Running a data center is expensive. The cost of equipment, infrastructure, and personnel add up quickly and can make running a data center losing proposition for an organization. That’s why it is important to operate efficiently and eliminate unnecessary expenses wherever possible. Here are five key areas that data centers can address to keep operating expenses in-line:
Doing Things Manually
If your staff performs record keeping via Excel® spreadsheets, they may be spending hundreds of man hours per year on tasks that can easily be automated. Time that is better spent improving service offerings and making strategic decisions for the data center. DCIM software offers workflow management tools that help coordinate adds, moves, and changes. DCIM can also help with the auditing process by automatically keeping an inventory of all equipment and where it is located. Having accurate records allows technicians to work much more efficiently which translates into operational savings.
The 2014 Data Center Efficiency Assessment report by the NRDC found that the average server operates at only 12-18% capacity. That means that you might be able to unplug four out of five servers in your data center, and run your services out of the one. But, it’s hard to know which servers are underutilized unless you are metering their power draw. Once you have that information, a DCIM tool can help you identify servers that are good candidates for consolidation or decommissioning. It can even help you to power off servers in non-production environments when they’re not in use.
When data centers run out of room a lot of big decisions need to be made: Do you move services to a public cloud? Do you move to a colo provider? Or do you build a new facility? But, many data centers may not even realize that they may have hidden or underutilized power, cooling, and space that they are unaware of. A DCIM solution can monitor power and environment trends overtime to reveal areas where new equipment can be safely provisioned to. If there’s adequate capacity available in an existing facility, then there’s no need to pay for outside resources or undertake a new facility project.
According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2013 report on the Cost of Data Center Outages, the average cost of downtime was a staggering $7,908 per minute. Most outages were caused by IT equipment failure, UPS system failure, water incursion, generator failure, and human error. DCIM helps to prevent these types of incidents. By monitoring building meters, UPSs, Floor PDUs, RPPs, busways, intelligent rack PDU’s, Branch Circuits, and CRACS, a DCIM solution can alert data centers to impending problems. Meanwhile, the centralized database identifies dependencies to enable faster troubleshooting and limit downtime.
Energy Intensive Cooling
Data centers consume vast amounts of energy and generate lots of heat. To offset that heat, more energy is used for cooling. But, there are several practical strategies that improve energy efficiency. For instance, DCIM can help data centers to identify areas where temperature set points can be raised according to ASHRAE® guidelines. According to Gartner’s 2013 Top 10 Techniques to Improve Data Center Cooling Efficiency, data centers can save up to 3% on their current energy bill for each degree Fahrenheit they raise the thermostat.
In closing, operating a data center comes with many costs – some hidden, and some that are overt. It is important to take measures that identify and address wasteful unnecessary spending across key areas of operation. Investing in DCIM solution and aligning data center operations will help to identify areas for improvement, and offset costs, increase efficiency, and eliminate waste from your operating budget.