Data Center Design
– Matt Smith, a spokesperson for Dell, says:
No matter how big or small, there comes a time when you need to upgrade or redesign your data center. However, you can’t just go into it blindly or make a single change in the hope that it will somehow make a difference in the long run. With a few changes you can reduce both your costs and your overall impact on the environment, but you need a sound design strategy and a specific formula for success. With the help of the following practices and techniques, you can optimize your data center design and save on energy costs.
Measure your energy use
Before you make any changes, you have to know your starting point. Measuring your energy use at the very beginning gives you a goal that you can improve. Power Usage Effectiveness, or PUE, is a specific ratio that measures and reduces energy for power distribution and other computing functions. You can find various PUE calculators online to help you with the equation.
Manage your airflow and temperature
Servers and computers need good airflow to function properly, so optimize your data center with good airflow management in mind. In addition, adjust your thermostat to at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In the past, data center operators kept their facility and cold isles at 70 degrees. According to most IT equipment specifications, you can safely raise your cold isle to 80 degrees or more. Raising your temperature cuts your energy use and costs.
Furthermore, use blanking plates on empty rack slots to prevent hot aisle air from reaching the cold isle. You can also seal off your cold isle with plastic curtains to keep the cool air where it belongs. Likewise, use plastic curtains to enclose power supplies and other hot components. By using cheap curtains or another type of enclosure, it saves you from redesigning and reorganizing your computing rooms.
Cut the costs of cooling
Most data centers have chillers that remove heat from the facilities, but this equipment uses the most energy in the building. Removing the chiller from the beginning significantly reduces your energy costs. If you replace your chiller with an evaporative cooling system or low-temperature ambient air, you can reduce your energy usage between 30 and 70 percent.
Optimize your power distribution
Minimize your power conversion steps to reduce your power distribution losses. Keep your high-voltage equipment close to the power supply to decrease line losses, and use only what hardware you need for your applications to run. Remove video cards, peripherals and other unnecessary components, and optimize your servers to use minimal fan power. Your rack and server fans should only spin fast enough to keep your equipment cool during operation.
Utilize virtualization in your data center
No matter how you cool your servers, they will always generate more heat. If you virtualize your servers, you use less physical hardware and create less heat. Virtualization also reduces your costs since you don’t require as much hardware for the data center. In addition, you’re not tied down to a certain vendor, and you can do backups in a flash; you also have a virtual environment for testing.
You can optimize your data center in a variety of ways, but it’s always important to create redundancy where you can. From managing airflow and temperature to using virtualization, improve your data center’s performance and energy efficiency for a more successful future in the industry.
Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors.