possible will help the company to save money and take advantage of lower utility rates. In addition, the company will be more secure in the event of power outages and other emergencies.

HOW TO ACHIEVE AN EFFICIENT DATA CENTER

Efficient data centers are not created overnight. It takes a lot of planning and coordination of efforts. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Identify how servers, applications and storage functions work together across departments.

2. Determine how vendors, staff and the chain of command works so that responsibilities are clear.

3. Now that those connections are clear, work together to create a system configuration that optimizes equipment and power usage, considering the seven factors and best practices listed above.

4. Strive to make the system as simple as possible. However, if it is choice between simplicity and maintaining the status quo, choose the status quo to prevent confusion. Save the purchase of new core networking equipment for a time just before a data center physically moves to a new location to save downtime.

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