Data centers are becoming a top IT infrastructure investment for businesses, as organizations are relying heavily on cloud storage, cloud computing, and colocation services to improve their efficiency. Data centers help business owners secure sensitive information and provide scalability solutions.

Though data centers may help business continuity, maintaining one requires a lot of energy. In the United States, approximately 2 percent of the nation’s electrical usage is because of data centers. To help cut down on energy cost and increase efficiency, here are effective energy-saving tips for data centers:

 

  1. Hot aisle/cold aisle

Servers in data centers should be oriented in such a way that the front of the servers (where cold air is taken in) face each other. Having this kind of orientation creates an alternating hot and cold aisle server racks that utilize energy.

 

  1. Containment

Implementing a hot aisle/cold aisle configuration is not enough to ensure that warm and cool air do not mix. You can further eliminate the risk of air mixing by installing various physical barriers.

Think of it as the transparent glass in supermarket refrigerators. It prevents hot air from melting the goods. Hot aisle containment can help you increase energy efficiency.

 

  1. Variable speed fan drives (VSDs)

Like any IT infrastructure, say laptop or smartphone, if the equipment gets too hot, the system could crash or overheat. You can use variable speed fan drives to ensure all equipment do not overheat or install a computer room air conditioners (CRACs).

 

  1. Airflow management devices

Server rack configuration and fan drives are just among the things you can do to ensure your data center runs efficiently. You can also look into airflow management devices like panels or floor grommets.

Blank panels can be used to fill up unused rack spaces so that hot air does not flow directly into the cold aisle. Another device you can look into is floor grommets, which can improve efficiency by sealing open areas where cable centers and exit plenums are installed (such as raised floor).

 

  1. Turn off idle IT equipment

IT equipment uses utilizes different energy percentages. Servers are usually used by 5 to 15 percent while PCs are utilized on an average of 10 to 20 percent.

To help increase efficiency and energy, identify underutilized IT equipment and just turn them off. You can also eliminate “bloatware” which pertains to ineffective software that uses excessive CPU cycles.

 

  1. Use IT equipment with high-efficiency power supplies

Next to the CPU, the biggest culprit in power consumption is the power supply unit (PSU), which converts incoming alternative current (AC) power to direct current (DC) and requires approximately 25 percent of the server’s power budget.

Another efficient power supply you can use are the point-of-load voltage regulators (VRs) that convert any 12 DC into various DC voltages required by processors or chipsets. In a nutshell, if the power supply unit is efficient, the rest of the equipment will follow.

 

  1. Adopt best practices for cooling

About 30 to 60 percent of a data center’s utility bill is attributed to cooling systems. Many computer room cooling systems are inefficiently implemented—resulting in a higher energy consumption. Deploy best cooling practices to ensure you are utilizing the servers efficiently.

 

  1. Conduct an energy audit

A handful of data center managers may not realize how inefficient they are running the IT infrastructure. Data center management looks into the power budget that goes into the system, as well as how much is needed to maintain the data center.

Make it a practice to evaluate how much every kilowatt-per-hour is consumed to ensure you are not wasting a lot of money maintaining the servers.

 

  1. Adjust the thermostat

It is a common myth that data centers need to be kept at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, every equipment manufacturer will advise you to run cold aisle at 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

 

Practicing energy-saving tips can help you in data center management. It can also help you create a data center that provides cost-effective and scalable solutions.

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