How to Improve Data Center Energy Usage

Credit: Switch


Data centers are notoriously energy intensive, but business can take many different measures to reduce such energy usage, including using a containment system, virtualizing servers and storage and simply turning off idle equipment.

According to research from the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), data centers already consume more than 3% of the world’s total electricity and generate 2% of our planet’s CO2 emissions.

But according to, using a containment system is one way to curb such usage. A containment system can help keep hot-running data centers cool by fixing air tiles into the cold aisle of the system. “Not only does this make the cooling more productive, it also raises return temperatures, allowing your computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units to operate more efficiently,” the site states.

Virtualization, or operating serves on one shared platform, can help data centers run more efficiently, save space, and reduce the number of power consuming servers, which is great for cost and for reducing energy waste. The last, most obvious yet least followed strategy to reduce energy use is to turn off idle IT equipment. IT systems are often used far less than capacity allows. Servers, for instance, tend to only be around 5-15% utilized, for PC’s 10-20%. As the site states, when these systems are left on but unused, they still consume a large amount of the power needed to keep them running at full capacity.

To remedy this, it’s important to make an assessment of the equipment used, how often it is used, and whether it could benefit from being powered down during quieter periods of its use.  It may be a minor action, but it’s the cheapest and easiest way to save energy and it can be actioned today.

Data center energy efficiency remains a hot topic for IT and energy managers. In January, Hulu announced it is in the process of migrating its data centers to a 100% renewable energy facility in Las Vegas operated by multi-tenant data center provider Switch. The video-on-demand company says the move will eliminate 265,000 carbon tons of emissions from the environment while powering millions of stable and secure streams a week.

In December 2017, data center manufacturer Flexenclosure announced it was building 20 prefabricated eCentre data centers that employ state-of-the-art technology and will be custom-designed and Uptime Institute Tier III certified. The base design will be standardized for all the new facilities, bringing significant operational efficiency benefits to Virtutel, particularly in the areas of power, cooling, UPS and ongoing management and maintenance.




The 3rd Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 15 – 17, 2018 in Denver. Learn more here.



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