Data Center Strategies to Maximize Efficiency and Lower Costs
Data centers are responsible for powering nearly everything in our modern technology infrastructure, from online shopping to cloud productivity and healthcare operations. However, they are notorious for their high energy consumption and carbon footprint. According to a study published by the Institute of Physics, data centers in the US alone consume 1.8% of the electricity used and contribute to 0.5% of greenhouse gas emissions. On a global scale, data centers use up 3% of all electricity in the world. While more and more companies are recognizing the importance of sustainability reducing their environmental impact, costs will continue to be the driving factor in decision-making. Luckily, increasing data center efficiency can also cut operational costs. Here are some key strategies to maximize your data center efficiency.
Seek Longer Equipment Life
Increasing a data center’s equipment life means less frequent equipment changes, reducing the energy and resources required for the purchase and installation of new systems, and less risk of service disruptions and downtime. This can save up to billions of dollars for a data center. While management and maintenance techniques can affect equipment life, the performance of servers over time ultimately depends on the expected life of the servers themselves. The expected life of servers can vary widely depending on the manufacturer and the specific model. When in the market to add or replace servers, data center managers should be aware of the average lifespan of the servers being considered to make informed decisions about which systems to invest in.
Optimize Server Utilization
According to a survey on cloud computing, over 50% of respondents reported that their server utilization rate falls within the range of 20-40%. This suggests that many servers are not being used to their maximum capacity. While it is generally recommended to maintain some headroom to accommodate usage fluctuations, this underutilization of servers can lead to significant inefficiencies and increased costs. Consolidating certain workloads onto fewer systems can help to ensure that each server is used efficiently and reduce the overall number of servers needed. This ultimately reduces energy usage and maintenance costs while optimizing server utilization and the overall efficiency of the data center.
Use High-Density Servers
As mentioned above, optimizing server utilization and reducing the number of servers required to handle workloads can lead to significant improvements in efficiency and cost savings. High-density servers, like the 24M6, are specifically designed to pack in as much power and data as possible to minimize space usage and maximize performance. High-density servers may cost sometimes more than their low-density counterparts, but the amount of space, energy, and resources saved allows data centers to achieve higher performance without additional infrastructure investments.
Consider Other Cooling Options
Data centers rely on proper cooling systems for safe and efficient operations. Air cooling has been the industry standard, with its technologies thoroughly understood, widely implemented, and still relied on to this day worldwide. However, with servers continually increasing in power and performance, traditional air cooling is no longer as efficient, consuming excessive amounts of electricity and water, and contributing to carbon emissions. Because of this, data center managers have been exploring alternatives such as liquid cooling, air-liquid hybrid cooling, and immersion cooling solutions. While these options entail certain initial investments and switching costs, they reduce or remove the need for fans and more effectively dissipate heat from the source. These updated cooling solutions promote greater energy efficiency and higher performance in the long run, making them worthwhile investments for data centers seeking to optimize operations.