How do I foster energy efficiency in the data center?

How do I foster energy efficiency in the data center?

How can DCIM tools make your data center more energy efficient?

Maintaining energy efficiency is a key goal of the data center. Computing facilities use an incredible amount of energy. According to the National Resources Defense Council, U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2013, and that number is projected to expand to 140 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020 as more facilities are built and demand for computing power experiences growth. In addition to all of the energy used and money spent on electric bills, data centers are also set to emit 100 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year.

These staggering numbers demonstrate the need for an evolution in energy management. In order to maintain a smaller footprint in the long run, the question for the data center industry is quickly becoming: How do I maximize server functionality while using as little energy as possible?

Sustainable practices breed energy efficiency
Sustainability in the data center is on the minds of many companies nowadays. Energy efficiency is directly related to the temperature and humidity of the data center. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, the group that releases guidelines for the proper humidity and temperature in data center environments, creates rules based on current energy consumption regulations with sustainable practices in mind. According to Energy 350, the 2014 changes to the guidelines state that for a class A1 data center, the ideal temperature range falls between 59 degrees Fahrenheit and 89.6 degrees F.

In order to maintain a high level of energy efficiency, managers can increase the temperature of the data room. This effectively decreases the power required by cooling systems, which no longer have to work as hard. Monitoring temperature and humidity will allow IT managers to push the ranges of the ASHRAE guidelines, leading to energy savings. When operators can see the areas of their data rooms that need the most attention, they can adjust the climate to accommodate those needs.

DCIM and monitoring can provide the answer
Data center infrastructure management tools are useful for a number of reasons. When data center managers have a holistic view of their facilities, they can make sure mission-critical equipment is functioning at optimum capacity while fully utilizing crucial resources. One of the most important functions of a DCIM solution is to help data centers maximize energy efficiency, saving money in the long term. You can only prevent what you know about - and as DCIM provides visibility of the entire facility, decision-makers are more informed about how much energy their equipment is using.

Infrastructure management software can also provide key data on which servers are running at full capacity and which represent a potential loss of energy to the facility. A 2015 study by Anthesis Group showed that nearly 30 percent of servers worldwide are sitting comatose in data centers and are so-called "zombie servers," meaning they exist in the facility, but aren't doing any real computing and so are simply eating up expensive energy. An estimated $30 billion in infrastructure capital is sitting idle. That's a lot of wasted energy and money. With DCIM, IT managers can identify these costly zombie servers and take steps to create better energy flow within the facility.

DCIM software helps data center companies achieve optimal energy efficiency with the actionable data obtained from monitoring climate and temperature sensors spread throughout the facility. The monitoring and DCIM tools offered by Geist can help IT managers maintain a full presence in the server room. This can lead to cost and energy savings, which in the long term will be better for both the environment and facility operators' wallets.