11 Best Practices to Save on Data Centre Power

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Data centre managers could save millions of kilowatt hours annually by implementing 11 best practices, says analyst company Gartner. Most of these projects can be completed with little or no budget or effort. Here’s the list of 11 power-saving practices.

Here is Gartner’s list of green IT best practices for data centre managers:

Plug holes in the raised floor: Most raised-floor environments exhibit cable holes, conduit holes and other breaches that allow cold air to escape and mix with hot air. This single low-tech retrofit can save as much as 10 percent of the energy used for data centre cooling.

Install blanking panels: Any unused position in a rack needs to be covered with a blanking panel to manage airflow in a rack by preventing the hot air leaving one piece of equipment from entering the cold-air intake of other equipment in the same rack. When the panels are used effectively, supply air temperatures are lowered by as much as 22 degrees Fahrenheit, greatly reducing the electricity consumed by fans in the IT equipment and potentially alleviating hot spots in the data centre.

Coordinate CRAC units: Older CRAC (computer room air-conditioning) units operate independently with respect to cooling and dehumidifying the air. These units should be tied together with newer technologies so that their efforts are coordinated, or managers should remove humidification responsibilities from them altogether and place those responsibilities on a newer piece of technology.

Improve underfloor airflow: Older data centres typically have constrained space underneath the raised floor that is not only used for the distribution of cold air, but also has served as a place for data cables and power cables. Many old data centre’s have accumulated such a tangle of these cables that airflow is restricted, so the underfloor should be cleaned out to improve airflow.

Implement hot aisles and cold aisles: In traditional data centres, racks were set up in what is sometimes referred to as “classroom style,” where all the intakes face in a single direction. This arrangement causes the hot air exhausted from one row to mix with the cold air being drawn into the adjacent row, thereby increasing the cold-air-supply temperature in uneven and sometimes unpredictable ways. Newer rack layout practices instituted in the past 10 years demonstrate that organising rows into hot aisles and cold aisles is better for controlling the flow of air in the data centre.

Install sensors: A small number of individual sensors can be placed in areas where temperature problems are suspected. Simple sensors store temperature data that can be manually collected and transferred into a spreadsheet, where it can be further analysed. Even this minimal investment in instrumentation can provide great insight into the dynamics of possible data centre temperature problems and can provide a method for analyzing the results of improvements made to data centre cooling.

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