Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on March 26, 2019
No matter how long you’ve been managing or using data centers for your business growth or the storage needs of other companies, there is always room for improvement. And with constant changes and technological advancements, improving the energy efficiency of your data centers is just another important facet of ensuring longevity, success, and continual growth.
Often what it comes down to is managing and balancing power use while eliminating physical practices and procedures that inhibit the optimization of the data center as a whole. It sounds simple enough on the surface, but let’s break things down a bit more to specifics.
IT Power Optimization
Power is most likely the highest annual cost for many data center managers. And it’s likely to only increase. So often analyzing a data center’s power and energy use usually breaks down to the entire building itself, rather than the individual IT equipment. However, there are important steps that IT technicians or data center managers can take to ensure that equipment consistently operates at a more efficient level.
The first step is to reduce the amount of unnecessary power going into IT equipment. Start by checking the workloads of all operating equipment. Is there anything that can be eliminated? Is there old data or functions that can be backed up elsewhere? Odds are a bulk of your data is being stored via the cloud.
Think about how much can be moved offsite. Are there other operations that can be carried out remotely? Are there systems or workloads that can be combined? Just be sure that any efficiency checks or consolidation doesn’t interfere with security.
Time for an Upgrade
When is the last time you took a hard look at all of the equipment sitting in your data center? How many servers do you have powered on, but performing useless, meaningless tasks? Now is the perfect time to dispose of or even sell your used hard drives, servers, and other old equipment. Right now, they’re just consuming power and costing you money.
And it might also be the perfect time for an upgrade. Generally as technology progresses and gets better and better, it tends to also grow in its efficiency. Swapping in some new equipment can do wonders for your data center’s power consumption. And there are plenty of great, new flash storage hardware options that just keep
Data Center Facilities
Speaking of old equipment, it’s worth it to consider the actual data center building itself. The building’s construction along with where it’s located can play a big role in power consumption and annual costs. An old building is not just a physical liability should disaster strike. Often, older data centers are simply not fit for today’s technology.
It’s very possible that the data centers of yesterday are greatly overbuilt for any modern needs. Especially as cloud migration and the move to more virtually-based data continues to dominate. If that’s the case it may be time for a total data center decommission. A whole new building may seem daunting at first, especially as far as upfront expenses go. But a general downsize will ensure your data center isn’t powering more than it needs to.
Location, Location, Location
Efficiency doesn’t always have to include energy. Especially when considering where your data center may be physically located and how that affects the costs of operating. Space in New York or San Francisco is going to cost more than a facility of similar size in Idaho. Again, think about who your data center is serving. Today, plenty of data centers operate from the edge. If it’s not absolutely necessary for you to operate near major metropolitan areas or more expensive markets, then take advantage of the opportunity to move to a different area.
Keep It Cool
It’s no secret that powering the IT equipment is only half the battle for any data center. Typically, the other half to worry about is power going into cooling all of the operating equipment. And just like all of the important equipment that’s powered on, there are inefficiencies that can be addressed to ensure cooling systems and operations aren’t consuming an excessive amount of power.
One of the easiest ways for any data center to improve the efficiency of its coolers is to install economizers. How effective economizers are will depend on the local climate your data center is located in. Think of economizers as outside air refrigeration systems. If the outside temperature is even slightly naturally cooler than inside the data center, then economizers are a great option to improve cooling efficiencies.
Furthermore, consider the current standard of air conditioning practices in your data center. Keeping the server hardware and other IT equipment cool is vitally important. But more times than not, data center managers simply overdo it. Most modern servers have built-in functions to stay cool, or do not need to be kept as cool as older models would. In this sense, air conditioning can be periodically turned off as temperature is monitored more closely.
Time for an Upgrade, Again
If much of your energy costs are going towards cooling, then it might be worth it to take a closer look at upgrading your current cooling equipment. Perhaps the air conditioning unit in the entire building needs repaired or replaced. Additionally, house any data center equipment generating an excessive amount of heat using isolation structures. These intricate isolation structures can channel the heat completely out of the data center or to heat other parts of the building as necessary.
There are also other modern cooling and venting installations that will help your data center improve its efficiency and lower any consumption costs. Think about investing in vented floor tiles to improve overall airflow to implementing chillers that will absorb and transfer heat between physical systems. Anything to help improve the general day-to-day maintenance of your data center.
The point is, every data center’s situation is unique. However, most data centers are facing the same physical obstacles when it comes to improving energy and overall efficiency. Start by taking a closer look at your current systems and operations and slowly branch out to pinpoint and eliminate areas of deficiency. If that leads you to the software you are running and thinking of upgrading to Server 2019 then read our blog on Windows Server 2019 Key Features for more information.
And if you find that any efficiency improvements will come with an upgrade or renovation to your data center, you may require a full on data center decommission. In that case, be sure to enlist the help of a certified IT asset disposition company. At Exit Technologies, we offer full IT equipment services ranging from asset recovery, network equipment sales and recycling, data erasure, and full data center decommission services.
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