Data centers look beyond cost to benefit server functionality
Monday, Sep 30th 2013

Data centers are an extremely important part of many organizations, but there is always the question of how to prepare for extreme weather conditions while also remaining cost effective. In some cases, data centers have closed down due to financial strains. More planning has to be involved in order to fully meet computing needs as well as the initiatives for efficient energy use.

For organizations that are in areas that receive a lot of bad weather like earthquakes, monsoons and tornadoes, many data centers have to meet these challenges with techniques to keep the center going even if it's not physically standing. For example, an old Japanese coal mine houses 250 servers that can handle an earthquake of 6.7 on the Richter scale, according to Silicon Angle. In many cases, these facilities must prepare extensively in order to take on the harshest of elements by constantly backing up data and utilizing virtualization and colocation solutions. With all different environments, the hardware could use temperature monitoring in order to ensure that the conditions are optimal for server functionality.

"Do the incentives being offered by the Midwestern states offset the extra structural costs to build a data center that will withstand an F5 tornado?" Ron Vokoun, Mission Critical Market Leader, Western Region at JE Dunn Construction, told the news source. "In many cases they do.  It's all about analyzing risk and TCO to make an informed business decision."

Bettering center functionality
While the weather-proofing may cost considerably more for organizations, cost savings for some data centers means closing them entirely in order to consolidate them. However, there must be other benefits to combining centers than having fewer expenses. According to a 2013 survey by MeriTalk, 60 percent of respondents saw better use of IT staff. Other benefits included improved use of technology and less energy consumption, driving the effort for more environmentally friendly practices. With environmental control systems, organizations can realize the significant cost savings they are looking for while also using less power in the process with a good server room design.

"Moving to a shared environment where multiple tenant applications use the same infrastructure, server, storage, networking and software in a secure manner reduces an agency's real estate footprint costs by closing centers and reducing the hardware and software infrastructure that is required," according to Federal Times.

It is critical to keep servers in the appropriate environment, no matter the facility. Through preparing for extreme weather conditions and utilizing consolidation, the data center will be able to realize numerous benefits from the energy-efficient efforts.