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Nontraditional Ways to Cut Data Center Power Costs

cut costs in the data centerWhen it comes to cutting the cost of power in the data center, the first thing that usually comes to mind is fairly dramatic measures. You think about new, high-efficiency cooling systems. You think about swapping out servers for newer ones with low-power CPU. And, while those kinds of steps will certainly save you money, in some cases they can require so much upfront capital as to make them more expensive overall.

Fortunately, there are other ways you can cut data center power costs. Let’s take a look at some nontraditional methods you might think about using:

•    Turn up the thermostat. Sure, conventional wisdom tells you that the data center needs to be at 68 degrees or below. This is supposed to help extend the life of your equipment, give you more of a response window if the cooling system fails, and increase performance. However, there are those challenging the conventional wisdom. Google’s energy czar, Bill Weihl, suggests a new threshold of 80 degrees, with only minor modifications to how air flows through the data center.

•    Turn off some servers. Virtualization lets you be agile in your capacity, and lets you increase utilization. However, having extra servers up and running creating a power drain on the data center significantly cuts into potential savings. Simply powering down servers when they’re not needed can cut power costs greatly. And, with newer, faster server startup times, even when a server needs to come online to increase capacity it shouldn’t impact service levels significantly.

•    Use natural cooling. If you’re in a climate that has cool temps, you can actually bypass chillers during certain portions of the year simply by pulling in the outside air into the data center. This requires some modifications, such as ducts that will bring the air in, as well as filters and moisture traps, but it can greatly reduce power consumption over the life of the data center.

•    Turn data center heat into environmental heating. Push those BTUs from the data center into office spaces. Here again, all that’s required is a little bit of HVAC expertise and you can integrate that excess heat into your building’s temperature control system.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.