Removing A Server Can Cut Energy Bill By £240 A Year

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Energy efficiency should be a high priority for data centre operators according to analyst group Gartner

Data centres are only going to get more expensive to run thanks to increasing environmental legislation and rising energy costs according to analyst Gartner Group.

In a statement to coincide with the company’s data centre conference taking place in Las Vegas next week, Gartner has pointed advice for data centre owners and managers – it’s time to get a grip on costs and efficiency.

“Energy costs are the fastest-rising cost element in the data center portfolio, and yet data center managers are still not paying sufficient attention to the process of measuring, monitoring and modeling energy use in data centers,” said Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner. “They need to realise that removing a single x86 server from a data center will result in savings of more than $400 (£240) a year in energy costs alone.”

To help companies cut some of the costs from their data centres, the analyst company advises measures including rationalising hardware. “This involves taking out those systems that are underutilised or old, or where the workload can be run on more-efficient hardware. Gartner clients have reported that rationalisation and consolidation programs have resulted in 5 percent to 20 percent fewer servers being deployed,” the company said

Consolidating not only the number of servers in the centre – but the actual number of data centres a company owns is another obvious but important step, according to Gartner.” Consolidating multiple sites into a smaller number of larger sites will often result in financial savings,” the analyst advises.

Other measures are focused around energy efficiency according to Gartner including targeting how the data centre is cooled which is one of the major costs in any facility. “Tools and techniques for managing the energy cost curve include: raising the temperature of the data center to around 24 degrees Celsius, which reduces the level of cooling required; using outside air as an alternative to air conditioning where possible; using hot aisle/cold aisle configurations, blanking and economisers; and using server-based energy management software tools to run workloads in the most energy-efficient way,” the analyst explained.

Earlier this year. Gartner released another report explaining how government legislation would soon force data centre owners and IT departments to improve the energy efficiency of their infrastructure, and the company is continuing to push home that message. “Energy management can be effective only through advanced monitoring, modeling and measuring techniques and processes,” the analyst said. “Metrics form the bedrock for internal cost and efficiency programs and Gartner urges data centre managers and IT organisations to make this area a high priority, which will be essential for the adoption of so many new technologies and adherence to government policies.”

Gartner stated that the motivation for green IT planning will shift in 2010 as cost savings become less of a pressure and government legislation such as the CRC in the UK begin to bite. “Reducing costs remains the primary rationale for greening the data centre in 2009. However 2010 and beyond will see corporate social responsibility and government legislation increasingly driving green IT projects and associated investment,” said Gartner managing vice president Matthew Boon in September.

The UK Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) will affect about 5000 large companies, and will come into force in 2010. The legislation has been described as the the world’s first legally binding carbon budget, which aims at achieving an 80 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2050.


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