Top 12 Ways to Decrease the Energy Consumption of Your Data Center

11/01/2014 |

Easy steps to cut your data center's energy consumption down to size

Use these ENERGY STAR tips for a smarter, more efficient data center.

  1. Virtualize your servers. Avoid a one-workload, one-box approach by consolidating multiple workload types on one host server.
  2. Decommission your comatose servers. Some 15% to 30% of the equipment running in data centers consumes electricity without doing any computing. Remove obsolete servers.
  3. Consolidate your lightly used servers. A typical server’s utilization is about 5% to 15% yet it draws full power.
  4. Organize and improve your stored data. Storage utilization averages only around 30%. It is common for organizations to have 20 or more copies of the same data, wasting storage space.
  5. Invest in technologies that use energy more efficiently. An ENERGY STAR-qualified server uses 30% less energy than a conventional server.
  6. Take advantage of the hot aisle/cold aisle layout. Try arranging servers so the fronts of server racks face each other and, therefore, the backs of the server racks face each other. This arrangement reduces mixing of hot and cold air to improve efficiency.
  7. Contain or enclose your server racks to further reduce mixing cold supply with hot exhaust air. Use flexible strip curtains or rigid enclosures.
  8. Review general airflow improvement tips. Install blanking panels to decrease server inlet air temperatures and increase the temperature of air returning to the CRAC, both of which improve operational efficiency. Use structured cabling to avoid restricting air flow to your servers. Install grommets to seal areas where cables enter and exit plenums (such as a raised floor). Less leakage helps direct more cold air to the equipment that needs cooling. A professional airflow assessment can help to improve cooling efficiency.
  9. Adjust the temperature and humidity in your data center. In 2008, ASHRAE revised recommended temperature and humidity ranges at the inlet of the server. However, many data centers keep very tight controls on humididity and set their temperatures as low as 55°F when the recommended range is 65°F to 80°F. Data centers can save 4% to 5% in energy costs for every 1°F increase in server inlet temperature.
  10. Retrofit your air conditioning with variable speed fan drives that adjust fan speed to accommodate changing cooling loads in your data center. Retrofit kits for CRACs have a two-year payback.
  11. Install an air-side economizer that brings outside cooling air into a building. Because data centers must be cooled 24/7/365, air-side economizers may even make sense in hot climates where they can take advantage of cooler evenings and winter air temperatures to save 60% on cooling.
  12. Install a water-side economizer. Use the evaporative cooling capacity of a cooling tower to produce chilled water during the winter months. During water-side economizer operation, costs of a chilled water plant are reduced by up to 70%.

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