The Control Room’s Role in Energy Conservation

Data centers, known for their significant energy consumption, can use 100 to 200 times more electricity than typical office spaces. This high energy use positions them as prime candidates for implementing energy-efficient design strategies, offering the potential for considerable cost savings and reduced electricity consumption. Despite this potential, the critical operations within data centers often place a greater emphasis on reliability and high power density capacity than on energy efficiency. The typically short design cycles in data center construction further complicate this issue, as there is often insufficient time to thoroughly explore efficient design options or to fully consider the balance between initial costs and long-term savings. This situation can lead to design choices that are essentially enlarged versions of standard office layouts, or that repeat past strategies which may be only marginally effective in terms of energy performance.

Efficient IT Equipment and Cooling Systems

In a highly efficient data center, the IT equipment, particularly servers and network hardware, can constitute over half the total energy usage. Employing energy-efficient IT equipment can drastically reduce these energy demands, which in turn minimizes the requirements for cooling systems. Key approaches include investing in servers equipped with energy-efficient components like processors, fans, and power supplies, as well as high-efficiency network equipment. Additionally, consolidating storage devices and power supplies and implementing virtualization techniques are effective in reducing the energy footprint of IT equipment within a data center.

Focus on Server Efficiency

Rack servers, often the primary energy consumers in data centers, are a major focus for energy reduction efforts. These servers, occupying considerable space and being central to data center operations, typically operate at 20% or lower utilization levels but continue to draw full power. Recent advancements in server technology have led to more efficient internal cooling systems and processors, which help reduce this energy wastage. When selecting new servers, it is advisable to opt for models that feature variable speed fans, which can adjust cooling according to need and thus consume less energy. Energy Star-certified servers are a good choice, as they are, on average, 30% more efficient than standard models.

Consolidating server redundancies, such as using one power supply for multiple servers in a rack, can enhance energy efficiency. This approach allows for higher load factors on the power supplies, significantly boosting their efficiency. Optimizing other IT resources like CPUs, disk drives, and memory and dynamically managing these resources based on demand can further contribute to energy savings.

Network Equipment and Energy Management

The evolution of network equipment has seen an increase in throughput per unit of power. Active energy management measures for network equipment, such as implementing idle state logic, optimizing gate count, refining memory access algorithms, and reducing Input/Output buffers can help lower energy usage as network demand changes.

Rationalizing Storage Devices

The power consumption of storage devices correlates with the number of active modules. Rationalizing and right-sizing storage redundancy can prevent unnecessary scale-up in size and power consumption. Options like consolidating storage into Network Attached Storage or Storage Area Networks can reduce the data footprint in the production environment, thus lowering storage and CPU demands, which directly affects the cooling and power requirements in the data center.

For essential data that cannot be offloaded, upgrading to thin provisioning from traditional storage methods can be beneficial. Traditional systems often lead to underutilized storage capacity and wasted energy. Thin provisioning, on the other hand, maximizes storage capacity utilization by allocating space from a common pool as needed, allowing for additional physical capacity to be added later as required.

Improving Power Supply Efficiency

In data centers, most equipment utilizes internal or rack-mounted AC-DC power supplies. Historically, these power supplies operate at efficiencies of around 60% to 70%. However, modern advancements have led to power supplies capable of up to 95% efficiency. Opting for these high-efficiency power supplies can directly lower power costs and indirectly reduce cooling system demands and rack overheating issues. The financial savings from upgrading power supply efficiency can be substantial, with potential annual savings per rack ranging from $2,000 to $6,000, depending on the power usage.

In summary, the role of the control room in energy conservation within data centers is multifaceted, involving the adoption of efficient IT equipment, server optimization, intelligent network equipment management, strategic storage device usage, and the use of high-efficiency power supplies. These strategies not only reduce energy consumption but also contribute to the overall efficiency and sustainability of data center operations.

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Inracks Control Room ConsolesThe Control Room’s Role in Energy Conservation