Need another reason to hop on the green data center bandwagon? Ahead of its Data Center & IT Operations Summit, research firm Gartner predicts that employing energy efficient data center strategies will have a dramatic impact on how businesses accommodate IT growth. The advice couldn’t come at a better time since companies are currently rushing to meet the explosive demand of web- and cloud-enabled services.
Gartner states that “data centers will be able to provide a 300 percent growth in capacity in 60 percent less space than existing data centers” if they prescribe to trends that are making data center more efficient to operate. Some of those measures, according to a company press release, include:
1) Implementing row- and rack-based cooling for higher-density equipment can reduce energy consumption by up to 15 percent while making the data center more scalable.
2) Rightsizing the new data center by building and provisioning only what is needed — and then expanding only when needed — can reduce the long-term operating expenses by 10 to 30 percent.
3) Using air economizers in certain geographies is a simple step with sizable rewards. Gartner said that many data centers actually have air handlers with economizer modes on existing equipment but have it disabled from the early years when energy was not the issue it is today.
4) Paying particular attention to floor layouts, not only with respect to hot aisle/cold aisle factors, but with regard to overall air movement (distance) to reduce workloads on your air handling equipment.
5) Virtualize as much as possible — especially on x86 equipment. The average x86 server has very low utilization levels but requires a high degree of its maximum power to run. Push these systems to higher utilization levels to reduce overall energy consumption, reduce floor space and see more-efficient use of your IT assets.
The beauty of these recommendations is that these technologies exists today, and they’re only growing in popularity. Take, for instance, Web hosting provider GalaxyVision. Its Brooklyn-based data center — a tough region to set up shop for IT-intensive firms — is taking advantage of the chill that’s descending on the area (I can personally attest) to save energy and money by using filtered outside air to cool its equipment.
And virtualization is currently helping many a data center operator combat a situation that Gartner’s Dave Cappuccio, chief of infrastructure research, is common in the industry. He states that “most IT assets are underutilized — for example, x86 servers are running at 12 percent utilization.” Moreover, for an industry still smarting from the “Great Recession,” these strategies could help companies stretch their data center budgets in the here and now, without committing to costly new construction.
It turns out that the greenest data center could be the one that you never have to build. And these days, that’s a compelling message indeed.
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