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Considerations for an energy-efficient data centre

As the hunger for data grows, so do the requirements of a data centres. These demands have led to concerns about not only the high costs of building and operation data centres, but also their environmental impact. Traditional data centres are known for being among the most power-hungry ICT assets a business can own. As such, CIOs have come under increasing pressure to reduce energy consumption in the data centre, with an understanding that an energy efficient data centre can lower costs, risk profiles and environmental impacts.

But how does one achieve this? We’ve identified eight steps you can take to get you started on your journey to an energy-efficient data centre:

Step 1: Consider alternative locations, and delivery and management models

The first critical step to achieving an energy-efficient data centre is to evaluate the various delivery and management options that have become available in recent years. Cloud computing opens new avenues of opportunity for data centre managers striving to improve energy efficiency.

Step 2: Virtualise and consolidate

With appropriate analysis and consolidation, multiple devices can be combined into a single physical server that consumes only a fraction of the power of the original devices.

Step 3: Design a best-practice floor plan

Whether you’re designing a new data centre or upgrading your existing environment, make use of existing best practices in data centre floor plan designs. Examples of this include hot aisle/cold aisle layout, distribution of power across racks, and minimising (or possibly eliminating) underfloor cabling.

Step 4:  Redesign the data centre network

Networking can contribute significantly to energy savings: the deployment of specialist data centre network hardware offers significant benefits over general-purpose network hardware.

Step 5: Use appropriate technology

Look for vendors that have power and cooling at the forefront of their research and development strategies, and then select equipment based on lifecycle costs that take into account the energy usage of servers.

Step 6: Take a new perspective on information lifecycle management

Information lifecycle management is the optimum allocation of storage resources that support a business. By implementing an ILM strategy, you can create greater efficiencies in data storage, which in turn lead to greater efficiencies in power consumption.

Step 7: Investigate liquid cooling

Liquid cooling systems use air or liquid heat exchangers to provide effective cooling and to isolate equipment from the existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. Many organisations are welcoming liquid cooling systems into their infrastructures to achieve better cooling efficiency.

Step 8: Use power-saving technologies

It is more energy-efficient to power servers directly from a central DC supply. Alternatively, consider deploying higher-voltage air conditioning within the data centre when this is suitable for the technologies deployed.

The next-generation data centre approaches and technologies provide a means to rein in spiraling energy costs. Follow these simple steps and an energy-efficient data centre – and impressive cost savings – will be within your reach. To view each of these steps in more detail, view our latest thinking here.

Jahangir Naina

General Manager, Data Centre Business - Asia Pacific