Data Centers

Three tips for greening the data center

The electricity required to run a data center is often one of the biggest overhead costs a company faces every year. Here are three tips that can help lower those costs.

Data centers use a tremendous amount of energy. In fact, the electricity that is required to run a data center is often one of the biggest overhead costs a company faces every year. Besides the cost concern, the amount of energy used to power data centers all over the world is just plain bad for the environment.

These days, IT managers responsible for data centers are getting pressure from all directions. The CFO is slashing budgets. Operations needs more server bandwidth. Facilities want to earn LEED Certification for the company by the end of the year.

Peter Skae, of Skae Mission Critical, an APC Elite Datacenter Partner, offers these three tips that data center managers can do to help achieve all these goals:

1. Right size your data center.

Data centers are often oversized for a variety of reasons. It is difficult for IT professionals to project future load based on the rapid changes in technology. This leads to projections based on current technology and best guesses. It is important to right-size the data center infrastructure. Data centers should be designed in a scalable, modular fashion that allows for the necessary growth without oversizing the UPS and cooling systems.


2. Cool closely.

Moving air conditioners to as close to the servers as possible will significantly reduce the energy needed to power them. It's common sense. Why cool the whole room or center if it's really just the servers that need to be cooled? In-row and overhead cooling systems create increased efficiency and reliability. These systems coupled with containment systems ensure that the hot air is contained and properly returned to the AC system. The departure from the perimeter cooling-only model has increased cooling efficiency and energy consumption markedly.


3. Test regularly.

Proper testing of the data room's energy and cooling systems directly affects their efficiency and availability throughout their life cycle. It is important that critical systems are tested to verify that they were installed, calibrated, and perform according to owner requirements and project documents. As the data center operates, a measurement and verification program will provide for the ongoing accountability of data center energy consumption over time.


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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