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Data Center Facilities Infrastructure
4 minute read

Reducing Data Center Power Consumption

Operational costs continue to rise, and power is gobbling up much of your budget — so it's important to find ways to reduce inefficiencies.

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Organizations are continuing to look for ways to decrease power costs while increasing the overall energy efficiency of the data center space. With the infrastructure power noticeably driving up their operating cost, many are falling short of their set goals. Energy costs can be cut if the power chain is addressed for the entire data center, including CPUs, storage, transformers and cooling systems.

It's important to have a partner that will listen to your concerns, touch on industry best practices, deliver proven use-cases and help build strong outcomes to meet the next power challenge.

Below are some examples of the conversations and discussion expected in a Facilities Infrastructure Workshop.

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Reduce CPU power consumption

Start from the hardware out. CPUs have a power-management feature that optimizes power consumption by dynamically switching among multiple performance states based on CPU utilization. This feature reduces power consumption when operating on low utilization with little effect on performance. 

Additionally, server virtualization and consolidation of lightly utilized servers will impact the power used and help to reduce the overall energy consumption.

Lastly, find zombie servers and/or other power-hungry underutilized hardware and turn it off.

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Reduce cooling dependencies

No matter how efficient the building is designed and built, the cooling will still account for a substantial amount of the energy consumption of a data center. Right sizing the cooling solution is an important step. Think about row-based cooling that can provide up to 30kW of capacity and fluctuate as the IT load changes.

Another viable option would be using variable-speed fans on all the cooling equipment. These fan types only consume energy when they run as opposed to the fixed speed fans which always consumes energy.

Liquid cooling is another option that can be used to cool CPUs instead of fans to reduce the power consumption and is growing in popularity. Just reducing CPU fan speed can be decrease power consumption by 20 percent overall. Hot/Cold aisle configuration, containment of rows and proper air flow management all help reduce the cooling demand and contribute to the reduction in power usage.

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Adjust ambient temperatures

Characteristically, modern servers can perform well with setpoints in the 70s degree Fahrenheit range. ASHRAE latest TC 9.9 standard provides a guide for higher allowable operating limits up to 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, most data centers operate their cooling setpoints closer to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. 

With close temperature and server monitoring raising the ambient temperature a few degrees, there could be an immediate drop in power usage from the cooling system without any effects on the IT hardware performance. If humidification is required, use energy efficient technologies such as misters, foggers and ultrasonic units.

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Optimize space and consolidate storage

Recently, storage has been a major driver of data center power consumption, so consolidate storage to improve utilization since larger disk drives are more efficient. 

Put hard drives into standby mode when they are not actively in use and consider replacing hard disk with SSDs where it makes sense. SSDs (Solid State Drive) typically consume far less power than disks and they deliver a greater number of I-OPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second).

In many cases 50% of all stored data could be deleted. The average enterprise disk volume contains millions of potential duplicated data objects. The primary way to stop runaway data growth is to stop data proliferation before it starts; keeping a handle on the volumes on data stored could help reduce power consumption.

Another example of the overall consolidation would be filling 20 racks at 10kW vs 40 racks at only 5kW.

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Move to the cloud

Moving IT workloads to the cloud or colocation provider can help optimize hardware resources, reduce energy, costs and footprint. Host sites could help drive down the carbon consumption, as many of these large vendors are better equipped to squeeze the most out of a kilowatt.

Now that we have captured your interest, would you like to start a conversation around power in your data center? WWT has a proven Facilities Infrastructure & Technology Practice (FIT) that can deliver a workshop to help uncover power waste and address some possible steps to energy reduction, cost savings and achieving business goals.

Please reach out to our FIT practice and schedule a workshop or briefing today.