Published on May 12th, 2014 | by Guest


Designing for Data Center Efficiency

Making your data center more energy efficient can help the environment and your bottom line. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some tips:

Keep an Eye on Your PUE

PUE stands for power usage effectiveness. You can measure the PUE of your data center with the following equation:

PUE = Facility energy usage/IT equipment energy usage

The closer your PUE is to 1.0, the closer your data center is to ideal efficiency (i.e., the smaller the number, the better). This is because you want most of your energy to actually go toward running the equipment rather than cooling the building, lights, or other energy drains.

To make sure your energy efforts are being put to good use, it’s a good idea to measure this number every few months—especially after you make a major change like adding more servers.

Watch for Hot Spots

Computer modeling and the liberal use of temperature sensors can help you identify hot spots and inefficiencies to address. If you notice any one area of the data center that’s hotter than the air surrounding it, try to identify why and take measures to correct it.

More Best Practices

  • Optimized equipment – Modern, high-performance servers get the most computing out of each unit, which can reduce the number of physical servers that need to be housed and cooled.
  • Virtualization – Implementing server virtualization reduces the number of servers you need—and in many cases can cut energy needs by half or more.
  • Separation of hot and cold – The intermingling of hot and cool air defeats the airflow management that is going to keep your machines in their optimal operating range. Filling blank slots in and around your racks will help maintain the separation of your hot and cold aisles.
  • Turn up the heat – It isn’t necessary to keep your data center cold. With proper airflow, you can maintain your data center at around 80 degrees.
  • Turn out the lights – Motion sensor lighting reduces electricity directly—by not powering the lighting—and indirectly—by not adding heat to the room.
  • Use what’s around you – Use thermal reservoirs and the outside air to reduce the need to manually cool the air you pump into the data center.

What are you doing to make your data center more efficient?


Author bio:
Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors.

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