Reducing data center energy consumption is a priority target for all data centers today.
Reducing Data Center Energy Consumption Effectively
Data centers are energy hogs, accounting for 2% of all energy use worldwide. They consume more power than whole countries. Data centers use much power because they have to run 24/7, and they have to be able to handle spikes in demand.
Reducing data center energy consumption effectively requires a holistic approach, including the design and construction of the facility, ongoing facility management, and proper equipment maintenance.
To reduce your data center’s energy consumption, here are five tips:
Virtualization is a technology that allows multiple instances of an operating system to run on a single physical server. It is typically used to consolidate servers and reduce the energy consumption of data centers.
Virtualization reduces energy consumption by reducing the number of servers needed in a data center, which reduces the size of their associated power units. The power units themselves can also be made more efficient through virtualization software.
Virtualization has become increasingly important as data centers have come under pressure to reduce their energy usage. It has been calculated that implementing virtualization could save over $2 billion per year in reduced electrical costs for data centers in the United States alone.
Smart sensors can be used for many different purposes in data centers. For example, a sensor could be used to monitor the temperature and humidity of a particular area. The sensor would send this information to a controller, turning on an air conditioner or dehumidifier if necessary. In another example, smart sensors can be used to monitor a server room’s energy consumption and efficiency.
The smart sensors are networked and communicate with each other to gather data about power usage, temperature, airflow, and more. This data can be used to create a baseline for what is expected at the facility, and when any anomalies arise, the power usage of individual servers can be monitored and managed.
More efficient data center equipment and cooling systems
While it’s true that the older equipment still works just as well for many scenarios, the newer equipment has several distinct advantages.
- First, it’s more affordable than ever before.
- Second, because it requires less energy and cooling to run than older models, it costs fewer energy savings than its counterparts.
Additionally, newer models are lighter and use less material in their construction—for example, server racks are made entirely from metal now instead of wooden frames like they used to.
Cooling equipment is one of the highest costs in a data center and, typically, the most power-hungry.
Data centers are trying to reduce their energy usage while keeping them secure and up to code. Without efficient cooling equipment, it would be impossible to meet these goals.
The majority of data centers operate using an evaporative cooling process. This process involves using chilled water to cool each rack of servers from the top down.
This method is not very efficient due to heat transfer; the chilled water sits upon hot air and does not effectively cool it. For this method to be effective, there needs to be lots of space between each server rack, which can cause problems for densely packed data centers.
A better method would be forced air cooling, where cold air is blown directly into a rack and hot air is expelled out the back of the rack or through a ceiling vent. The most significant advantage of this method is that it saves money on cooling equipment by reducing the amount of chilled water needed.
An added benefit is that all servers within a single rack are cooled simultaneously, and all hot air is expelled at once instead of being dispersed throughout the room.
The adoption rate for this technology has been slow due to concerns about energy usage and protocol violations within their industry standards.
Monitoring and controls
Electricity is a significant cost for most data centers, so make sure the electricity usage of your cooling equipment is being monitored. If you have many different cooling equipment at your data center, it’s best to use a monitoring system designed specifically for your facility’s needs.
Internet-connected sensors are ideal because they allow you to monitor each piece of equipment from anywhere you can access the internet.
Monitoring the energy used by your entire data center will show you how much energy is being used by each piece of equipment, which will help you find operational efficiencies that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Monitoring your energy data will also enable you to detect theft or hazardous conditions such as overheating before they become dangerous problems. Reduce theft risk by using specialized sensors that can’t be tampered with or switched off. Detect potential failures ahead of time by using sensor systems with built-in alarms that notify you when something needs
It is also essential to measure your data center PUE. A server’s power usage effectiveness (PUE) measures how much of the power entering a data center is being used by computers versus how much is lost to inefficiencies from the cooling system or infrastructure.
Measuring the PUE
- PUE is calculated by dividing the total amount of power used by the total amount of power entering the facility:
- PUE = Total Facility Power / Total Computer Power
- a PUE of 1.0 means that all of the power entering the facility is used by computers; a PUE of 2.0 indicates that half the energy is wasted before it reaches your servers.
Many large companies aim for an industry-standard PUE below 1.2 to support their sustainability efforts, while smaller organizations may try to get below 1.5 to cut costs and save on electricity bills.
Location, location, location
While it’s true that land, labor, and capital are the three major costs of running a data center, they’re no longer the only ones. Energy is now also a major cost that can’t be ignored.
The rising energy cost is due to several factors: increasing energy demands from an expanding population, an increasing number of devices using more energy-hungry components, and market forces such as subsidies for solar energy.
A data center can be a complex and expensive system, but it can also be very efficient with the right equipment, maintenance, and energy-saving techniques.
Although the green data center market has exploded in the last few years, it will continue to grow rapidly. Even though many companies are aware of the benefits of operating green data centers, they may still have questions about how to implement those solutions.
There are many ways to reduce your data center’s energy consumption.