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Data Center Efficiency in Full Bloom
You would think it was spring and Louie Armstrong was singing “What a Wonderful World.” The greening of the data center is in full bloom.
But, that’s not because of regulations or altruistic service to the environment. What drives environmental improvements in the data center is another kind of green: Money.
“The reality is that the vast majority of the changes being implemented have not been driven by government mandates, but the fact that it will ultimately save money,” wrote Bob Parente in a Data Center Power Blog post last week.
Whatever the driving factor, however, a number of innovations are showing up in the data center when it comes to power and cooling.
On the cooling side, Parente is seeing lots of precision cooling systems that target systems where they got hottest, he wrote in the blog post.
Alternate cooling methods are being employed, too. One such alternate cooling method is total server fluid-submersion in dielectric coolant, he noted.
“From the power distribution side, innovation and improvements are happening within the IT equipment power supply technologies that improve not only power supply efficiency, but also improved end-to-end power distribution efficiency,” wrote Parente.
AC power supply efficiency improvements are being made in the data center as a function of increased voltage, noted Parente. This includes 277/480 VAC, 240/415 VAC, 230/ 400 VAC, and 208 VAC.
DC power distribution with 380 VDC is making inroads in the data center, too.
“Regardless of the power distribution scheme, the end goal to maximize energy efficiency requires power monitoring and energy usage metrics for analysis that enables effective capacity planning along with aptitude to make change for decreased usage,” he wrote.
Parente outlines four ways that data centers should keep in mind when considering how to maximize efficiency.
First, measure power usage. If you don’t measure it, you can’t reduce it.
Second, measure the effectiveness of power usage. This is often known as PUE, and it also is important when trying to maximize efficiency. This is the metric of power efficiency, basically.
A third step that data centers should make is looking to make adjustments based on power monitoring information. There often are ways to reduce energy use.
Fourth, “use data center power management tools such as Intelligent Power Distribution Units (PDUs) combined with a Power Management system,” wrote Parente.
“Any steps taken to drive efficiency improvements are a move in the right direction,” he noted.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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