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Grant Received to Examine Strategies for Reducing Data Center Power Consumption
The amount of data gathered by the typical company on a typical day is nothing short of staggering. Consumers contribute to the volume by sharing information like location, buying habits, preferences, likes and dislikes on a variety of different platforms. Companies mine that information for nuggets they can turn into business intelligence. For those wanting to dominate the industry, data is a goldmine.
The management of that data is not without its challenges, however. Organizations throughout the world are finding that data centers are costly to operate and difficult to evolve when it comes to efficiency. Knowing the right methods and tools to implement to reduce data center power consumption, however, is a great first step. But, it also helps if something is available to help offset the cost.
This was the case for a team of Penn State engineers. The group recently received a $1 million grant to reduce data center power costs. The support comes from the National Science Foundation and will provide the team with the funds necessary to carry out its three-year project, "CSR (News - Alert): Medium: Provisioning and Harnessing Energy Storage for Data Center Demand Response."
Breaking down the current data consumption phenomenon and we can gain a better understanding of why it’s so important to reduce the use of data center power. As a whole, data centers consumer massive amounts of power and currently account for 2 percent of the energy consumption throughout the world, and 1.5 percent of the global carbon footprint. For a company like Facebook (News - Alert), the consumption of more than 20 megawatts of power is not unusual and can cost the company millions in power infrastructure provision and electricity costs.
Aside from the examination of effective ways to reduce the consumption of data center power, a key focus of this project will be to leverage current energy storage technologies. This focus is likely to include batteries and is expected to reshape the power demand to enable companies to reduce power during peak hours and reduce the peak power draw. This includes reducing the amount of infrastructure needed and streamline the supply with renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind.
“Energy storage is already being deployed in data centers today for providing temporary power during outages, and this project looks to extend their usage for controlling the power demand from the grid,” said team leader Anand Sivasubramaniam, professor of computer science and engineering.
The key for any data center power project focused on reducing consumption is to identify the best strategy for maintaining the current use of data, while also reducing the cost of managing that data. The outcome of this project will certainly grab attention from those seeking to accomplish the same thing.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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