Inefficiency - Data center electricity use is growing more than twice as fast (3.2% annually) as total electricity use. Total data center energy consumed is an estimated 1.2% of total US electricity consumption:
- 54 billion KWH annually or equivalent of 5.4 million homes.
- 38 Million tons of green house gas or equivalent exhaust from 18 million cars
Under-utilization of servers is rampant with only 10 – 20 % utilization on average. A server utilized only 20% is wasting half its power when using standard power supply technology. Less energy is wasted at higher loads. According to Ecos Consulting, most power supplies are only 60-70% efficient across all loads.
Opportunity - For each server decommissioned:
- Avoid 7 tons of C02 pollution each year
- Save approximately 10,000 KWh annually or equivalent of the average home’s annual electrical consumption.
- Reduce costs by $1,100 annually.
- Fewer servers reduce other related costs such as network infrastructure, storage infrastructure, and administrative overhead.
- Cost avoidance - Many existing data centers are maxed out on power and space available and will require major infrastructure upgrades to support.
Improved power supply efficiency of 80+% efficiency at various loads results in $90 savings annually on a 600W power supply unit. Google is running its power supply units at 90% efficiency as reported by Urs Hölzle, Vice-president of Operations.
- Use the power management feature. Test first since some vendors are less sophisticated in their power management integration, which may cause issues.
- Eliminate the estimated 10 – 15% of the orphaned applications and servers that are unused.
- Turn-off equipment used only during peak periods. Intuit for example, turns off many of its servers after April 15.
- Adjust cooling to run data center warmer. A degree less cooling on average saves 3 to 4% of A/C costs.
- Upgrade Data Center lighting to energy efficient compact and linear fluorescent. Turn-off lighting in server only areas and provide task lighting for engineers for installation and maintenance.
- Consolidate applications and servers. Consolidation of production applications is not trivial, so start more simply. With a little effort, some of the development and test environments that are used during a project can be reused by the next project. When consolidating production, ensure that applications share similar service levels and BCP requirements and experience complimentary peak usage.
- Improve power to server utilization by upgrading power supply technology. Advanced power supply technology achieves 80+% efficiency even at low utilization.
- Buy energy efficient equipment and educate suppliers that efficiency is a critical feature. Encourage innovation, such as cool circuits, variable fans. water cooling, and circuit heat tolerance. Insist that industry define a consistent energy efficiency measurement standard to provide buyers with a simple method to compare products. Current energy efficiency standards are confusing which each vendor touting a measurement and benchmark that makes them a winner in the energy efficiency race.
- Replace power hungry equipment with more efficient energy utilization. With reduced cost of vendor h/w maintenance, lower utility costs, potential rebates offered by your utility company and enhanced functionality, can make replacement a solid ROI.
- Purchase electricity from renewable resources.
- Electrical usage at data center - An AMD sponsored study by Jonathan Koomey of Stanford University
- Server design for cooling as reviewed in article in the Economist
- Power supply inefficiencies
- Comprehensive list of 67 Data Center energy efficiency best practices provided byLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
- Run the data center at higher temps. ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) updated its guidelines for data centers and broadened the allowable temperature and humidity ranges, which can result in significant energy savings in its publication "Thermal Guidelines for Data-Processing Environments".
- Give feedback to the US Government EPA Energy Star standards and 80plus.org an NGO that certifies power supplies and industry standards committee (SPEC) that are defining energy efficiency rating methods.
- List of manufacturers receiving 80-plus certification where power supply is 80+ % efficient under low to high loads.