Power Performance and Efficiency at the Green Data Center Conference

By Leah Schoeb, Saturday, October 13th 2012

Analyst Blogs

I presented a session on the SNIA Green Storage Initiative’s Emerald Program and the work the GSI are doing with the EPA who is about to release their first specification for the Energy Star Program for Data Center Storage with the GSI’s help.  While I was at the conference there were some interesting points I learned and thought I would share them.

Collectively it has been estimated that the world’s data centers consume 2% of the world’s energy.  On an average data centers only actively use 6-12% of the energy they consumed.  The rest of that energy is from cooling inactive equipment and supporting old servers and storage that are still online but not being used.

It was interesting to find out what some companies are doing to be more efficient about their energy consumption.

  • Green Mountain Data Center in Norway decided to use and old underground weapons center as a naturally cool place for a datacenter so they don’t have to spend any energy on cooling.
  • Facebook placed an energy efficient data center in the cooler region of Oregon and is taking full advantage of its natural resources with new techologies to minimize the need for cooling and electricity to power their data center.  They measured the average power consumed by their servers at about 21 watts.  They got that average down to about 7 watts.
  • Fedex, out of need to financially coserve, used a current data center space in Colorado to build a more efficient datacenter that is LEAD certified and saves a quarter of a million dollars a year in energy cost.  They use standarization, virtualization, and inovation to build their all new datacenters now.

In order to optimally build and operate more efficient data centers many IT organizations are now turning themselves from being technology organizations to business organizations.  This shows the rest of their company how they can increase business and productivity more efficiently and easy measures on how they contribute to the company’s bottom line.  Also co-location models are being used more and more to run more efficient data center.  Other organizations are now changing their operating models to an operations-as-a-service model and finding was to do chargeback by department so each department knows how much energy they are accually consuming.  This drives departments to be much more supportive about finding new ways to save energy consumption.

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