Seeing Green: Ideas for a Better Data Center

30 Mar

From the FinallyFast Help Desk:

While the “Zeronet” data center (that is, a data center that features net zero energy consumption) may be difficult or impossible to achieve with the systems, budget, or logistics you have in place, IT administrators at all points in the “legacy system” spectrum can take positive steps toward greening up IT infrastructure and saving significant energy costs that impact the bottom line. Here are a few strategies to think about:

Get hip to power management – The simple decision of configuring servers to operate at minimum power levels when not in use can save anywhere from 10% to 20% in data center energy costs. In the green way of doing things, IT admins need to examine downtime as much as they do uptime. Be smart about power management, an essential yet often overlooked tool in your toolbox.

Pay attention to the cooling system – Organizing your server racks according to the hot aisle/cold aisle containment system is a very important step toward exceptional energy efficiency. This involves server racks facing each other (creating “hot aisles”), and an air-conditioning system (complete with raised floor) that takes advantage of this concentration of heat. While it may be a significant expense if your server room is not set up for this configuration, the return of investment can be realized within a few short years.

Junk the legacy systems – The idea of “junking” doesn’t really do your cherished legacy system justice—it’s delivered the company many years of admirable service, and it may in fact be working just fine at the moment. It’s also, of course, a royal pain to think about the massive data transfer to be undertaken with any upgrade. But a generation of new and greener technology is achieving a level of energy efficiency that legacy systems can only dream about. Server upgrade is perhaps the single most impactful item on your list.

Go virtual – Server virtualization is also a key aspect of any green plan, particularly if you are loaded down with tons of outdated information and a variety of legacy systems. By consolidating data and then running more virtual servers on less physical servers, your data center will get smarter and smarter about gobbling up energy.

Get the bosses on board – Dovetailing off of the last point, it’s essential to get the check-cutters enthusiastic and involved with your green IT strategy. Make it a company-wide initiative to evaluate total energy costs and determine the ROI of implementing a green IT strategy. After all, the best way to go green (for the environment) is to get them to go green (for the money)!

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