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How Data Centers Can Improve Energy Efficiency

Climbing energy prices, growing power consumption and the need for round-the-clock services has resulted in data centers searching for a solution that will help to improve energy efficiency and excessive spend.

Though power is becoming the most significant cost in running a data center, most managers lack the tools to accurately measure power consumption. All of these factors, along with a growing concern for environmental stewardship, are forcing the need for better power monitoring technologies.

What Causes Energy Deficiencies?

  • Requiring a powerful and dense computer systems means more power consumption
  • Cost of power has increased over time
  • Additional power may not be available to data centers depending on their geo-location.
  • Government regulations attempt to limit our carbon footprint with energy efficiency programs
  • Power failures are expensive and detrimental to business

Measure Energy Usage to Improve Efficiency

In order to improve energy efficiency, you have to measure it.

According to Energy Star, energy efficiency projects often pay for themselves in energy savings, but if you don’t know how much energy you’re using, and how much it costs, it is very difficult to justify new technologies and best practices or assess the savings of those new methods.

By measuring power usage, you can

  • Identify current power costs and set a baseline
  • Identify potential cost savings and set goals
  • Implement efficiency improvement projects
  • Continuously measure to determine success

When you understand power usage in the data center, you can also begin to intelligently balance workloads to optimize energy use and reduce costs. For example, if peak loads are understood, it is possible to combine systems in one rack that have opposite peak and idle periods. This way, less overall power is needed to support the applications supported by the servers in that rack.

The Benefits of Power Monitoring and Management

Increased profitability with lowered energy and operating costs.

Even a small drop in energy consumption can deliver substantial cost savings over time. The DEP estimates that even with existing IT equipment, implementing energy-management practices in existing data centers and consolidating applications onto fewer servers have the potential to reduce data center energy usage by 20 percent.

Rebates and awards

Many companies, local and regional governments, and organizations offer energy rebates and awards that can help offset the cost of implementing newer, more energy-efficient technologies. Awards can help advertise your efforts to increase energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.

Find a list of rebates by state.

Accurate chargeback

Some IT organizations have begun to charge internal departments for energy usage, in addition to data center space and compute/data storage resources. Monitoring power provides accurate data on usage, making it easier to compute charges. Clients are more likely to accept these charges if they are provided with accurate statements.

Reduced emissions

According to the IDC, energy accounts for the majority of greenhouse gases. Energy, distribution, and transport account for half of C02 emissions in nearly every country. Information management is increasingly used to support carbon emission reduction methodologies such as supply chain management, business intelligence, and fine-grained analytics. Companies need to minimize the increase in emissions from data center and communications infrastructure so as not to negate the positive returns the technology is meant to deliver. Efficiently managing power usage in the data center not only cuts your own costs and carbon footprint, but also lowers overall emissions. It also gives companies the ability to respond to investors and customers requiring them to act responsibly, and get a head start on potential world-wide carbon capping or trading regulations.

How to Monitor Power Consumption

A flexible power distribution system can be a key element in implementing power monitoring. Specifically, access for meter branch and circuit level and system level distribution points is essential.

Our Starline Critical Power Monitor (CPM) is a flexible power distribution and monitoring solutions for data centers, manufacturing, and commercial industries. Our Critical Power Monitors, along with the modularity of its StarLine Track Busway and Plug-In Raceway products, enable data center managers to more effectively manage power usage and quickly adapt to changing power requirements.

Features

  • Modular capability for connecting to mains of varying size and specification (voltage and current levels).
  • Modular capability for connecting to branch circuits.
  • 60-400 amp capacity configurations.
  • Ability to monitor single phase, two phase, three phase, and three phase with neutral.
  • Ability to measure power, power factor, frequency, Volt Amperes, Watt hours, Volts (each phase), current (each phase) current (neutral), reactive power, and temperature. Calculates minimum and maximum values for power, Volts, and current.
  • Ability to set minimum and maximum alarm trigger levels for current in amps for each phase.
  • Capability to integrate with building management systems (BMS), with ability to transmit data over an RS-485 link, wired Ethernet 10/100 link, or over a wireless mesh network.
  • Factory-built into StarLine power feeds and plug-ins, providing a clean and seamless integration of monitoring with power distribution.
  • Optional display with touch screen interface.
  • <1% Accuracy

Learn more about the StarLine Critical Power Monitor.