The greening of IT: Increasing efficiency with temperature monitoring

The greening of IT: Increasing efficiency with temperature monitoring

Keeping an eye on server room temperature can enhance energy efficiency.

More focus is being placed on energy efficiency within IT environments. As technology continues to advance and energy consumption numbers rise, colocation providers find that maintaining efficiency can help lower the cost of electricity and minimize the impact on the environment. In fact, the focus for many IT managers is becoming how their facilities can reduce electricity consumption without negatively affecting productivity.

Simultaneously, the "green IT" movement is gaining ground. Power management, for example, is one part of this movement. According to GreenBiz, organizations stand to save a lot of money by going green and better managing the power utilization of computing equipment on the network. In fact, the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh saved nearly $80,000 per year by power-managing close to 3,000 computers on campus. While many businesses haven't yet taken advantage of greener power-saving capabilities or energy-reducing measures, the fact still stands that they could gain much from observing green techniques and monitoring server room temperature.

Green data centers
What does it mean for a data center to be "green"? According to TechTarget, a green data center is a facility that has been built with maximum energy efficiency in mind. This kind of building may achieve efficiency in a number of ways, including sustainable landscaping, low-emission building materials and effective waste recycling. Tax incentives exist for data center companies that include efficient equipment and processes in their facility designs.

How does temperature affect energy efficiency?
Within the data center, maintaining a constant temperature is important for more than one reason. If the temperature within the server room fluctuates, it can be indicative of overheating systems or inefficient cooling equipment - which can lead to sky-high energy bills if left unchecked.

Humidity is another metric that managers need to keep an eye on if they want to maintain a high level of energy efficiency and consider their facilities green. According to Energy Star, a data center utilizes a lot of energy keeping humidity within the acceptable ranges, and this is accomplished through the use of CRAC units. Adjusting the humidity and temperature allowed via these CRAC units can help enhance more effective use of electricity throughout the facility.

Energy Star also stressed that it's important to keep an eye on the design of the aisles themselves within the data center. If there is a poor operational design, cool air won't be able to flow properly and it could cost companies in the long run. To solve this problem, it's important to keep in mind which direction the servers are facing so that optimum cooling efficiency is achieved.

"[T]he rows of server racks should be oriented so that the fronts of the servers face each other," Energy Star stated. "In addition, the backs of the server racks should also face each other. This orientation creates alternating 'hot aisle/cold aisle' rows. Such a layout, if properly organized, greatly reduces energy losses and also prolongs the life of the servers."

Keeping an eye on the equipment
With the kinds of efficiency-generating products like the ones offered by Geist, data center managers can ensure that the temperature within their facilities stays steady and energy bills remain within an acceptable range. By monitoring the temperature near the server equipment, IT managers can take care of energy-eating hot spots and keep the humidity at acceptable levels.

Maintaining a green data center environment can be a surefire way to help facilities make better use of the energy coming into them, and Geist's products can help. Monitoring solutions deliver real-time data to managers in a central command area so that they can have an accurate assessment of the temperature and humidity in all parts of their facilities at once.