The performance and efficiency of data centers have become paramount in a world where most organizations are migrating to a cloud computing environment. Besides efficiency and performance, there is a need to optimize power usage to provide greener data centers.
A data center is essentially a facility that includes networked computers and other storage that businesses or organizations use for processing, organizing, storing, and disseminating large volumes of data. Data centers are not a single thing, but a combination of various elements.
The data center industry is transforming at a fast pace. As a consequence, there are large build-outs leading to strains in the supply chain coupled with skill shortages. To address these issues, there are innovations taking place in networking power and resiliency. Although these are creating new opportunities, they are also creating challenges.
There is a need to address these issues by finding ways to enhance the efficiency of the data centers while reducing wastage. An organization should strive to make its data center a profit center instead of a cost center.
In this endeavor, an organization can establish data center metrics. Energy efficiency metrics and benchmarks facilitate tracking the performance of the data center and identifying potential opportunities that can help minimize energy use in the data center. A ratio called PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) helps minimize the power used for non-computing functions such as cooling and distribution. It is beneficial to have dashboards that depict the analysis of various parameters.
To enhance efficiency, it is not just enough to measure the uptime and availability of the data center. The data center managers need to drive metrics such as power saved, reduced risk, assure availability, skills developed, measurement of ROI, and many more.
A business should invest in highly efficient servers, storage, and network solutions that enable them to maximize the space and minimize the cooling and power costs. Although investing in systems with higher efficiency may seem expensive initially, it will prove to be beneficial in the long run.
The consolidation of data center spaces to a centralized location can enhance efficiency. This is because the focus is on the centralized location instead of several inactive servers that utilize over 50% of the power. The virtualization of servers is an effective way of reducing the number of servers in the data center. This helps minimize the overall server power requirement and reduce the size of the necessary cooling equipment.
Another factor that leads to the inefficiency of data centers is the underutilization of data center assets. The virtualization of storage, servers, and other infrastructure can address this issue.
Using efficient power supplies in data centers helps:
You can enhance the efficiency of your power distribution system by eliminating power conversion steps.
One of the causes of power loss in data center power distribution systems is because of the uninterrupted power supply (UPS). You can minimize this loss is by using a high-efficiency UPS model.
You can also keep a check on the losses by maintaining a high voltage that is as close to the load as feasible.
The air management system of a data center is responsible for minimizing or eliminating the mixing of cooling air supplied to the equipment and hot air ejected from the equipment.
The design of the air management system is critical for the data center. This is because a well-designed air management system can:
Although the methods described above help in enhancing the efficiency of the data center, data center management becomes an uphill task for an organization that has to manage its core business as well. Data center migration is one way to address this issue.
Data center migration is another method that is used for enhancing the efficiency of the data center. Migrating the data center implies physically moving the data center to a new site. Data center migration refers to adopting cloud or managed data services instead of on-site data centers.
When you migrate to the cloud, the cloud service provider manages your storage, servers, and other infrastructure. The service provider sets up these elements. This minimizes your capital expenditure and operational expenses.
Data center migration to the cloud enables a business to use its data center for more productive tasks for the growth of the business. Cloud offers a business the benefit of scalability. A business can easily scale up or down its data capacity according to its varying needs.
In recent times, the concept of colocation of the data center has become quite popular among businesses.
Simply put colocation is a service provided by companies that offers a shared, secure space for an enterprise business to store hardware related to data storage and other equipment.
The system of colocation can be conceptualized as the enterprise customer renting space with the “colo” company to store equipment.
The customer supplies the “colo” company all the equipment it requires for the day-to-day operations. The “colo” company stores the equipment, servers, etc. in a cool and monitored environment, ensuring that the bandwidth needs of the customer are met.
Server colocation has become a preferred option by enterprises because it saves the business a lot of time, cost, and efforts required in maintaining a data center. It frees up their time so that they can focus on their core business.
Although in a colocation, a third party hosts the data center, the business has complete control over the data center. Colocation helps enhance reliability and provide higher levels of bandwidth.
With rising energy costs and a move towards a greener data center, it is necessary for businesses to relook at their data centers as to how they can enhance the efficiency of their data center.
Three solutions that emerge for enhancing the efficiency are: