Energy saving tips for servers and data centers

According to research firm Gartner Inc, the three-year cost of providing electricity to a server will soon exceed the server's sticker price. Here is a simple checklist on energy saving tips for data centers and server rooms:

  1. Evaluate cooling techniques and room temperature: Cooling can account for as much as 45% percent of the total energy costs of running a server. By going about smarter cooling options, you can make an impact on your energy bills and the environment. Areas to consider include:
    1. Redesign your cooling system. Cooling is important but cool doesn't have to mean cold. Your hardware may be able to stand higher temperatures than you may think. Evaluate what is optimal.
    2. Manage air flow. Start with minimizing hot and cold air mixing and eliminate hot spots.
    3. Adjust the thermostat. Raising the cold aisle temperature will minimize chiller energy use.
    4. Use free cooling where possible. Water or air-side economizers greatly improve energy efficiency.
  2. Consider a complete energy evaluation of your appliances and infrastructure: Appliances (from racks to lighting) not only consume energy and space, but also generate heat. Being efficient goes a long way. Areas to consider include:
    1. Measure the energy efficiency of appliances. Through the PUE metric (power usage effectiveness) as provided by the Green Grid , you will know your data center’s efficiency performance.
    2. Eliminate redundancies. If idle times are high consider eliminating or replacing with smarter alternatives. A server management tool that shuts down underutilized servers can cut cost by 10% instantly. Other redundant areas to look at include storage. De-duplication can eliminate unnecessary disc storage and network traffic
    3. Use star rated appliances. Energy Star standards for data servers are due to be released in May 2009. You can purchase other appliances, such as cooling systems, that do meet current standards. Keep an eye on energy saving appliances.
    4. Optimize power distribution. Use high-efficiency transformers and UPS (uninterupted power supply) systems
  3. Create a virtual and consolidated infrastructure: With emerging virtualization and consolidation technologies, you can integrate multiple computing environments, reduce power costs, and still meet increasing demands to deploy mission-critical applications. Virtualization cannot be applied in all situations, but if it can it will bring significant benefits. Think for example about:
    1. Server virtualization. Less servers requires less investment in new hardware, and extra cooling is deferred.
    2. Storage virtualization. Helps reduce redundancy and allows for a dedicated cooling solution.
    3. Desktop virtualization. Using thin desktop clients and server based computing the energy and management overhead can be reduced. Thin clients usually use 50% of normal desktop PCs, are quieter and less expensive.
  4. Research alternative power sources. The best way to stay clean is to find alternative energy that works for you. Solar panels, wind energy, heat pumps, and evaporative cooling can lower your costs and significantly reduce your company's environmental footprint.
  5. Involve everyone in your IT environmental strategy - from IT suppliers to management. It's important to assess data center and desktop energy efficiency as a whole and work with everyone along the energy chain to develop an environmental strategy.

For further energy advice please feel free to contact us. We will be glad to help.