Blog Action Day: The server power double whammy

Servers are getting faster and faster, consuming more and more power, producing more and more heat. Removing heat from the data centre uses even more power.

According to a November 2006 Gartner report, over 60% of total data centre power consumption is spent cooling the data centre environment.

Making the cooling system less power hungry would be the best bet. Unfortunately, significantly lowering the power consumption of air-conditioning units is very difficult.

The alternative is to avoid the problem in the first place. If your servers don’t generate as much heat, then your air-con units won’t have to work so hard.

How can you help reduce the heat generated from your servers?

  • “Low” power servers/blades are available from a number of manufacturers;
  • Virtualization can help reduce server count and help optimise the remaining ones;
  • Improve your server power management so that unused servers go into power save mode, consuming less power, and consequently requiring less cooling;
  • Carefully control the temperature of your data centre, if the temperature is too high you can damage your equipment, conversely, if the temperature is too low, you are wasting power.

Data centre vendors are at the beginning of taking power consumption seriously. You, the data centre professional, are in the driving seat. If you buy equipment that consumes less power, then vendors will have a great reason to continue innovating. If sales are lacklustre, then vendors will hang back.

Over to you…