Implementing Energy Efficient Data Centers


Electricity usage costs have become an increasing fraction of the total cost of ownership (TCO) for data centers. It is possible to dramatically reduce the electrical  consumption of typical data centers through appropriate design of the data center physical infrastructure and through the design of the IT architecture. This paper explains how to quantify the electricity savings and provides examples of methods that can greatly reduce electrical power consumption.


Electrical power usage is not a typical design criterion for data centers, nor is it effectively managed as an expense. This is true despite the fact that the electrical power costs over the life of a data center may exceed the costs of the electrical power system including the UPS, and also may exceed the cost of the IT  equipment. The reasons for this situation are as follows:
  • The billed electrical costs come after the charges are incurred and are not clearly linked to any particular decisions or operating practices. Therefore they are viewed as inevitable.
  • Tools for modeling the electrical costs of data centers are not widely available and are not commonly used during data center design.
  • The billed electrical costs are often not within the responsibility or budget of the data center operating group.
  • • The electrical bill for the data center may be included within a larger electrical bill and
  • may not be available separately.
  • Decision makers are not provided sufficient information during planning and purchasing decisions regarding the electrical cost consequences.
This paper will show that all of the above can and should be corrected, because substantial financial savings are possible for typical users. The greatest advantage can be gained in the design of new facilities, but some savings are possible for existing and evolving facilities as well. Simple no-cost decisions made in the design of a new data center can result in savings of 20- 50% of...

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