Data center optimization strategies
Wednesday, Jan 22nd 2014

When data centers are optimized for best-in-class performance and functionality, the operating organization sees a number of different benefits and can pass these advantages on to their customers. However, when administrators first decide to optimize a facility, it can leave them with a number of questions: How can systems be improved for efficiency and cost effectiveness? What components need to be replaced and which can be retained? Where should efforts begin? To help decision makers tackle these important considerations, here are a few tips to streamline data center optimization:

Physical space
One of the first things data center operators can look at when it comes to optimizing the facility is the use of physical space. According to a reference guide from CDWG, these efforts usually involve consolidating systems to take advantage of existing floor and vertical space. This practice can help organizations make the most of the data centers they have. If administrators and employees can consolidate to the point that they no longer need a facility, this is a good sign and can lead to lower operating costs.

"If there are too many data centers (no matter their size) supporting the organization, they add unnecessary cost, chip away at manageability and lead to power inefficiencies," stated CDWG. "Plus small 'vampire' facilities that suck power needlessly tie up inventory and cash that could be pumped back into the IT organization."

Power usage
In addition to consolidating systems for improved power consumption, companies can also look to construct new facilities or migrate to different climates. Data Center Knowledge contributor Bill Kleyman noted that moving facilities to cooler climates is a growing trend in the industry. For example, a number of businesses have constructed data centers in Iceland, not only due to its cool climate, but also because of its unique power grid. The country utilizes hydro-electric and geothermal power to create a completely green power supply.

These efforts can also extend to the cooling system. A number of businesses have taken a cool climate approach to building data centers to allow the facility to rely less on its internal cooling system. However, all structures can benefit from temperature monitoring technology whether they are in a chilly environment or not. These systems allow operators to preset a target zone for the data center temperature. This prevents IT equipment from overheating while ensuring that cooling systems do not consume unnecessary electricity.

Utilize the cloud
CDWG noted that many organizations are adopting external hosted cloud strategies to optimize processes in their facilities. Applications that do not need to be hosted on the premises, like email, for example, can be migrated to the cloud to allow workers to focus on other mission-critical internal processes.

This practice can also include internal clouds to provide added flexibility and streamline data center processes. These solutions can support a range of services and capabilities and offer scalability not previously seen within data center facilities.

"Internal cloud strategies force a rethinking of hardware architectures, utilizing consolidated, converged or data-center-in-a-box approaches," CDWG stated.

However, the cloud should only be adopted when it provides certain benefits to the data center facility. This is one instance in which operators need to take a close look at current processes and research available cloud models to ensure that implementation will be successful.