Monday, 12 August 2013

Striking the Perfect Balance in the Data Centre



When creating the ideal data centre environment it is important to find the perfect balance between power and cooling. A constant supply of power enables your IT assets to continue driving business and is therefore vital for profit generation. Cooling is equally as important as it keeps the equipment from overheating, but has the opposite effect as the costs required to maintain the temperature of a data centre can guzzle profits. Clearly it makes business sense to limit this unproductive aspect.

Historically, the data centre industry mind-set has been ‘keep cool at all costs,’ however the latest advice from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) suggests that data centre managers should actually increase the temperature by as little as one degree to save power and reduce cooling costs by 4-5 per cent. Less cooling means less energy is used and the data centre becomes a more energy efficient environment. Unfortunately this option is still being met with reluctance.

Another route to consider is to focus on the power aspect of the business by turning off idle servers. Servers that are simply switched on can generate 60 per cent of heat, meaning that many organisations are paying to cool dormant assets.

Intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) can monitor energy consumption, allowing data centre managers to identify the racks that can be switched off. The best intelligent PDUs can also tolerate temperatures as high as 60°C, whereas most standard PDUs can only handle 45°C.

It’s human nature to be reluctant to change, but for an industry that has researched power and cooling extensively, it needs to get better at embracing change. While there isn’t a specific solution that will solve all power and cooling problems, a series of small and gradual changes will help. As the saying goes, ‘if you search for something new, you might find something better.’ So what have data centre managers got to lose?

This post was written byEddie Desouza, Global head of marketing and communications, Enlogic http://www.enlogic.com/

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