Power-saving design for efficient cost-effective data center infrastructure

Learn how to get optimal power savings from your data center UPS, as well as boost data center energy efficiency through server and storage consolidation.

In India, power cuts are very frequent and may even last for hours at a time. Most of the organizations end up spending a lot on power due to this, except in certain locations like Mumbai. In such a scenario, a power-efficient data center should be the topmost priority of any IT team when it comes to power infrastructure design.

Atul Bansal
Atul Bansal

Having said that, the power-saving strategy to be adopted depends on whether an organization has plans to implement new infrastructure or upgrade the old one. Once you keep that in mind, it's possible to minimize power consumption without productivity compromises. One of the best ways to save power is to go for server consolidation.

Once your organization opts for server consolidation, it's essential to first assess aspects such as the current utilization of servers and applications, as well as criticality of servers. Keep in mind both the CPU utilization as well as overall utilization.

Apart from the above mentioned aspects, thought should be given to the space requirement as well. Once these things are combined, go forward with the initiative.

You will find that the servers consume the largest amount of power. If you are able to reduce hardware, only then is it possible to reduce the power consumption. The next aspect to consider is the number of users and routers.

To take an example, SMIFS Securities Ltd. recently went in for server virtualization in an attempt to reduce power consumption. SMIFS' server size is now down from 20 physical servers to just four physical servers. SMIFS also plans to move its desktops into a virtualization environment.

The call of whether you require a clustered UPS is largely dependent on your specific industry vertical. Hardware design plays an important role in this decision.

Storage consolidation

After server consolidation is over, you need to take care of storage consolidation. This call should be taken after consideration of aspects such as your company's data size and the data growth per annum.

SMIFS has consolidated its storage with a storage area network. Data deduplication is another technology that addresses the power problem. With data deduplication in place, you face lower storage space requirements and reduce the cost of disk expenditures.

UPS solution and positioning

Placement of your uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system plays a very important role when it comes to reducing your data center's power consumption. However, the call of whether you require a clustered UPS is largely dependent on your specific industry vertical. Hardware design plays an important role in this decision.

Normally, the UPS should not be within the server room due to the magnetic field. This helps a lot, since you can achieve power savings of almost 70 percent. Simple calculations concerning aspects like the hardware being used and consumed watts, and converting these factors into per-day unit conversion, help a lot.

The basic thing to keep in mind when you go in for a UPS solution is the power supply's reliability and availability in the organization's location(s). Thus, in places with more instances of power cuts, a generator is also needed along with the UPS. Though the power supply is not a problem as such in Mumbai, SMIFS still has four hours of backup.

When you look for the right vendor for these solutions, always consider the vendor's credibility, financial status in the market and international clients. Also, you definitely can't afford to forget its pricing nor its support infrastructure in India. Going in for ways to reduce carbon emission is another way to combat the power crisis.

The cooling front

Normal data centers usually keep their cooling temperature at 16 degrees Celsius. However, we kept the cooling temperature for SMIFS' data center at 22-23 degrees after studying various white papers and articles.

It's always best to take specialist advice to determine the required cooling, especially if you need to target hotspots. Thus, it's all about insightful planning and executing it with the right solutions when it comes to building power efficient infrastructure in a land of power scarcity.

(As told to Jasmine Desai, Principal Correspondent, SearchDataCenter.in.)

Read more on Datacentre cooling infrastructure

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