A data center is an essential part of today’s economy but has also become a huge drain on our energy resources. With the booming growth of cloud computing, HPC, AI, & Micro Data Centers, to name a few, this trend is not leaving anytime soon.
What can data center & facility managers do to decrease energy consumption? How can they drop TCO while making the data center sustainable and greener? The answer is optimizing airflow and cooling optimization for new and previous data centers, with typical ROI results of about one year or less.
By design, they are willing to replace Cloud Computing services & the Green data center investment in which they can be more environmentally friendly than the onsite IT infrastructure. Economies of scale make it happen for data center operators to give companies the same IT services that used to run on corporate servers while decreasing energy consumption significantly.
According to a Pike Research report, by this year, cloud computing could have helped cut the global IT CO2 footprint by as much as 38%. However, these figures depended on creating highly efficient data centers, so the question is this: Are we supplying these energy-efficient data centers, or have we lost sight of our environmental responsibilities?
Why is Optimizing the Airflow in a Data Center Important?
Because data center operators can spend up to 40% of their energy on cooling their potential to the optimal operating temperature, it’s critical to ensure that the cooling apparatus operates at peak efficiency. Airflow management is an important part of keeping the operations of the cooling system well organized.
Strategies to Optimize your Airflow:
Many techniques can get used to optimize the airflow in a data center. The most crucial factor is that DC is appropriately designed with airflow optimization. Some solutions to optimizing your airflow are below:
Placement of Cooling Units
Place the cooling units where the airflow can efficiently reach all parts of the DC.
Hot / Cold Aisle Equipment Configuration
It will allow the hot Air from the back of the cabinets to contain and return to the cooling unit via a return air plenum. The cool Air from the cooling unit is also given from under the raised floor to the front of the equipment cabinets. It helps eliminate hot and cold Air from mixing and takes advantage of natural convection.
Raised Floor Congestion
Reconfiguring under-floor cabling to elevated cable trays eliminates congestion and allows better air movement under the raised floor. Separating unused cables & bundling the remaining cables can also assist airflow under the raised floor.
Perforated Tile Placement
Putting perforated raised floor tiles in the correct location depending upon the heat load demand from the IT equipment.
Temperature / Air Flow Monitoring
Constant temperature and airflow monitoring allow the DC operator to react quickly to changing site conditions.
Hot / Cold Aisle Restriction
Depending upon the configuration of the data center, hot aisle or cold aisle restrictions can greatly increase the cooling unit’s efficiency.
Advantages of Data Center Energy Efficiency by Optimizing your Airflow
- The greatest benefit to optimizing your data center airflow will be lower cooling costs. By evenly distributing cold Air in the DC, hot spots will be reduced, avoiding the need to install temporary or portable cooling units.
- Optimized airflow will allow a DC operator to review the temperature setpoint of the facility and possibly increase it. It will allow greater energy savings while preventing IT equipment from overheating.
- Another advantage of having optimized airflow is that DC operators can raise their power density per rack without the threat of hot spot introduction.
Creation of Sustainable Energy-Efficient Data Centers Design
As businesses migrate their data and IT services to the cloud, the need for more sustainable data centers has accelerated. As companies move their corporate IT infrastructures partially or wholly to the cloud in ever-increasing numbers, traditional and hyper-scale data center operators must follow the efficient design and operating principles.
While traditional data centers have decreased energy usage by nearly 50% over the last six years, hyper-scale data centers now use twice as much energy as they were in 2015.
Unfortunately, it’s incomprehensible whether these figures reflect the growth of hyper-scale data centers without the capability to analyze this data at a more granular level. Or, in other words, whether such data centers are inherently less efficient than their regular counterparts. The main driving factor is increased demand, but hyper-scale data center operators may be reluctant to adopt environmentally friendly practices.
Suppose the Data Center’s energy efficiency improvements in its hardware & infrastructure continue apace. In that case, it should be possible to accommodate a 60% increase in demand for both traditional and hyper-scale data center services over the next 12 months without increasing energy consumption. But to achieve this feat, data center operators must follow energy-efficient design principles.
Energy-efficient Data Centers are Cool
Cooling technology solutions are an integral component of data centers’ energy efficiency, as reflected in the energy saving that Fujitsu recently achieved in two of its Australian data centers. By optimizing airflow & reconfiguring CRAC units, following the analysis of environmental data collected by wireless sensors, a 48% energy consumption can be reduced.
Fujitsu’s electricity saved by the measures implemented was equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 350 average households, so it’s not difficult to imagine the potential for significant energy and cost savings that cooling technology offers.
Perhaps the most inspiring point to note about this special exercise in Green data center investment is that there was no need to install any additional components to realize the cost and energy savings.
Regarding the cost savings in this particular case, the reduced energy consumption led to a saving of $230,000 on annual electricity usage across just two data centers in Australia.
Considering the substantial expenditure that data center operators assign to cooling their facilities and the ever-increasing energy expenditure, it’s even more important that DCs operate at peak efficiency. Data Center Energy Efficiency by Airflow optimization is critical to achieving a PUE within industry standards and reducing operating costs.