Data centers consume 1.5% of the electricity produced in the United States and the percentage is increasing. What can be done to make data centers more energy efficient?
According to Ken Brill, 30% of servers could simply be turned off. These servers no longer do anything useful, but nobody was responsible for decommissioning them. (Along the same lines, Brill noted that while preparing for Y2K, companies discovered that half the software they owned didn’t need to be fixed simply because it wasn’t being used.)
After turning off unused equipment, the next thing to do is use more efficient power supplies. Brill said that these power supplies would pay for themselves quickly but are not commonly used.
Show notes from Moira Gunn’s interview with Ken Brill.
Related post: Exascale computing
2 thoughts on “Data center energy efficiency”
Part of the problem is that in today’s large organizations, you are much more likely to be fired for turning off a server that is then later needed, than for leaving one on unnecessarily.
It’s the same reason that politicians avoid answering real questions, and bureaucrats avoid making decisions. The down side is much larger and more likely to occur than the up side.
Another option is turning up the thermostat a few degrees. Intel’s done some work on how cool a data center really needs to be, and I believe that they got away with a completely uncooled (other than fans) data center.
Oooh. Here’s the PDF http://www.intel.com/it/pdf/Reducing_Data_Center_Cost_with_an_Air_Economizer.pdf
They let their test server room temperature vary from 65 to 90 degrees fahrenheit, and everything worked.