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FCW : August 15, 2014
When one reads "data center" and "energy ef ciency" in the same sentence, it is often in reference to companies such as Facebook or Google and their investments in green computing. The typical data center, however, has yet to absorb the conservation practices of the top-tier energy savers. The ongoing task of powering up and cooling down a data center continues to consume plenty of kilowatt-hours, so there s ample room for improvement in most com- puter rooms. "A lot of the federal facilities and the private industry facilities have been slow to adopt the changes that some of the big players have done," said William Tschudi, leader of the High Tech and Industrial Sys- tems Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Tschudi s group was recently des- ignated the Energy Department s Center of Expertise for energy ef - ciency in data centers. Part of the center s mission is to provide tools, best practices and technologies to help federal agencies improve their energy ef ciency. Although data center leaders have heeded the ef ciency message, other facilities have yet to adopt their techniques on a widespread basis. "A lot of that hasn t trickled down to the main mar- ket," Tschudi said. "We are trying to get the whole market to move." Data centers can avail themselves of an array of energy- saving practices. Industry-accepted environmental guidelines now tolerate higher temperature and humidity levels in data centers, which opens the way for more cooling options than were previously viable, including "free" methods such as evaporative cooling and emerging techniques such as immersion cooling. Other methods look for energy savings in nontraditional areas such as server-to-server communications. Such innovations, combined with more prosaic approaches to trim- ming energy use, add up to poten- tially massive savings. Why it matters Concerns about the data center power drain are not new. A 2007 Environmental Protection Agency report states that U.S. servers and data centers consumed some 61 bil- lion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electric- ity in 2006 --- or 1.5 percent of the nation s total electricity consump- tion. Federal data centers accounted for 10 percent, or 6 billion kWh of electricity, at an annual cost of $450 million, according to the report. Last year, the Digital Power Group reported that the world s informa- tion and communications technol- ogy (ICT) sector consumes about 1,500 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, an amount comparable to the total electricity generation of Japan and Germany. The report contends that the ICT ecosystem s consumption approaches 10 percent of worldwide electricity generation. Data center innovation: New ways to save energy BY JOHN MOORE Revised thermal standards and an array of cooling techniques promise to reverse the data center power drain 26 August 15, 2014 FCW.COM ExecTe c h DATA CENTER POWER DRAIN BY THE NUMBERS 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity were consumed by U.S. servers and data centers in 2006. 6 billion kWh of electricity were consumed by federal data centers. $450 million was the annual cost for federal data centers' energy consumption.
July 30, 2014
August 30, 2014