The Shortcut Guide to Data Center Energy Efficiency

by David Chernicoff


Virtualization and commitments to green IT initiatives are changing the way that data centers operate. By utilizing new technologies, repurposing existing equipment, and matching power and cooling supply to actual data center demand, IT will receive maximum benefit in the form of greater data center energy efficiency and decreased power and cooling costs.

The Shortcut Guide to Data Center Energy Efficiency offers insight on building a data center infrastructure that matches data center power and cooling demands in a way that optimizes operational efficiency while meeting the IT business and computing needs. This eBook will show you methods for minimizing the cost of your operating data center, and lays out a set of specific best practices and considerations for upgrading a production data center.


Chapter 1: Impact of Virtualization on Data Center Power and Cooling

Virtualization is one of the base technologies driving IT planning. With the clear benefits that virtualization technologies bring to the data center, the impact that virtualized environments have on the overall power consumption and cooling capacity currently present in most data centers is often overlooked. Optimizing the physical infrastructure that provides power and cooling to the data center, to work in concert with the deployment of virtualized environments, is critical to allowing the business to reap full benefit from virtualization. The first chapter of this eBook takes a look at how this optimization should take place, and goes on to discuss different models for measuring and benchmarking data center energy efficiency, such as Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) and Data Center infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE). Lastly, this chapter discusses how data center design can address many of the potential availability issues.

Chapter 2: Best Practices for Data Center Design

Building an energy‐efficient data center doesn’t happen by accident—even with the adoption of the latest hardware featuring energy‐efficient design, maintenance of a "green" perspective when making your purchasing decisions, and ongoing awareness of the economic benefits of energy efficiency. To develop a data center that maximizes the energy efficiency of the facility, from the ground up, an organization must consider design and implementation issues of the data center infrastructure as well as the components installed within.

Chapter 2 offers a high-level view of the techniques and technologies that need to be at the top of the list when new data center designs are being planned and older data centers are being refurbished and re-commissioned. Technology changes in the data center are not limited to IT load—new technologies can be implemented to improve cooling and power delivery as well as the energy efficiency of the new data center.

Chapter 3: Free, or Nearly Free, Things to Do in an Operating Data Center

In an average data center, several steps can be taken to improve the cooling and operational efficiency of the data center. In the past, the data center was considered a single entity. This meant that cooling and energy delivery systems treated the data center as if conditions were equivalent throughout the space. The reality is that in most data centers, a number of different types of activities are being performed by the equipment that results in very specific sets of conditions. By grouping these different sets of activities by their need for power and cooling, it is possible to more efficiently deliver both services to the locations and systems within the data center that most need the support.

By understanding the conditions within your data center, it is possible to find efficiencies in the delivery of power and cooling that can be achieved using the existing infrastructure and making organizational or minor physical changes to the data center itself. Doing so, you will be able to optimize the delivery of power and cooling services to devices within, on a limited budget.

Chapter 4: Strategies for Upgrading a Production Data Center

With an existing data center, there is ongoing pressure to maintain an environment that is cost effective and productive. As technologies evolve and external factors affect the costs of doing business, IT executives have to stay on top of the technologies that can make their existing facilities as efficient as possible. Understanding these technologies and how they can impact the efficiencies of your data center provides a firm foundation for making choices about the future of your data center infrastructure.

As we have stated in early chapters, there are both technological and organizational efforts that can be applied to make an existing data center more energy efficient. The tasks involved in upgrading your data center fall into two general categories; those involved with the actual physical environment, such as layout, power, and cooling, and those that focus on the overall process, such as meeting best practice standards and management. This chapter will focus on both of these categories and their underlying tasks.