Thursday, February 22, 2007

Reducing Data Center Power Consumption

When it comes to data center power, less is clearly more. By reducing the amount of energy their data centers consume, companies can take a burden off electricity suppliers, protect the environment and increase their profits.

Many in the data center industry have already seen the light when it comes to reducing power usage. Technology companies are developing more efficient hardware, researchers are re-evaluating the possibility of converting to DC-power, electricity companies are offering financial incentives for data centers that significantly reduce their energy use, and corporations are revamping their data centers for maximum power efficiency.

This past December, Congress lent further support to the movement to reduce data center power consumption when it passed H.R. 5646 into law. The legislation calls upon the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to analyze the consumption of data center power by the federal government and private enterprises.

According to a report by Eric Bangeman of Ars Technica:

“The EPA’s study will fall under the auspices of its Energy Star program, which promotes the use of energy-efficient products. As part of the investigation, it will also consider incentives to encourage the deployment of more energy-efficient hardware in data centers.” The new legislation will help to raise awareness of data center power consumption and will spur the development of additional energy-saving solutions.

The government’s support of energy-efficient data centers creates a winning situation for everyone involved. The increased availability of Energy Star-rated technology, introduction of government-backed incentive programs, and growing public support for energy conservation make the decision to switch to energy-efficient technology an easy one.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Computer Room Design Tips

Computer rooms are an important component of the overall data center environment. Their purpose is to shelter network and server infrastructure as well as their related cabling, otherwise known as the computer room’s critical load.

In creating a secure and efficient computer room design, special consideration must be given to good planning and the implementation of the right technologies. The success of your design is dependent on the long-term scalability, flexibility and availability of your facility. Here are some computer room design tips to help your business optimize network performance, achieve its long-term availability goals and avoid costly problems in your computer room:

In any mission critical environment, it’s important to provide adequate, scalable power for the load. Comprehensive load studies can produce a reasonable estimate of your facility’s power requirements. Once you’ve assessed the power needs of your computer room, conceptual and detailed planning can go forward.

To design a computer room cooling system that operates effectively, you need a firm understanding of the amount of heat produced by the equipment contained in the enclosed space, along with the heat produced by other heat sources, such as conduction from adjacent spaces. Be sure to account for factors such as ceiling height, access floor depth, equipment layout and overall heat load.

The design and construction of your computer room should meet the current technological needs of your business, while allowing for expansion along with the changing technology and business landscape. The use of modular systems, where the characteristics of the modules are known and the steps to add more modules are simple, is an excellent strategy to address growth without major disruptions.

High-availability is accomplished by providing redundancy for all, major and minor, systems, thereby eliminating single points of failure. By installing additional resources for system redundancy, hardware upgrades can be handled without fear of network failures. Incorporate redundant systems into your initial computer room design and continue to do so as your facility expands or upgrades its technology.

After your computer room is complete, the job of monitoring the IT and support infrastructure begins. Computer room monitoring is the vital last line of defense in achieving a high availability environment. When evaluating monitoring systems, look for solutions that are cost effective, easy-to-use, designed with intuitive alarming and escalation methodologies, and built to provide robust reporting all from a central, secure, locations.