Data Center Efficiencies Wait in the Wings

by | Jul 8, 2009

data-center2For companies looking to slash their carbon footprint and gain energy efficiencies, the IT data center is a logical first choice.

From re-evaluating the equipment in place to complete overhauls in server strategy, companies are looking to the IT department to take up the slack in an otherwise down economy.

Here are some areas to find savings within data centers.

Hardware reassessment

Taking a good, long look at a company’s actual needs, versus what kind of equipment is in place, can result in savings of 5-10 percent, according to research from Gartner Inc., reports Unnecessary or obsolete equipment can be eliminated.

Performing server “rationalization” can result in savings of $400 per server per year. Some of the newer chips are much more energy efficient and operate at higher tolerances for heat, allowing IT cold rooms to run a little warmer.


Using one server to run many workstations is a strategy that is finding favor in corporations, schools and various public settings.

In addition to less hardware, going to a virtualization strategy oftentimes means lower expenses for software, as well as increased control over when and how often individual workstations are powered down.

Heating up the data center

It’s counterintuitive to many IT managers to run a data center at temperatures as high as 24 degrees Celcius – or about 75 degrees Fahrenheit – but many of the newer server designs allow for equipment to run at higher temperatures.

Good hot-aisle/cold-aisle design can reduce cooling costs 30-40 percent, as well.

Implementing the strategy

To push through the necessary changes to create a more green or energy efficient IT department, there are several rules of thumb to keep in mind, according to IT World.

  1. Communicate green plans throughout the company and appoint an energy czar.
  2. Consolidate IT operations where possible, and virtualize as much as you can.
  3. Install energy efficient cooling units. It’s not just getting the room to the right temperature, but how much energy you take to do so.
  4. Measure and optimize. Know what effect you’re really having by using an outside auditor to check your progress. With the EPA working on green IT metrics, the job should get a little easier.
  5. Implement efficient applications and deduplicate data. Compressing data by 20 percent means 20 percent less data storage is necessary, meaning that a company can operate a leaner data center.

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