With increased demands on your storage capacity and operating hours, how efficient is your data center? Data center energy issues can drive up operating costs, cutting into profits. Review your data center’s energy consumption to look for opportunities – including updating your UPS – to cut back expenses.
Advances in communications technology make the world feel like a smaller place every day. Our collective need to stay connected has led to unprecedented reliance on our connected devices in both our work and personal lives. Which in turn has led to increased demand for data storage and mobility.
As you consider your data center requirements to keep up – it’s important to review your data center’s energy consumption as well to look for ways to be more energy efficient.
We’ve outlined a few key culprits of high-energy use below to help identify problem areas.
More companies are pushing an increasing share of their transactions skyward, driving up the volume of cloud-based enterprise activities. This has led them to scale back their physical square footage for IT. This shift in data processing load from enterprise-based facilities to off-site data centers and colos (colocation facilities) has also led to more servers packed into data centers and increased energy consumption because of it:
Together, a high degree of redundancy coupled with high density translates into higher demand for power. The resulting higher energy costs from these three understandably get the attention of the data center owner/operator and likely make energy efficiency his top priority in an effort to reduce the electric bill for his data center.
One possible solution to reduce energy consumption concerns the use of high voltage DC power to energize data centers.
Since the bulk of the electrical infrastructure (servers, storage devices, battery backup for UPS systems, and other IT related equipment) requires DC power, it stands to reason that a shift to DC power has merit. Several studies have been conducted exploring the viability of this option, but safety remains a concern, as it may expose data center staff to voltages with which they are not experienced.
Additionally, there are other systems present in a data center such as lighting, security systems, and cooling that rely on an AC power source. This, coupled with the fact that data centers are now almost exclusively fueled by the existing AC power grid, make high voltage DC power unlikely at this point in time.
As noted above, increased server and power densities drive increased cooling requirements that also take up power. That’s why greater emphasis has been placed on developing new cooling strategies to effectively combat the increased heat generation and decrease data center energy consumption. Previously, CRAC (Computer Room Air Conditioning) units were positioned around the perimeter of a data center and blew air indiscriminately at a constant rate into an open room.
Recent years have seen efforts to “contain” and isolate hot and cold air flows:
For those operators who have the time and resources available, installing monitoring hardware and software known collectively as Data Center Infrastructure Management, or DCIM, may be of interest. The installation of thermal sensors and constant monitoring will reveal hot spots and potential vulnerabilities of equipment currently in place as well as gain insights into the overall efficiency of the data center’s operation. From there, you can respond to your most common culprits of data center energy consumption.
As one of the core components of mission critical infrastructure in a data center, UPS systems are often viewed as one of the biggest culprits of energy loss in power distribution. The larger loads commonly found in data centers make it necessary to install larger UPS systems to support those loads.
It is no wonder, then, that there has been increased interest in utilizing the most energy-efficient UPS system available.