Managing the Modern Data Center

by Ravi Raj, Brand Head, Netrack    Nov 04, 2015

ravi raj

In the past few years, we have witnessed a shift in issues faced at modern data centers. Earlier, it was enough to ensure business continuity and security of data. In an age of cloud and ‘everything-as-a-service’, a big data center is considered as an added concern as it consumes more electricity. Let’s not forget the environmental impact associated with excessive power consumption. The budget-conscious data center managers now have a new set of issues to deal with. Today, we are all trying to make our data centers green.

Data center operators are constantly exploring ways to cut down costs. Power management techniques provide major opportunities to add business value by reducing operational costs. One must identify and monitor all energy-consuming components before addressing this issue. By utilizing the right tools, enterprises can overcome the biggest challenges associated with energy consumption.

To minimize an enterprise’s energy consumption at data centers, one can consider the following factors and design a plan accordingly:

Usage of Lower Power Processors:

Data center managers can ensure that servers run lower power processors. Low voltage versions of the processor will enhance performance and have a tendency to achieve an estimated 10 percent reduction in total data center power consumption. These power management technologies will further increase data center energy efficiency as they are interdependent on each other.

Measure Your PUE:

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is one of the metrics used for measuring datacenter efficiency. Your data center PUE provides insights into your efficiency efforts. Generally, PUE compares power consumption of the entire facility with the power consumed by IT equipment like servers and storage equipment. Also, with a fixed cooling infrastructure, upgrading your IT equipment will further lower power consumption and make your PUE go up.

Balancing the servers:

IT managers should focus on balancing between density of servers and other equipment. In addition, they must consider availability of power, cooling and space in data centers. If the server environment is dense, it utilizes more electricity to power and cool the space. For example, it takes 60 to 100 watts of power per square foot to operate legacy minicomputers or full racks of 3-5U servers. The same space filled with smaller 1U servers requires at least 200 watts per square foot, and the latest blade servers require as much as 400 watts per square foot.

Hot/Cold Aisles:

Every data center must utilize hot/cold aisle containment to decrease cooling requirements, which will further enhance the air flow within the racks. The hot-aisle and cold-aisle layout in data centers has become a standard. If warm air is allowed to mix with the server inlet air, the air supplied by the air conditioning system must be supplied at an even colder supply temperature to compensate. Lower cooling air supply temperatures cause increased energy consumption and limit the cooling capacity of the data center by creating hot spots.

Integrated Approach to Power Management:

Power management needs to be integrated directly into capacity and performance management. The integrated approach helps organizations to address unique business needs while increasing power efficiency, ensuring availability and reducing cost of deployment.

High-Efficiency Power Supplies:

If the efficiency of power supply is high, you lose less energy in conversion from the wall socket to the IT resource. Power supplies are, by default, typically sized by manufacturers to accommodate maximized server configurations. It is important to understand actual load requirements prior to purchase so that optimally configured systems are deployed. This will accurately manage the power management.

The emphasis on power management and energy foot print is only going to grow over the years. This is where having the right management model for your cloud data center is crucial.