A New York Times investigative piece by James Glanz titled "Power, Pollution and the Internet" documented the large amount of energy used by data centers – roughly two percent of all U.S. electricity demand – as well as how much of that energy is wasted by an industry driven by fear. Some highlights:
"Most data centers, by design, consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner... Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid..."
"This is an industry dirty secret, and no one wants to be the first to say mea culpa,” said a senior industry executive who asked not to be identified. “If we were a manufacturing industry, we’d be out of business straightaway."
A crash or a slowdown could end a career, said Michael Tresh, formerly a senior official at Viridity. “Data center operators live in fear of losing their jobs on a daily basis,” Mr. Tresh said, “and that’s because the business won’t back them up if there’s a failure.”
The reaction to the article was instantaneous and diverse. Some end users were taken aback that a forgotten photo album in an old webmail folder, not to mention their daily Facebook usage, was using so much electricity. But the article provided few surprises for people running data centers and shelling out huge monthly payments for the energy consumed.
The article painted data center operators as energy-addicted uptime-at-all-costs obsessives, which isn’t really fair. While uptime is paramount, most data center managers want to achieve optimum availability without spending tons of money. The problem is that a lot of solutions can reduce power consumption, but not enough, and only a few are dynamic enough to match the nature of the facilities they are monitoring.
The cost of cooling a data center is second only to the power it takes to run the servers, and accounts for up to half of overall energy usage because there is a mindset that data centers need to run cold, which just isn't true.
ASHRAE specifications allow for an upper range of 80.6°F. Cooling below this range is wasted money, because your existing cooling resources can likely support more capacity once you stop cooling it like a meat locker. And adding capacity can increase revenue without significant investment.
Vigilent addresses this problem with an Intelligent Energy Management™ system that measures, models and manages a facility's cooling resources with real-time temperature data and artificial intelligence to deliver the right amount of cooling. Vigilent solutions provide an average 40 percent energy savings for global customers including Akamai, the State of California, NTT, and Verizon.
To find out what Vigilent can do to reduce your facility's cooling costs, please provide your contact information in the form to the right and one of our solutions architects will contact you.