Keeping an eye on data center energy consumption is one of the most difficult tasks of maintaining data centers today. Organizations are facing never-ending requests for IT resource capacity to store and process the data and applications required for innovative technologies like big data, IoT, AI, and machine learning. As a result, modern data center environments are becoming increasingly complex and dense.
Today’s data center teams are being tasked to be more efficient with fewer resources, including energy and cooling. But how can data center managers maintain a safe environment for their intelligent PDUs, UPSs, and other hardware equipment while also keeping costs low?
That’s where modern Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software can make a difference. Let’s look at how organizations can benefit from more efficient data center operations and how data center software tools can make it faster and easier for them to drive efficiency in their own environments.
What Are the Benefits of Data Center Energy Efficiency?
Reducing data center energy consumption isn’t just about going green; it’s also critical for smarter, more effective data center management. Driving data center energy efficiency can help with the following:
- Reducing costs. Although newer intelligent PDUs and other hardware tend to require less power for operation, energy-efficient data center management practices help you save even more on power and cooling. Additionally, understanding energy trends can help you identify power hogs and decommission ghost servers so you can maximize the value of your existing data center capacity instead of purchasing additional resources. Reporting on data center energy consumption also allows you to track what you spend and charge customers for what they use to recoup costs.
- Maintaining uptime. Managing data center energy consumption can help you ensure a safe environment for your IT equipment. Operating within ASHRAE- or manufacturer-recommended guidelines helps you avoid overcooling and hot spots in your data center. This reduces the need for data center maintenance as well as the possibility of unplanned downtime.
- Comply with corporate sustainability and energy efficiency initiatives. More organizations are focusing on reducing the environmental footprints of their data centers. Operating a greener data center also allows you to meet government regulations and potentially collect energy rebates for additional cost savings.
How Can Data Center Software Improve Energy Efficiency?
DCIM software can improve your data center’s energy efficiency by enabling you to:
- Design your physical data center for greater efficiency. An energy-efficient design is often foundational to decreasing data center energy consumption. In DCIM software, you can create your data center floor maps to account for hot/cold aisle containment and separation, floor PDUs, optimal placement of CRACs and perforated tiles and ventilation, and other cooling system elements—before the physical build out. Designing your data center in your DCIM software also helps you ensure that you have adequate space, power, and network capacity for all your equipment.
- Consolidate data center resources through virtualization. Reducing the amount of physical hardware you have can also drive efficiency by reducing data center energy consumption. Leveraging server virtualization and cloud/hybrid environments can help you maximize your physical hardware while still supporting IT resource demand. DCIM software can help you track where your applications are located, how much of the physical space and assets in your data center are utilized, and how your capacity is allocated to virtual machines versus physical hosts. As a bonus, managing both your physical and virtual assets side-by-side in a single database is easy with a modern DCIM solution.
- Monitor data center energy consumption. Data center power and environmental monitoring is key to maintaining a safe environment for your IT equipment as well as avoiding unexpected costs for overages. Combined with intelligent PDUs and other smart devices, DCIM software can help you collect real-time power data down to the outlet level as well as the temperature and humidity levels in your data center. It also allows you to set thresholds on the data collected so that you can receive alerts and notifications and make appropriate modifications if consumption reaches warning or critical levels of capacity.
- Report on data center Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Data-driven decisions continue to be important for data center management, and more teams are making use of metrics like Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) to measure performance. For example, a recent survey of data center professionals found that over 50 percent of respondents had calculated PUE. A comprehensive DCIM software can display real-time data in interactive, zero-configuration dashboards and reports that work out of the box so users can start leveraging their data immediately, without the need for a separate data analysis tool.
- Drive energy-efficient behaviors. Charging back your customers for their energy consumption is an effective way to encourage them to model energy-efficient behaviors. Data center software can take the data collected from your environments and display it in billback reports by customer, data center, or even rack. The ability to understand costs by customer, business unit, or application is especially helpful for data center colocation providers or other organizations that need to carefully manage and track the resources used by their external or internal customers to avoid under- or over-charging.
Data center energy efficiency is critical to effectively managing your data center. Leveraging a comprehensive DCIM can give you both the capabilities and the information you need to minimize data center energy consumption while maximizing operational efficiency. When looking to reduce costs or meet green goals, consider your current data center energy management strategies and whether they are still sufficient for safely operating your data center without sacrificing uptime or wasting resources.