Ways 2, 3 and 4

By David Strom Print this article Print

Server strategies that can help you make your data center more efficient and cost-effective.

2. Understand your licensing needs before you make your next server purchase.

Licensing your applications and operating system for running in a virtual environment can be complex. “There was a bit of a cost when we upgraded our older physical servers and their OEM licenses,” says United Financial’s Gabriel. “We had to convert these, and it was tough to swallow the cost initially, but it’s been well worth it.”

3. Measure the actual power consumption coming into your data center to understand the time-of-day variations.

“I can add 15 VMs without seeing more than a blip on our amperage draw,” says Gabriel. “Before this, we were looking at building a new data center, but I was able to convince them that we didn’t need any additional space.

“With virtualization, we are now running about 25 percent of our annual power bill—at about US$150,000 equivalent—and that is looking at the actual power meters,” says Manchester Airport’s Bazler.

4. Segregate your heat sources.

It’s common practice to alternate hot and cold aisles in data centers, but even more granular segregation can cut energy costs further. EasyStreet Online Services, in Beaverton, Ore., a regional managed services provider, worked with the Oregon Energy Trust to conduct an energy audit that looked at the airflow handling in its data center. The audit found various hot spots and recommended separating hot and cold airflows more effectively, realigning servers and improving the cable arrangement within each rack.

“One of our customers didn’t believe that doing cable management would change the performance of the cabinet,” says Eric Bourassa, a senior engineer at EasyStreet. “The customer finally did some cable management, and the temperature at the top front of the cabinet dropped six degrees.”

As a result of these adjustments, the company was able to turn off two of their five air handlers and save more than $35,000 in annual energy costs with a payback of 18 months on the project. With the overall energy improvements from a new data center completed in February, they are projecting more than $100,000 in energy savings during 2011.

This article was originally published on 2011-04-06
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