Improving energy efficiency in datacentres will require a fundamental review of the way IT components consume power, a leading engineering consultant has warned.
Speaking at a Datacentre Dynamics conference last week, Patrick Fogarty, director of engineering at Norman Disney & Young, told delegates that electricity transmission from power stations to individual server components in datacentres was still very inefficient.
Research by Norman Disney & Young found that only 25% of energy entering datacentres reaches core systems.
Fogarty said equipment manufacturers could reduce power usage dramatically by making incremental improvements to tackle the problem, including fine-tuning transformers, UPSs and cooling systems to make optimal use of energy.
"Improving the energy efficiency in the power supply component of a server will result in an overall improvement in electrical consumption within the centre," said Fogarty.
IT directors and datacentre managers are coming under increasing pressure to lower electricity consumption as power costs rise. Many are finding it increasingly hard to source sufficient power in many locations.
Analyst group Gartner has warned that during the next three years most CIOs will experience constraints on datacentre floor space and power that "could limit an IT organisation's ability to grow as the business grows".
Gartner vice-president Rakesh Kumar said that unless the IT industry and users address this issue, in five or six years there could be insufficient electricity supplies to power UK datacentres.
Part of the problem is that modern datacentres are increasingly relying on high-density blade servers, which provide a cost-effective way to add more computing resources without taking up expensive floor space.
But the challenge is to secure enough power to support the rising number of servers the datacentre can handle when using blades.
Richard Edwards of the Butler Group has said the energy density of IT equipment per cubic metre is 20 to 50 times what it was five years ago, and still climbing.
Related article: IBM P-Series offers low power usage
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