By Rob Neave
Why European Data Centers Need a Code of Conduct
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Western European data center electricity consumption will rise to 104 TeraWatt Hours (TWh) per year by 2020, nearly double the level consumed in 2007, when the figure was approximately 56 TWh1. Such growth has been necessary to support widespread adoption of online services, but it clearly flies in the face of EU targets to reduce carbon emissions. Therefore, it is no surprise that formal initiatives have been introduced to curtail the industry’s demand for power.
While much of this growth in power consumption has been necessary to support increasing Internet use, inefficiencies within data centers have unnecessarily inflated this demand. This stems from the fact that many facilities rely on outdated design practices where only a fraction of the grid power consumed actually reaches the information technology (ITS) systems. Compounding this, many of these IT systems run at low utilization rates and include purpose-designed duplication and redundancy to ensure high availability with some in-house data centers utilizing just 5 to 10 percent of their computing capacity2. Although high levels of redundancy may guarantee performance, cut risk and underpin reliability, they also bring additional power and cooling costs.
Furthermore, in Europe, where demand often outstrips supply and organizations are particularly mindful of having enough capacity to support future business growth, data centers have traditionally been designed with large tolerances. These allow for operational or capacity changes, as well as future expansion. Such tolerances, along with the associated design flaws, exacerbate power consumption inefficiencies.
In the past, overprovisioning has seldom caused concerns for organizations. This is the result of energy costs being relatively small in comparison to the IT budget and because environmental responsibility has not fallen under the remit of the IT department. However, in the last few years, increasing emphasis on corporate social responsibility means that there is a real desire to “green” the data center. Rising energy costs also mean that it is now financially imperative to make operations as efficient as possible. According to IDC, approximately 40 percent of today’s data center costs are powerrelated; however, by 2015, this figure will exceed 50 percent3.Reprinted with permission from BICSI News Magazine September/October 2011. To view the article in its entirety, please visit: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bicsi/news_20110910/#/48
Energy savings is just one of the benefits of better data center management — but it is the hot topic that can trigger C-level executives’ interest in data center operations. Learn about the broad business implications of data center infrastructure management in this paper by CITO Research. Read more.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has estimated that approximately 50 percent of the power spent to run a data center is spent on cooling the equipment. Additionally, cooling problems have been touted a major contributing factor to IT capacity limitations, resulting in proposals for major renovations of legacy data centers or even building new data centers. Since data centers undergo frequent changes, it is safe to assume that many of these data centers do not have a clear understanding of how efficient and effective their cooling system is or whether the design of their cooling system is still suitable. Ill-conceived operational and infrastructure changes can lead to hot spots and suboptimal equipment layout while proper cooling would result in reduction of wasted energy and ensure higher reliability and availability. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates up to 30 percent improvement in the energy efficiency of data centers with proper cooling management. This will also extend the life of IT equipment and eliminate premature replacement of critical racks and servers. Understanding and measuring the efficiency of the data center cooling system in any snapshot of time — present or future — is vital for proper operation and modification of the data center.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Best Practices for Data Centers – Lessons Learned from Benchmarking 22 Data Centers, 2006.Excerpt from The DCIM Advisory feature article by Kamran Fouladi and Soheil “Sam” Negahbani, Energex Technologies. Check back later for more on this feature.
Day 1 at Gartner IT Summit in Las Vegas, yesterday, provided an array of interesting topics and statistics. The show was kicked off with a series of keynote addresses by Gartner analysts. In Joseph Baylock’s (GVP, Gartner) opening session he conducted a live electronic poll of the roughly 2,000 people in attendance and reported in real-time, that the #1 issue faced by the data center today is management of power, cooling and space. Despite the hype in the industry, this was ahead of people who were concerned about cloud-based initiatives which sat at just 16%.
This was followed up by Dave Cappuccio (VP & Chief of Research, Gartner) laying out the top 10 trends to watch:
1. Virtualization is Just Beginning
2. Big Data is on the Rise
3. Energy Efficiency
4. Unified Communications and Collaboration
5. Workforce Development and Retention
6. Social Networking
7. Migrations for Windows and Microsoft Office
8. Data Center Density
9. Cloud Computing
10. Fabric Convergence
One of these trends that caught our eye was Energy Efficiency & Monitoring. He mentioned that data centers today consume 40 to 100 times more energy than the offices they support and that consequently monitoring and reporting on energy consumption will become expected by 2012. Data center professionals will have to adapt to the changing environments and incorporate a solution to optimally manage their power, cooling and space requirements.
The day proceeded with a host of breakout sessions, vender expo and the day’s closing remarks. Day 1 provided data center professionals with an array of interesting topics to consider regarding their data centers and we are back at Caesar’s Palace for day 2.