Tailor Data Center Energy Strategies To Business Needs

By Edward Sullivan, Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Air-Flow Management, Economizer Use And Understanding PUE Can Help Improve Data Center Efficiency Pt. 2: How HVAC Economizers Can Help Data Centers Meet Energy Codes, Energy Star Ratings And ASHRAE StandardsPt. 3: Managing Data Center Air Flow With Hot Aisles, Cold Aisles Can Help Drive Energy EfficiencyPt. 4: This Page

How can facility managers get top management on board with efforts to improve energy efficiency of a data center? One way is to tailor data center energy strategies to business needs.

Specific strategies will vary from one organization to the next, but the underlying principle is the same: “The simple answer is to ‘prove’ to top management how energy efficient management will help reduce costs and or comply with the company’s sustainability program,” says Randy J. Ortiz, vice president, data center design and engineering, Internap.

Business needs will determine the best approach to take. If it’s an existing facility with a limited budget for energy efficiency, Ortiz would implement best practices such as raising temperature set points to the higher range of the ASHRAE recommended limits. He would also look at purchasing energy efficient servers. “These items can easily be implemented at little to no cost,” Ortiz notes.

It’s a different story if the company is building a new data center and has a large budget for efficiency. In that case, says Ortiz, “I can introduce all the latest and greatest technologies that improve energy efficiency. These cost saving tools and best practices will need to be carefully reviewed in advance and agreed upon that there will be a sufficient ROI well before the facility is in construction.”

In both cases, the facility manager has to identify all the solutions available and match them to the business needs, then put together a good business case and then sell it. And the end game is the same in both situations: “monitoring, measuring and comparing the results to prove ROI,” say Ortiz.

—Edward Sullivan, editor

Changes in IT Hardware Allow For Temperature Flexibility

Data center operators are realizing that their facilities do not need to be kept at meat-locker-like temperatures.

IT equipment manufacturers are building servers with higher operating temperature ranges and better fan control for maximized energy use. Generally speaking, today's well-designed servers also integrate a large number of thermal sensors along with activity and power sensors to drive fan speeds as low as possible to reduce IT power.

Because servers can tolerate higher temperatures, setpoints in a data center can be raised within certain limits without any meaningful increase in equipment failure rates.

"People are realizing that data centers can be run hotter," says Bob Cassiliano, chairman and CEO of the 7x24 Exchange. "Energy Star and ASHRAE guidelines give greater operating ranges for temperature and humidity than they previously have."

—Loren Snyder

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  posted on 1/13/2014   Article Use Policy

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