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5 Tips To Increase Efficiency Of A Data Center

Feb 19, 2013

5 Tips: Increase the Efficiency of a Data Center

With energy consumption on the radar of all businesses, take these 5 tips as stepping stones in your quest to make your own business more energy efficient. These are meant as rudimentary guidelines only, and for official tips, strategies, and official documents related to the subject, refer to Energy Star's homepage for Data Center Efficiency.

  1. Virtualization: Though ‘Cloud Computing’ and ‘SaaS’ are all the hype these days, the benefits of virtualization are still relevant to many businesses. The consolidation of independent, standalone servers into one physical sever is a better use of computing resources. The addition of a hypervisor allows you to divide the machines into tangible parts that can have separate uses. You can host a database server, web server, and print server on the same box by using a hypervisor to virtually manage the different functions. By putting multiple operating systems on the same box (and reducing your physical machine count) and operating more efficiently, you can reduce energy costs from 10-40% on average.
  2. Energy Star Advantage: Certain server models (that are certified by ENERGY STAR) may use up to 30% less energy than a traditional workhorse server. You can find a list of Enterprise Servers that are certified by ES on this page. 
  3. Hot Aisles/Cold Aisles: As you probably know, IT equipment typically takes cold air from the front of the unit and dispels it from the back. Since this is a consistent architecture, you can formulate your server racks to maximize your energy potential. Position several servers in the same direction to create cool aisles, and place hotter servers in line to be the beneficiary of the cooler air. A worst case scenario involves an intake (or front of server) receiving external heat from other servers that are placed behind it. Streamline your servers to keep organized and to stay cool. One important note, never move server equipment without shutting down all of the power sources, as well as unplugging all of the cables for safety. The following chart shows the ideal setup for a “Hot/Cold Aisle”. (photo credit to  aisles
  4. Management of Air Flow: While related to hot/cold aisles, also implement ‘blanking panels’ to cover open areas to ensure that air will pass through the equipment. Dell defines these blanking panels as “a way to cover unused rack space in the front of a rack, resulting in improved airflow to the installed equipment and reducing internal hot-air circulation within the rack”. In terms of the industry, utilization of blanking panels has long been considered a ‘best’ practice. Be sure to check your servers and make certain that you’ve established an efficient flow dynamic.  Check out Dell’s white paper for a more thorough analysis on the subject of blanking panels, viewable here.
  5. Air Side Economizer: By taking advantage of the local environment, you may be able to reduce energy consumption by installing an air-side economizer. If your data center is located in a hot climate, periods of rain or cool evenings are useful environmental conditions to take advantage of. The Air-Side economizer is integrated into the air handling system and is a professional installation. For more information on Air-Side economizers, please visit:

Download our FREE E-Book For more information on temperature control and other monitoring points for your data center enviornment, including additional tips on efficiency and the varying temperature conditions in your server room.

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