As you learned in Part 1 of this post, containment/enclosures, automation and VFDs, and energy-smart cooling are all tried-and-true methods of slashing energy consumption in the data center. To expand on this topic further, we’ll dive into the benefits of server virtualization, more energy-efficient servers, and smarter storage. (Grab a coffee and pull up a chair.)
1. Server Virtualization
According to ENERGY STAR®, studies show that 8-10% of servers with no use are still running.
That’s especially true after taking testing/development, staging, and disaster recovery into account. But the one-workload, one-box approach is a huge efficiency drain, with some servers puttering away at less than five percent utilization.
Server virtualization improves scalability, slashes downtime, and speeds up deployments. By ramping up processing power onto fewer servers functioning at higher total utilization, a data center can:
- Dramatically reduce its server count
- Cut down on electricity
- Reduce “waste heat”
According to the Uptime Institute, decommissioning a single 1U rack server results in savings of $1,500 in hardware costs, $500 in operating system licences, and $500 in energy, for a total of $2,500 in annual savings.
Data Center Knowledge magazine estimates that Amazon Web Services uses around 7,100 racks. If 8-10 percent are no longer functioning, that’s 568-710 servers with no use. Decommissioning these servers would drum up around $1.42 million in annual savings. To offset costs further, some utility companies offer rebates for virtualization projects.
2. Energy-Efficient Servers
EPA, HP, and Microsoft found that newer ENERGY STAR servers typically consumed 54 percent less power vs. older servers.
These savings are due to the fact that newer servers typically use more energy-efficient technology, such as:
- More efficient power supplies
- Better DC voltage battery regulators
- Processors that use less power
- More energy-efficient cooling fans
- Power-saving technology that reduces the processor’s clock rate and voltage when idle
- The latest and greatest operating systems, which deliver optimal power efficiency for workloads running on the server
The annual energy savings from an ENERGY STAR server can range from $60 (50 percent utilization) to $120 (idle). That’s $240-$480 in total savings over the useful life of a server, which is about four years.
3. Smarter Storage
According to a 2012 Information Week survey, over half of 300 IT professionals said their annual growth rate for storage was between 10-24%.
In other words: The need for data storage is growing substantially. To save on energy, using less storage and adopting better data storage practices is key. When it comes to storage equipment that uses less energy, there are a number of options:
1. Lower-Speed Drives—Power use is directly related to the disc-spin speed. To slash energy usage, look for slower drives (e.g., 7.5 K rpm SATA drives) to suit the task at hand.
2. Massive Array of Idle Discs (MAID)—No, it’s not the person who cleans your home. More energy efficient than older systems, MAID is a good option for data accessed infrequently (tier 3 storage). By shutting down idle disks, then restarting them only when an application needs to access the data, MAID saves power.
3. Solid State Drives (SSDs)—Because of read speeds that are world’s faster than hard discs, energy-saving, solid-state storage is becoming a viable option in many data centers. SSDs are well-suited for low-write/high-read applications, but aren’t ideal for high-write applications, like email and databases.
Over To You
As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd’s goal is to find the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.
Sources & Credits
Energy Star: 12 Ways To Save Energy In The Data Center
The Uptime Institute
Schneider Electric: 4 Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption in Any Data Center
Jonathan Koomey: My new study of data center electricity use in 2010
Energy Manager Today: Data Center Energy Best Practices: Maximize Efficiency, Increase Savings