How to Reduce Data Center Energy Costs Now
July 06, 2015

With data center energy costs often accounting for 50% of total data center operating expenses, and the continual push to do more with less, energy management continues to be a focus of data center operators.  With energy prices continuously in flux, reducing such significant costs would greatly improve savings of any company.   According to BLS Strategies, “Data center operators and owners can minimize the impact of unpredictable energy markets by better understanding the markets and establishing smart energy procurement strategies.”
 
While often overlooked, understanding the market for energy has become more appealing to data center managers because it allows them to strategically manage their energy use. 
 
Be Aware of the Elements:
There are a number of factors that can influence price fluctuations in the energy market.  Weather, natural gas storage, and coal-fired power plants all have influences on the price of energy.  Being knowledgeable about these aspects can help to reduce the cost of energy in your data center.
 
The demise of coal-fired power plants have created a long-term dependency on the cleaner aspects found in natural gas and electric sources of energy.  With the added pressure on natural gas and electric industries, demand is increased and subsequently so is natural gas and electric price variability. 
 
Natural gas storage and weather can also trigger increases in the cost of energy.  In times when more natural gas and electricity is being used, such as in warmer weather, less is in storage resulting in an increase in the cost. Because of these variables, especially during the summer, data center managers should implement policies that ensure data centers are not overcooled, and thereby  can reduce energy cost
 
By being aware of energy usage, data center managers can tightly manage their needs and avoid the increasing costs of energy.
 
Navigate the Market:
Managing data costs is not a one-time deal; because of the extremely unpredictable market for energy costs it is an ongoing event.  Working out a fixed price deal with the energy provider will create less of a cost for the data center manager when prices fluctuate.
 
With an “Index Block System”, data center managers now have the option to fix a price on the amount of energy used, with a fee that is added for each additional unit of energy consumed once the data center goes over their limit of energy.  This is especially helpful for data center managers as it provides increased flexibility within the rapidly changing market prices.
 
Strategies You Can Use Now
A Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tool can provide the metrics and reporting needed to ensure data center efficiency, monitor the amount of power each server is using, and determine if you are exceeding your energy capacity limits.  By reviewing these metrics and tracking usage over time, data center managers can strategically conserve the amount of energy being used. 
 
DCIM also enables you to run what-if scenarios and determine where in the data center additional energy savings can be found.  For instance, what will be the savings by merging multiple servers running at a lower capacity, versus running one server at full capacity.  With power control capability, DCIM can also help to conserve power by turning off servers when not in use. 
 
Learn more about how DCIM can help to significantly decrease your data center energy costs or schedule a demo with an energy efficiency expert.

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