Energy Efficiency in Data Centres


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Energy Efficiency in Data Centres

  1. 1. March 2013 Energy Efficiency in Data Centres – An OutlookGautham Gnanajothi, Industry Analyst - Energy & Power Systems “50 Years of Growth, Innovation & Leadership”
  2. 2. Energy Efficiency in Data Centres – An Outlook Market InsightThe data centre market is growing at an extremely high rate. The boom in this market canbe attributed to the ever-increasing need for data transfer and storage. The world’s IT needsare increasing at an alarming rate, which has contributed to the increase in the number ofdata centres across the globe. With the constant growth of the data centre market, it hasbecome crucial to take into account the energy usage. Energy efficiency in data centres hasbecome one of the most widely discussed topics in recent times and it rightfully deserves thatstatus. There are two sides to this subject. One is the financial aspect, and the other is theenvironmental aspect. Energy cost is one of the main components of the overall data centreoperation cost, which is a key element in the total cost of ownership (TCO). Data centremanagers are under constant pressure to lower the TCO. In an existing data centre, the mosteffective method to reduce the TCO is to employ energy-efficient solutions in the key areasof power and cooling. The following chart shows the energy consumption in data centres.Figure 1: Energy Consumption in Data Centres (2010) UPS 7.0% Distribution and Lighting 3.0% IT Equipment Cooling and 40.0% HVAC 50.0% Source: Frost & Sullivan analysisData centres are classified as mission-critical facilities and any down time will result in asignificant financial loss. In order to ensure highest availability, data centre managers employhigh-powered UPS systems. These UPS systems consume about 7 per cent of the total energy.It is critical to make sure the UPS systems are highly energy efficient. There are a lot ofenergy-efficient UPS systems in the market; modular UPS systems are one of the upcomingproducts that highly support energy efficiency and also address the data centre floor spaceissue. Cooling and HVAC account for half of the energy consumption in data centres.Innovative cooling solutions like fresh air free cooling will tend to lower energy costs. As ITequipment and servers are getting bigger and more complicated, the need for cooling hasescalated. In this situation, the only solution to lower energy costs is to employ energy-efficient cooling solutions. Innovative cooling solutions should ideally demonstrate the lowestenergy use of any system.© 2013 Frost & Sullivan Page 2
  3. 3. Energy Efficiency in Data Centres – An Outlook Market InsightThis should include adiabatic-assisted, air-cooled system. As opposed to the traditionalsystems, it should use significantly less water. This could prove to be a boon for the datacentre market by displaying a new class of efficiency. By using the computational fluiddynamics (CFD) modeling technique, new data centres can be built with effective coolingsolutions.“Green” issues have been the other aspect of energy efficiency. Many companies publicisethemselves as a green company in order to increase their profile status in the market and tocomply with the ever-tightening regulations. Data centre operators use two importantmetrics to project themselves as a green company. One is Power Usage Efficiency (PUE),which calculates the effectiveness of the data centre in using the input power; in otherwords, it is the ratio of total power available to total power used by the data centre. Thesmaller PUE value indicates higher efficiency. The second metric is Data Centre infrastructureEfficiency (DCiE); this is the inverse of PUE, which denotes the ratio of total power used tototal power available. Both PUE and DCiE should be close to 1 in order to be energyefficient.The IT equipment and the associated increase in the IT load is the root cause of the highenergy consumption. The strategy to implement energy efficiency in data centres shouldbegin with the reduction of IT load; this will directly result in lower power and coolingrequirements. There are many ways to reduce the IT load without having to interrupt thedata processing. Some of the effective methods are:• Server virtualisation and server consolidation• Decommissioning servers that are not in use• Powering down idle servers• Replacing inefficient servers• Employing power managementThe most sought-after technique among the above for reducing the IT load is servervirtualisation and consolidation. The method of running multiple independent virtualoperating systems on a single physical computer is called server virtualisation. It involvesusing a software application to divide one physical server into multiple isolated virtualenvironments by the server administrator. Each virtual server is capable of running its ownoperating system (OS) and acts like a unique physical device.In a nutshell, it helps companies do more work with fewer machines. By 2020, servervirtualisation will have become a default usage system, coupled with on-going innovations inthe same field. It is not just about the consolidation and cost savings and energy efficiency; italso provides the agility and flexibility for the service delivery in the data centres. The best-practice management of deployment and maximising management efficiency over multipleheterogeneous server virtualisation environments will be the key issue in the future.© 2013 Frost & Sullivan Page 3
  4. 4. Energy Efficiency in Data Centres – An Outlook Market InsightWhen it comes to improving the energy efficiency of a data centre, the operator must knowwhat is the current status of energy consumption. This can be ascertained by the PUE ratio.For instance, if the current PUE ratio is 1.3, the operator should take all efforts to bring itclose to 1. This would involve making certain infrastructure investments in order to updatethe power and cooling systems. This would result in a lowered TCO and getting closer tobeing a green company. It is crucial for the data centre operators to perform a detailedanalysis on energy efficiency and identify best practices for system optimisation, andimplement them in an effective manner.About Frost & SullivanFrost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients toleverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growthopportunities that will make or break today’s market participants. For more than 50 years,we have been developing growth strategies for the Global 1000, emerging businesses, thepublic sector and the investment community. Is your organisation prepared for the nextprofound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitiveintensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics andemerging economies?Contact Us: Start the discussionCONTACT US +44 (0) 20 7343 8383 • •