Data Centers are the powerhouses, whose engines are pumping blood through the arteries of global economy, while in the interim consuming a huge amount of energy. As much as we are depending on the data centers they are becoming convalescent towards energy efficiency as its scale is extraordinary.
The demand for data center capacity in the US grew enormously over the last five years, on the other hand, total data center energy consumption grew only inappreciably. As per the study, these energy efficiency improvements will have saved 620 billion kWh between 2010 and 2020.
But the question is will efficiency be the final answer? When at one end, data centers have cut out their energy consumption, on the other end, there are still software running in the highly inefficient data centers, small and mid-size enterprise IT facilities built a decade ago or even prior to the support applications for hospitals, banks, insurance companies, etc. There are energy problems the data center industry will have to face in the near future.
Well, the situation explains the need of improvement in the data center energy efficiency. Rather, it is the utmost need of the time. The function and objectives of a data center revolves around providing a secure physical space, ensuring the availability of power and environmental operating conditions best fit for the reliable operation of the IT equipment. Furthermore, there is a range of complex business and technical issues which interact that can affect the design, on the same time, the present and future operating conditions over the operating life of the data center. Ergo, to fulfill the IT equipment environmental requirements as they continue to broaden in the future will remain an important factor for data centers to be efficient.
Ways to Lessen the Use of Energy
What organizations can do is they can follow the ASHRAE thermal guidelines best fit for their business requirements. The hyperscale Internet and cloud service providers have different requirements and so they can use custom hardware made specifications. Obviously, the environmental specifications of that equipment may even be greater than the current A4 and so how to cool them will be a big decision. This is the reason that no particular recommended way can be helpful, as it will vary according to the data center’s cooling system’s energy efficiency.
Some of us will say that the governmental regulation is the best fit when it comes to improve energy efficiency, let it affect the cost of building or operating cost of any type of building, counting data centers. Some of the others will say and agree that the inherent supporters of energy efficiency yet recognize that over-passionate and prescriptive mandatory measures are not the best one among all the methods, just because it can hamper this process.
Going totally other way, the traditional enterprise data centers colocation and cloud service providers are highly competitive businesses. Just because the TCO model they are following, congenitally drives them to improve their energy efficiency wherever possible. The cost of energy or local tax incentives and customer’s market demands, and their own strategic technical and business objectives, are some of the other factors organizations can look after while making the decision. Forasmuch as, organizations should have the liberty and ability to build their facilities as per the customers need, and use whatever designs that will enable them to adapt to the best and most cost effective use of local conditions and resources.
The Future of the Industry
When it comes to the future aspect, the data center industry has to look forward to the looming 4th edition of the TC9.9 Thermal Guidelines and the culmination of the 90.4 and 90.1 standards. Nevertheless, it is changing when it comes to historic industry practices that have inhibited many enterprise data centers from increasing their operating temperatures, due to perceived risk.
The greater understanding and interaction of facilities and IT operational management domains will prove to be beneficial to everyone. In this way, they can permit more power to be used for IT hardware, at the same time less for cooling the facility. In this way, the data centers can achieve the ultimate energy efficiency target by allowing the data center to install more IT equipment and computing capacity, without augmenting the total power used by the site.
Thus and so, data centers can improve the energy efficiency by incorporating the best fit guidelines for them.