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Can You Afford to Pay $350,000 an Hour? The Importance of Data Center Power in Reducing Downtime
As Internet traffic explodes and mobile communications goes upward, more and more data centers are coping with the consumer networking demands. As a result, data centers today account for about 2 percent of the energy consumption throughout the world and 1.5 percent of the global carbon footprint. Industry analysts estimate that power usage by data centers will double within next five years.
Take, for instance, large social networking company like Facebook, where energy usage has jumped 33 percent in 2012 and continues to grow even at a faster rate. As a result, the social networking giant has taken steps to increase efficiency across all data centers and minimize carbon footprint to a new low.
As the power consumption across data centers rises, so do the outages. These outages mean downtime, which translates into huge losses in revenue. It is estimated that an average cost of downtime is about $350,000/hour. At that rate, analysts estimate that the total loss in downtime revenue in the United States alone is approximately $426 billion. Hence, it is not surprising that businesses, both large and small, and their data center operators are always striving to keep those data centers up and running.
Consequently, to ensure continuity in business, organizations are migrating to cloud computing, as well as adding more data centers as back-up for existing hardware. And, in some cases, they are also leasing services from other operators.
With this humongous increase in power consumption, the pressure to improve power efficiency across data centers is enormous, according to Dave Sterlace, market development manager for the data center business at Thomas & Betts. In an interview with Control Design and Industrial Networking magazine, Sterlace told managing editor Aaron Hand that data center operators are exploring all possibilities to boost power efficiency and cut wastage.
Besides employing very efficient power supplies in the servers deployed in these data centers, the servers themselves are being designed with high efficiency semiconductor devices and associated components along with system architecture that raises the bar. In addition, he said that higher bus voltages are being implemented to make power distribution more efficient, as well as using substantially less lossy wiring to realize twice as much power through the same conductor. The savings in copper wiring translates into savings in dollars and space.
Thomas & Betts executive also highlighted the fact that the movement toward cloud is increasing to save power and infrastructure cost. Another trend highlighted by Sterlace was adoption of DC power input instead of AC, because it can significantly cut conversion losses. However, it is still in its infancy and will take a few more years of development work and standardization.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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