Making Data Centers Energy Efficient
The data center is an ecosystem. A judicious blend of technologies blends together to create a successful one
According to U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), it says, “Data centers consume large amounts of energy to run and maintain their computer systems, servers, and associated highperformance components—up to 3% of all U.S. electricity powers data centers. Data centers can become more energy efficient by incorporating features like powersaving “stand-by” modes, energy monitoring software, and efficient cooling systems. These efficiency improvements can produce significant energy savings, reduce the load on the electric grid, and help protect the nation.
PRIORITIZING ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Industry experts do agree. Ravi Raj, Brand Head, Director Sales & Support at NetRack Enclosures says, “As data center is the backbone of any organization and it requires a lot of attention while choosing the right set of components to build a cost-effective and future-proof infrastructure. According to Gartner, approximately 10% of data center operating expenditure (OPEX) is power, and power is likely to be about 15% of data center OPEX within five years.”
Clearly, the data center is an ecosystem. A judicious blend of technologies blends together to create a suc- cessful one. Reflecting on that M Muthukumar, VP, Engineering, India & SAARC, Juniper Networks, IEC says, “Optimal and efficient utilization of the compute and storage resources and network infrastructure are key to energy efficiency. Instead of dedicated and over-provisioning of resources a shared underlay infrastructure with virtualization technology enables the most value per unit of investment. Network infrastructure vendors need to drive green technologies to drive “watt per bit” as a key parameter in their architecture and design.”
Experts agree that design, engineering, and planning play very important roles as data center infrastructure needs to be more granular and modular. This starts from the site selection process as climate zone of the location plays an important role in ensuring energy efficiency. The right planning not only defers capital expenditure but also improves energy efficiency by higher space and power utilization. Hence, white space capacity planning becomes extremely critical to maintain the right balance and avoid over-provisioning.
Moreover one needs to drill down to Electro-Mechanical (MEP) system level and component level efficiency parameters. Putting this thought in the backdrop, Prasanna Sarambale, CEO – Data Center Business and Head – Group BD, Sterling and Wilson says, “Depending on
the IT load per rack, Cooling in data centers accounts for major overheads in terms of energy consumption making it the prime focus during Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) of the physical infrastructure. American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and AirConditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) TC 9.9 ((the technical committee focused on data centers) provides a good insight in terms of environmental conditions that need to be maintained in a data center area. ASHRAE has also brought industry benchmarks in terms of energy performance for physical infrastructures, ensuring that data centers comply with a certain standard with respect to their heat load energy consumption.”
“Finally, one of the most important elements - the Power Utilization efficiency (PUE) of a data center facility, depends on how the entire plant is operated and maintained on a 24x7 basis. Considering these critical aspects, it is imperative to partner with a data center EPC company that can design, plan, implement and operate the data center efficiently throughout its life cycle,” adds Sarambale.
IT’S ALL IN THE DESIGN
At the end of the day, the creation of an energy efficient data center lies in a successful design that takes into con- sideration whole lot of aspects needed for successful delivery of computing resources. As Muthukumar sums up, “Massive scale, the simplicity of provisioning and operation are the fundamental design principles of data centers, while resiliency, security, and elastic capacity guide the design from a service offering point of view. All of this leads to the tenet of a data center is “one large computer” while there are physically discrete resources - CPU, memory, and Network. Orchestrating dynamic workloads across physical resources and steering data via the interconnecting network in the most optimal fashion is where SDN technologies play a key role. There are several examples where an entire enterprise data center can be bootstrapped over a public cloud in a matter of hours as against several days and months consisting of design, procurement, installation, and Go-Live.”