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Top 10 Ways to Save Energy in the Data Center

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By Shamus McGillicuddy, News Writer
11.29.2007 | SearchCIO.com

LAS VEGAS — Gartner Inc. has predicted that the cost of supplying energy to a server over its three-year lifetime will soon exceed the server’s acquisition cost.

With this in mind, Chris Loeffler, product manager of data center solutions at Eaton Corp. in Cleveland, offered delegates at this week’s Gartner Data Center Conference the top 10 ways to save energy in the data center. He said these “low-hanging” management options and technologies can combine to reduce data center energy consumption by up to 50% without compromising availability.

8. Adopt cooling best practices.
Loeffler said many data centers may use hot aisle/cold aisle configurations to improve cooling efficiency, but there are also some small things they can do. Simple “blanking panels” can be installed in server racks that have empty slots. “That’s a great way to make sure the cold air in the cold aisle doesn’t start mixing with the hot air in the hot aisle any sooner than it needs to,” he said.

Loeffler said organizations should also seal cable cutouts to minimize airflow bypasses. He said data organizations should consider air handlers and chillers that use efficient technologies such as variable frequency drives, which adjust how fast the air conditioning system’s motors run when cooling needs dip.

9. Assess the utilization and efficiency issues in your data center.
In addition to turning off unused IT equipment, as mentioned above, organizations should also retire unused software applications and focus on adopting more effective software that requires extra CPU cycles.

10. Prioritize actions to reduce the energy needs of your data center.
Loeffler said organizations should identify and prioritize the steps needed to reduce the energy needs of a data center. He said IT should get executive-level support before embarking on these efficiency gains and form a cross-functional team to develop an energy strategy for IT operations.

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