IT Infrastructure: Data Center Efficiency: 10 Tips to Boost Productivity, Reduce Power Usage

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-05-24 Print this article Print
Reduce Cooling Power Consumption

Reduce Cooling Power Consumption

In a typical data center, only about half the power available is actually used by the IT equipment, with the rest going mostly to cooling. Much of that power can be reclaimed by eliminating cooling inefficiencies, upgrading the cooling system to allow for variable cooling or making greater use of outside air. Additional efficiency can be achieved by right-sizing the UPS and power-distribution equipment.
Data centers are designed for reliability, usually at the expense of efficiency.  The failure to design for efficiency increases capital and operational expenditures. It can also result in finite resources being exhausted, thereby creating a situation in which relentless growth threatens to outpace the enterprise's ability to financially sustain that growth. Quantifying the power efficiencies of a data center may appear to be something pretty esoteric, but rest assured, it is all very scientific. Two metrics instituted by the Green Grid industry group are now beginning the lengthy process of becoming international industry standards. First, there is power usage effectiveness (PUE). This is a ratio of total facility power divided by IT equipment power. Ideally, it should be less than 2-to-1. The closer to 1-to-1 this metric is, the better. Then, there is data center infrastructure efficiency (DCiE), which is a percentage calculated by multiplying IT equipment power by 100, divided by total facility power. The bigger this percentage is, the better. A data center's DCiE should never be more than 1. With this in mind, here are 10 steps IT and facility managers can take to improve efficiency without compromising reliability. Our expert resource for this slide show is Clemens Pfeiffer, CTO of Power Assure and a 25-year veteran of the software industry.
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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