Industry guidelines to lower data center power consumption
Friday, Dec 27th 2013

Experts have estimated that data centers utilize as much as 1.5 percent of the world's energy. According to Time Magazine contributor Bryan Walsh, the electricity consumed by a typical data center is equivalent to the power needed for 180,000 homes. This illustrates the large electricity share utilized by the world's data centers, as well as the rising need to lower these figures.

An increasing number of data center designers and operators have taken steps to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities, and decrease the amount of electricity needed to power the structures. These efforts can always be improved upon, so managers should consider implementing the following practices into their strategies for lowering energy consumption.

Gauge current levels for quantification
Before operators can boast about their improved electricity usage, they must be able to back up these statements with quantifiable evidence. Prior to deploying new practices, individuals should measure their current consumption level by performing an energy usage benchmark, advised the University of Michigan. Workers can utilize the power usage efficiency formula to help guide their efforts. Using this measurement, the company gets a realistic picture of its power consumption.

To get a more comprehensive view, data center employees can also measure the electricity used by certain equipment, including servers. Data Center Knowledge contributor Clemens Pfeiffer advised taking these measurements under the server's various power loads. In this way, operators are aware of the range of consumption and can work to lower it.

Lower server power consumption
Pfeiffer also recommended consolidating as many servers as possible to decrease the overall power usage in the server room. Operators can check the actual workload of machines and ensure that they are using as much as possible on single arrangements. Servers that have a lower actual load can be consolidated and combined, which can lead to significant savings. AOL, for example, recently decommissioned one fourth of its total servers, saving a total of $5 million, according to Pfeiffer.

Utilize temperature monitoring systems
One of the best strategies to improve power consumption is to implement temperature monitoring technology to track the amount of energy used by cooling systems. This technology provides the means to operate data centers at specific higher server room temperatures while ensuring that equipment doesn't overheat. Furthermore, with a high temperature alarm in place, key employees can be notified if the data center temperature rises above the programmed range.