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Data Center Power Consumption - Growth Slowing, Yet Efficiency Still Lacking
Businesses today are thriving on data. They capture it, store it, analyze it and turn it into business intelligence. This data can be anything from reports to phone calls, customer records to video content, all stored within the confines of the data center. For the data center manager, this means more hardware and more strain on data center power.
With this increase in data center power coinciding with a global movement to reduce energy consumption and implement sustainable technologies, data center managers are now more focused on how to reduce power, while supporting increased data loads.
A recent CRN report focused on the importance of controlling data center power. According to a study recently sponsored by the New York Times, the amount of power consumed by data centers throughout the world is growing, yet not as fast as anticipated.
The findings from this study suggest that total consumption within data centers from servers, communications, storage, cooling and power distribution equipment accounted for anywhere between 1.7 percent and 2.2 percent of total electricity use in the U.S. in 2010. The finding suggested an increase in total U.S. power consumption from 0.8 percent in 2000, and 1.5 percent in 2005. The anticipated rate for 2010: 3.5 percent when analyzing historical trends.
This lower than expected consumption level with regards to data center power suggest there is a leveling off taking place within the server installed base, not just as a result of new technologies or operational improvements. The study suggests that the server installed base will not grow moving forward.
To completely understand the trends taking place in data center power consumption and the impact, additional research is necessary. Elements to consider in the process include the increase in storage capacity, the increased adoption of cloud computing, higher server processing power and the percentage of servers that have power running to them that are not being used. All of these factors are critical when considering the design and operation of the data center.
John Snider, CEO of NOVA, an Albuquerque, New Mexico data center operator for the U.S. Department of Defense told CRN that increased virtualization and cloud computing can actually increase data center power consumption. While these platforms do decrease the number of servers necessary for a given operation, data center managers still seek to put more storage and processing capabilities into smaller spaces. Consumption is going up, according to Snider, as servers are getting denser without becoming more efficient.
The change in focus in the data center power arena could easily be in the design of the servers and the data centers themselves. As corporations become more aware of their consumption levels, as well as their electricity costs, priority is likely to be placed on more efficient approaches to the way we capture, manage and storage data.
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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin
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