Improving energy efficiency of a data center facility can be an extremely challenging task and it is hardly surprising that only a handful of organizations have been able to succeed in this grand accomplishment. Pursuit of more business and efforts of capacity enhancement have overshadowed attempts to develop greener data centers by boosting the process of virtualization fir higher efficiency.

In order to improve power efficiency of data centers modifications to the cooling systems have been done in some instances. Similarly, rationing of power supply by adopting state of the art power distribution grids to implement procedural changes for energy saving has also been tried. These efforts to scale down power consumption have not been met with notable success.   

Power efficiency of data center facility can be improved by adopting a focused approach.

Virtualization

The most important attribute of virtualization is to make optimum use of available resources. You can use all your resources that are otherwise remaining unutilized to improve efficiency of data center. If you are putting only a single workload o a server, then you are only using around 15 percent of its total capacity. The remaining chunk of huge capacity can be harnessed by applying a virtualization layer to cater to large number of virtual machines. The beauty of virtual machine is that it requires only a small portion of physical resources to effectively run a plethora of OS workloads and applications. You can significantly reduce the total count of physical servers because one server can be used for hosting not less than 40 virtual machines. As a result you would be using far less power and cooling and save large amounts of energy by executing more workloads.

      

Enhancing agility of data centers

One needs to adopt virtualization in data centers on a broader scale due to multiple benefits. Data centers are in a better position to handle fluctuating demands in terms of changing business requirements and computing needs. You should adopt virtualization for achieving greater ability to respond to varying capacity requirements and gain greater dynamism. Virtual machines can be shifted to different servers according to availability of workloads with no impact on business continuity. Moreover, power supply to servers that are not operating can be switched off and the same can be switched on in the event of traffic surge. By making sure that data centers are agile and dynamically responsive to changing requirements, you can certainly ensure that the physical server resources are efficiently used.

Bid adieu to legacy equipment

It is obvious that traditional and ageing equipment would guzzle excessive power. You need to get rid of old servers and other equipments and immediately replace these with energy efficient models. There is also need for virtualization of all applications running on servers. It would be prudent to purchase servers that have capacity to run multiple virtual machines for sake of energy savings. 

It is a good sign that the latest technologies have improved servers and then new equipment is backed by digitally controlled power supply for remarkable efficiency. Ideally the old severs should be allowed to complete their life cycle before replacing these with new ones to gain optimum payback. It is preferable to use any equipment till the time it does not move out of service or warranty period.

Use of economizers and plastic curtains

It would be prudent to make the best of environment if the data center happens to be located in cooler environment. This would naturally reduce energy consumption by power hungry refrigeration equipment. It has been proved that air side economizers can reduce power bills by one third.

Use of plastic curtains as a simple approach to isolate hot air from cold air can improve energy efficiency since the cold air is prevented from getting mixed with hot air. You should attach great importance to air flow patterns of the data center. One of the most vital objectives of air flow management must be prevention of hot and cold air mixing by using containment approach.

Elevation of data center temperature

If you study the recommended temperature ranges of different equipments, then yu would understand that the temperature of data center can be raised by few degrees without causing any equipment failure. This can definitely reduce strain on cooling equipment and cause subsequent reduction in energy consumption.

Sophisticated hardware equipment can sustain temperature of 80º F easily. It is also observed that certain data centers keep the temperatures at very cool ranges and this causes atmospheric humidity to condense. The funniest part is the same data center now requires installation of dehumidifier to fight condensation that is actually caused due to extremely low temperature. 

Conclusion

Virtualization is the need of the hour for addressing issue of greater energy efficiency in addition to several strategies as mentioned above. If you find that your data center is about to reach saturation point in terms of capacity utilization, then virtualization of data center will inject new lease of life and will help you organization be more agile and reliable. It will also improve availability of IT resources.

Interesting Topic To Read:-

Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency

How Secure Is Your Data Center?