How to Maximize Power Utilization in the Data Center - Page 2

Lessons learned

At NetApp, we recently implemented a new strategy in our data center to reduce power usage. We were faced with the problem of requiring infrastructure to support continued application growth, without the option of spending the $5 million it would take to increase power capacity and expand our data center to meet these needs.

After reviewing our strategic options and budget, achieving buy-in from others within the organization and assessing the available technology, we decided on a solution focused around consolidated networked storage. This created a more compact, efficient "core" of IT services and reduced the overall footprint and estimated power consumption of both servers and storage.

We reduced power and cooling by 80 percent, a savings of $60,000 per year. We also reduced our storage footprint by 75 percent, helping postpone added power utility costs by three years. In addition, we postponed a multi-million dollar upgrade to our uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. Finally, we increased our storage utilization rates by over 50 percent, easing scalability and exponential growth of applications.


Data is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, but neither monetary budgets nor kilowatt budgets are growing at the same rate. CIOs should develop strategies to reduce the power needs of their data centers before they run out of power completely. In order to address this growing problem, it is imperative that new technologies are explored to increase storage efficiency and reduce the footprint of the data center.

Finally, collaboration from many aspects of the business, including the CFO and facilities manager, is critical in the success of power minimization strategies. With the appropriate strategy, real savings can be achieved.

David Robbins is CTO for IT at NetApp. David is responsible for identifying and selecting new technologies and establishing the adoption road map and timing for NetApp IT delivery. He can be reached at