Category Archives: Data Centers

10 Tips to Make a Data Center More Efficient

 

The concept “Go Green” is increasingly driving businesses towards energy efficiency solutions. Because of that professional data centers are getting more efficient in their use of energy which is essential to implement a series of pragmatic operational measures. One of the first steps is to consider the system of data center as a whole, because the optimization of each element individually brings results lower.

Here is a list of best practices shared by the industry experts from “Schneider Electric” which covers the whole of the system and aid in improving the data center, optimizing them to save energy.

Setting the Hot Aisle / Cold Aisle

The server racks in a data centers should be positioned properly in rows, so that the cheap dedicated servers are positioned face to face. Planning it this way can reduce the energy losses and prolong the life of the servers.

Use of Capacity Management Tools

The capacity management tools aids to minimize the “static capacity” of the data center. It enables data center to install the utmost amount of equipments within the allocated capacity of gross power and cooling, so that they can make the machines to work at the highest levels of its efficiency curve.

Monitoring of Energy Consumption

A data center must depend on instruments to identify conditions that create inefficient electrical consumption, and issue warnings in this regard so that situations of wasted energy can be corrected quickly.

Scheduling Power and Cooling

The proper utilization of scalable power and cooling can increase the efficiency of data centers, small, or are in the early stages of its life cycle. The use of these solutions also avoids capital and operating costs.

Cooling in Row

Planning proper routes to reduce air flow through the “Cooling in Row”, helps in reducing the mixing of streams of cold air and hot air, improving the predictability of air distribution and efficient administration of cold air in the loads when required.

Free Cooling

Free cooling is the most economic mode and a common term that refers to a data center. Although the technologies used in free cooling are not completely free, it can still do much to improve the efficiency of a data center. The free cooling works by utilizing the outside air in colder months of the year, which allows to turn off the automatic cooling systems like floors and compressors and utilizes the ice water at reduced capacity.

High-efficiency UPS Systems

Technologies which currently substantially increases the efficiency and which can be obtained directly from the UPS systems. With a 30% load, the efficiency of UPS systems increases by more than 10% compared to the average of UPS systems currently installed.

Speed Controls Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)

Many devices contained in the data center that run on electric motor working at full speed, even when they provide loads require less capacity. The controls speed variable frequency drives (VFD) help tailor the output of the fans to the load. The engine speed controls these devices and helps to maximize efficiency. Both the software management as thermal sensors (with or without cables) can collaborate in the regulation or control of the VFD devices.

Modular Solutions in Containers

Most of the times, there are physical constraints of the building that limit the scope of energy efficiency that can be achieved through the distribution of power and cooling. Today, many manufacturers build power modules and cooling components in containers that use standard, designed to meet specific values of efficiency in energy use (PUE). These solutions, which are packaged, delivered and installed as modules to adapt to an existing building, can quickly increase the efficiency of data centers in operation.

Containment of Hot Aisle

Hot Aisle Containment System (HACS) allows higher temperatures in workplaces and higher temperatures of ice water, resulting in an increase of operating hours in a profitable way, as well as significant savings in electrical costs.

Source: schneider-electric.com

Creating a Data Center Design for Energy Efficiency

 

When creating a data center design with “Green Connect” in mind, it is highly important to know the way of your approach towards the data center. The approach must be from the perspective of rightsizing the physical infrastructure of your data center.

Keeping the energy efficiency in mind and utilizing the right kind of efficient devices will lead you in building a proper data center design for energy efficiency. Following these data center tips will aid you in making the right decisions and plans for your data center.

Energy Efficiency:

There are several issues that can affect your data center efficiency. Some of them are:

  • Power distribution component running below its full load capacities;
  • Usually, the AC systems are forced to ingest extra energy to run air at high pressures over long regions;
  • Due to N+1 or 2N redundant designs, most of the components are not utilized at their full capacities;
  • Often oversized UPSs are used to avoid operating near capacity limits;
  • Normally, the efficiency of UPS systems is decreased, when they are run at low loads;
  • Due to the underfloor blockages, the cooling devices are forced to work harder which leads to inefficiency.

Configuration of Servers:

Just getting the servers up and live in the data center is not enough, you must ensure that the power saving features are enabled on the web servers. Most of the times, for high availability, IT managers don’t enable the power saving features. Enabling the power saving features will aid in cost saving by reducing energy ingestion and cooling costs.

Layout of Data Center Floor:

The data centers floor layout is one of the important factors that impacts the efficiency of an air conditioning system. Usually, if the airflow is blocked, it won’t be much efficient. If a hot-aisle/cool aisle layout doesn’t fit, likely the data center will lose efficiency. Keep in your mind that when you design a data center, ensure you separate the hot air and cold air systems. Also, be aware of where the air cooling systems overlap in the data center. This should be the ideal location for the equipments that are either very hot or very important.

Floor Ventilation Tiles:

Ventilated tiles are not just to look cool, basically, they are designed to serve airflow. In most of the data centers, floor ventilation tiles are placed incorrectly or either they are insufficient or excessive in numbers. If you do an analysis of airflow patterns in your data center using the CFD (computational fluid dynamics), you will see that there is much more you can optimize in your data center. Most importantly, you can optimize the cool-airflow of your data center. This way you can install the ventilation tiles in the best locations.

There are many examples, where placing the proper amount of vented tiles in the right locations have reduced the cooling costs of data centers by 25%. Also, some vendors in market can help you with using the CFD for proper placement of tiles.

A data center design consists a lot of equipments that are essential for the ensuring continuity of the data center services. For example, a small thing like locating the vented floor tiles properly can help you in big cost-savings. However, the best way you can optimize a data center is by utilizing exactly what you need.

Rightsizing the data center infrastructure plays a significant role in the energy ingestion. Whether you have a data center or not, the power and cooling system expenses will always be there. Small organization that doesn’t have huge IT loads, won’t see any impact by their IT department. However, the power and cooling expenses will rise, when the II loads gets larger. The best way to rightsize the data center is via server consolidation and virtualization.

One more thing to keep in mind when creating a data center design is the fact that as your customer base will grow, so your data center. So, design your data center keeping the future expansion in mind.

Google Data Centers Using Recycled Water for Cooling

 

Google has made an eco-friendly data center in Georgia (USA). The U.S. Company Google Inc., which has data centers around the world, has taken a big step with the use of recycled water system that cools its facilities, which is less harmful to the environment.

The data centers require a large amount of electricity and need constant cooling to ensure operation. Some methods employ cooling electricity using waste heat for cooling appliances. Although this is an efficient way to achieve cooling systems, pollution produced is too high. So some companies are experimenting with new formulas less aggressive cooling with the surroundings.

Google has reached an agreement with the leaders of the sewerage system in the area to create this system and have the key to use 100% recycled water in their data center. The system is simple: the plant area that cleans water used and forwards it to the Chattahoochee River helped build a small treatment plant west of the center of Google, who lures the search facilities of up to 30% of treated water.

In the ecological center of Google in Georgia, the cooling system is based on evaporation but unlike other data centers that use this model they use recycled water. The wastewater comes after passing through a water treatment plant to the data center, there to cool the systems and is expelled after serving their function, again outside. Their return to the water cycle occurs as steam, after passing through cooling towers.

The water that has evaporated during the cooling process is sent to a wastewater treatment plant facilities located in the data center. There is again treated water to disinfect, remove solid minerals and send back to the river.

According to organizers of Google, its data centers use half the energy they depend usual free cooling chillers instead of mechanical.

A data center can use thousands of gallons of water a day. When Google began using its data center in Georgia in 2007, the drinking water was used for cooling. “At Google we have been working for years in order to maximize the efficiency of our servers and our data center designs, in order to minimize the footprint of energy consumed by our data centers.” says Joe Kava, director of construction and operations.

“We place our data centers in places where we can maximize the natural cooling and minimize the amount of what they call ‘mechanical cooling’. We do not want to take away drinking water to communities in which we stand, and we use recycled water, “says Kava.

Technology companies increasingly need more energy, so you need to build more data centers. Now many large companies have been pressed to the growing demand from users to reduce pollution and energy use. A good example of this is Facebook, which has recently been criticized for saying that they would use the services of Pacific Power, whose energy comes from carbon emissions, one of the ways to get more dirty electricity there.

The trend for large companies to use greener ways of working is increasing, so probably begin to emerge more innovative ideas to leverage resources.

Google’s Tips to Increase the Energy Efficiency of Data Centers

The data centers where information is stored in the cloud are large facilities where the wastes of energy and resources consumptions are high. Here are some steps by Google to increase the energy efficiency of these data centers with ecological measures, which mainly have to do with the cooling of the servers.

The second conference of efficiency in data centers, hosted by Google in Zurich, Switzerland, brought together more than 150 professionals to focus the discussion of energy conservation.

The substantial increases are getting the services in the cloud leads to greater use of data centers, where information is stored. For a better and more efficient use of these facilities Google has provided simple five steps.

1. Measure PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness)

When you are unable to manage what is not measured, so it is necessary to know the efficiency of the data center. It is important to measure levels frequently. Google gives the example within a second. There are seasonal variations.

2. Manage Airflow

The air flow management is essential for efficiency in a data centre. One can minimize mixing of hot and cold air to a suitable container design. It is necessary to eliminate hot spots.

3. Adjust the Thermostat

Raise the temperature of the cold corridor section. Most manufacturers allow you to reach up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (about 26.7 degrees). Eventually this energy saves greenery.

4. Use Free Cooling

The “Free Cooling” is a cooling technique that removes heat from the facilities without using chillers. This is done using the ambient air, when temperature is low the water evaporates. The coolers are the most energy-intensive resources when it comes to controlling heat levels.

5. Optimize Energy Distribution

It’s a good option to try to minimize energy losses by eliminating the more conversion steps as possible. One of the biggest holes in the data center with regard to energy distribution of the UPS comes from continuous energy supply. You must specify a highly efficient model.

Data Centers Become More Efficient

 

The strong energy dependence and the high intensity of use of these resources in data centers (DPC) have forced players to raise these market consolidation strategies in their data centers, in order to contain and reduce the energy consumption of occupation server’s on their infrastructure. One of the strategies employed is virtualization is defined as the partition a physical server into several virtual servers, also called virtual private servers. Although this concept has been used since 1960 and has been applied to different aspects and areas of computing – from full to capacity computer systems or individual components – is now gaining ground.

The most important benefit of virtualization is that it allows to significantly reducing physical server sprawl, resulting in a significant reduction of costs, space and resources. Therefore, this technology allows companies to optimize costs based on server hardware, both equipment and operating costs, while at the same time greatly increases the flexibility of data centers.

Similarly, in the mid-market, virtualization is a model of efficiency and cost savings at all levels indicated. “The simplification of systems and better use of resources allows for an optimization of time and costs applicable to competitive advantages and improvements in the infrastructure of organizations that opt for this route.

“The customers demand greater concern for the safety and reliability that customers of other countries and try their online presence is secure.” To implement a virtualized data centers, manufacturers recommend the use of different methodologies and best practices based on the objective you want to achieve.

When performing a virtualization project, three major phases should be considered: “Planning is a photo of the computing capacity of the DPC, with inventory servers, applications and use of the latter, we discover. What the candidates to be virtualized applications and hardware suitable for use as physical machines; Development and Migration, develop the hardware virtualization and migration occurs through tools that convert current virtual machines, and Operation, through management tools, monitoring procedures incorporating both a physical and virtual machines from the same console. “

Beyond virtualization and server consolidation as resources for energy savings, some companies like NTT Europe Online use a system that compensates CO2 emissions caused by the electricity used by the so-called carbon credits.

Calculating the Efficiency

Another important aspect to consider within a DPC is to calculate the fuel efficiency of its servers and equipment necessary to feed and refrigerate.

“It is elementary to calculate the overall efficiency of DPC, particularly with regard to energy, as the greatest waste is in the transformation of the electricity supplied by utilities to AC so you can have a supply to servers with high availability guaranteed by UPS. This measure is called PUE (Power Usage Efficiency), defined as the ratio of each watt is needed to power a computer on DPC and the amount of watts that need to be taken from the mains. The smaller this ratio is the more efficient use of energy, because the losses in the process from generation to delivery are lower. While PUE in a typical data center is greater than four, the specialized firms have set acceptable ratio of three.

To get a lower PUE rate this has to be to improve the efficient use of resources, both from the power supply, as the DPC and their own IT equipment. It is in the data center – much more than on the servers – where more professional management of energy resources improves the efficiency of its use. “

Replacing traditional servers and other blade servers for ultra-dense equipment has also led to cooling again become valuable asset, like power consumption, since electricity prices are soaring. “There is so much energy savings, but the optimization of this resource is so scarce and expensive. In that sense, the proper management of cooling the heat emitted by these new computers and servers saves considerable energy. However, cooling the data centers that are not designed to house racks of dedicated servers like these, is an additional energy cost, so designing efficient DPC is becoming a lucrative area of knowledge, which requires knowledge extensive and specialized cooling systems, uninterruptible power supply and physics on heat dissipation.

Many companies tend to react to this aspect, as yet unknown, with excessive measures and investments in oversized systems with high costs. Already, the electric charge generated by a server over its useful life exceeds the cost.