3. Consolidate and virtualize
Tyler Kilian, supervisor of network systems for UniSource Energy, also points out the benefits of consolidation and virtualization. With physical servers, "we started running into constraints across the board - both in power and cooling," he says. "We are now at 80 per cent utilization of our power infrastructure through virtualization - best practices for the industry say we are full at 80 per cent. We've been able to maintain that 80 per cent for the past several years even though we've increased our server resources dramatically."
4. Take DC power to the rack and back
Reprovisioning a datacentre with DC power takes long-term planning. "You can add DC power to the rack instead of having separate AC power inside each server," Rackable Systems' LaForce says. "DC supplies are far more powerful, efficient and have far fewer parts in them, making them less failure prone. Putting them in the system and then bringing DC power to the rack can save 10 per cent to 30 per cent immediately" in your power costs. Most server manufacturers offer a DC power option.
5. Modify cooling and power systems
Another way to reduce power consumption in the datacentre is to re-engineer the chilling system. That would involve installing chillers with variable-speed fans, running chillers at higher-than-normal temperatures and using free cooling where available.
"We are looking at having a more managed cooling and energy infrastructure - things we can track more specifically," UniSource Energy's Kilian says. "We are changing our cooling strategy to in-row systems that...will be able to adjust for the proper amount of cooling in the row. In areas with lower server densities, we will be able to turn the fans down to consume less power and [vice versa]."
Adjusting chillers to run at higher temperatures also can save money, EYP's Godrich says. "If you can run a chiller at 10 per cent higher, you won't see any delta peak for your servers."
Godrich also says IT should take advantage of geography. Colder climates, for example, could provide a cost advantage in that cooling down air conditioners with ambient cool air or ice might be possible.
Connor is principal analyst for Storage Strategies Now. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org