Facing tight budgets, carbon footprint concerns, and high energy costs, chief information officers and information technology managers are looking for ways to save money, lower energy use, and squeeze more efficiency out of their power-hungry, heat-sensitive data centers.
A study by industry expert Jonathan Koomey estimated that electricity used by data centers worldwide increased by about 56 percent from 2005 to 2010. This same study estimated that data centers accounted for 1.3 percent of total electricity use worldwide in 2010, and 2 percent of all electricity use within the United States.
It's Never Been Done Before. To help the industry tackle these challenges, Emerson has developed Energy Logic, the first-ever holistic approach to data center energy reduction, based on quantitative analysis, and with an emphasis on reducing excess heat load in the first place. Following Emerson’s recommended actions can reduce a data center’s energy consumption by at least 50 percent using existing technologies and, in the process, help the data center industry globally save billions of dollars in energy costs.
To develop its recommendations, Emerson modeled energy consumption for a typical 5,000-square-foot data center. The company’s engineers carefully analyzed energy-saving opportunities, quantified the savings of each action, and identified how energy reduction in some systems affects consumption in supporting systems.
The key insight that emerged from this analysis was that the best way to reduce energy consumption in a data center is to start with the IT equipment because savings at the IT equipment level cascade through the supporting infrastructure. For example, in Emerson’s data center model, saving one watt at the server component level saved another 1.84 watts without doing anything else a total saving of 2.84 watts.
Using this analysis, Emerson has identified the top 10 strategies for improving data center energy efficiency, starting with the IT equipment and progressing to the support infrastructure, including cooling systems.
Emerson’s Energy Logic approach is a vendor-neutral roadmap. All technologies recommended in Energy Logic are available today and many can be phased in as part of regular technology upgrades, minimizing capital expenditure. The Emerson model also calculates ROI/payback periods for each of the 10 strategies to help organizations make better decisions regarding the most efficient technologies for a particular data center.
These strategies have the added benefit of alleviating the three most critical constraints faced by data center managers today: power, cooling, and space capacities. In the Emerson data center model, implementation of the top 10 Energy Logic strategies actually freed up two-thirds of valuable raised floor space, one-third of uninterruptible power supply capacity, and 40 percent of precision cooling capacity.
Emerson’s Energy Logic Strategies
Emerson’s recommended 10 strategies to improve energy efficiency in a data center are:
1. High-Efficiency Processors: The typical Thermal Design Power (TDP) of processors in use when the model was created averaged 91 Watts. Manufacturers have lower-voltage versions of their processors that consume on average 30 Watts less than standard processors - delivering the same performance as higher-power models. This can create a 10 percent reduction in overall data center power consumption.
2. High-Efficiency Power Supplies: Use of best-in-class technologies for power supplies delivers efficiency of 90+ percent, reducing power draw within the data center by 124 kW or 11 percent of the 1,127 kW total. Be aware that some power supplies perform better at partial loads than others, and these power supplies are preferred.