Reducing Energy Consumption in Your Data Center
4 Tips for Overall Data Center Energy Efficiency
Data has an energy problem. Due to a lack of awareness about building efficient IT environments, nearly a quarter of all data center energy is wasted. And, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), data centers are the fastest-growing users of electricity in the developed world. Not only is this shortsightedness hiking energy costs and reducing operations efficiency, but it’s perpetuating wasteful business practices proving to be detrimental to the environment. This makes data center energy consumption an important consideration not only for IT Managers but for the world.
Businesses can improve the data center and overall energy efficiency with these four easy tips.
Tip #1: Retire Unnecessary Servers
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to make sure servers that aren’t serving a purpose are powered down. “Zombie servers” (systems that are no longer used yet remain powered on and consuming energy) remain a problem in many data centers today. These energy sappers greatly reduce server and data center energy efficiency, needlessly wasting power and costing businesses money.
It can be tricky to identify zombie servers however, as idle servers can play an integral part in data distribution and IT managers would rather leave a questionable server on rather than risk messing with the data center flow. Proper documentation and data monitoring procedures need to be in place to better identify which devices are essential and which are eating unnecessary power. Kill the zombies and save your data center—before it’s too late.
Tip #2: Reduce Equipment Cooling Needs
Maintaining an optimal data center temperature is essential for equipment efficiency and performance. In the data center, a huge portion of overall energy consumption goes towards cooling devices—especially if you have highly condensed server racks. Make sure to utilize hot/cold aisles to ensure a more consistent air temperature and double check what temperature your equipment can handle so no unnecessary cooling is needed. Also, facing the front of your server racks towards each other is a proven method for improving data center airflow.
Tip #3: Decrease or Optimize Your Server Room
It used to be the case that you had to fill additional space in your data center with extra servers to keep up with changing load demands, but with the selection of virtual servers available today, it might be more beneficial to consolidate servers to clear up more space.
By utilizing a modular design, businesses can scale up or down to meet changing needs and more easily maintain efficiency levels by controlling power usage. Optimizing server space plays a key part in making your data center more efficient and can help to decrease cooling and air control costs.
Tip #4: Monitor Your Equipment at Device Level
Monitoring power usage at the device, rack, and cabinet level is a crucial component of data center energy efficiency best practices. Power metering on each device allows you to see the efficiency at which equipment operates, giving insight on how to better balance each load and whether to increase/decrease capacity.
Depending on your environment, there are many remote monitoring options out there that keep tabs on your device output. Most devices even have a monitoring tool built-in that can send alerts to the person of your choosing. Larger environments aren't as simple. If you're dealing with a lot of devices, it might be a good idea to use an RMM monitoring tool that gathers and interprets the data in one place. This will save you time and money in the long by keeping closer tabs on output.
Ready to Decrease Your Data Center Power Consumption?
Optimizing energy efficiency in the data center improves performance, lowers costs, and helps the environment. It’s important we all make an effort to decrease wasteful energy usage in the short and long term. If you’d like to talk with an expert about what steps to take to make your data center more efficient, contact us with any questions you may have.
By Jon Stubblefield
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