Eight tips for a more efficient data centre

Robert L. Mitchell, Computerworld

1. Review your assets. Review the status of all applications and eliminate dead wood by shutting down old servers that aren't needed. This can cut power consumption in some organisations by as much as 30 per cent.

2. Virtualise. Consolidate servers using virtualisation and asset management. Shed servers that are running applications that are no longer used. Virtualisation allows greater utilisation of existing servers.

3. Go green. Specify high-efficiency power supplies for servers in requests for proposals. Ask for systems that deliver a higher performance per watt.

4. Consider DC. Rack systems with centralised DC power cut energy use and heat inside the cabinet by moving power conversion away from servers.

5. Batten down and modernise. Tighten up racks by using blanking plates and sealing holes to prevent air leaks. Consider newer rack designs that optimise airflows.

6. Clean up downstairs. Clear raised-floor passages of cabling or other obstructions to airflow.

7. Go to 208v -- this applies to data centres running on US-style 120v supplies only. Upgrade to more efficient 208-volt, three-phase power, if you haven't already. The higher voltage requires a lower current, which reduces losses. The small savings of one per cent or two per cent add up in a large data centre.

8. Co-ordinate cooling. In data centres with high-density heat loads, consider hiring a professional to measure airflows and correct air conditioning problems. Simply adding more air conditioning doesn't always help.