A recent study by McKinsey & Co. predicted that data centers will surpass the airline industry as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 and called for data centers to double their energy efficiency by 2012. TrendPoint projects that by implementing only a part of its plan — focused on managing cooling costs — data centers can reduce energy cooling costs by a third or more.
TrendPoint’s Four Point Plan
The four point plan from TrendPoint provides a comprehensive approach for actively monitoring and managing energy use in data centers in order to help companies tackle this urgent problem. The plan will enable companies to set and manage energy budgets at the user and departmental level, allowing them to comply with proposed regulations on energy emissions, such as those slated for enforcement in the Western United States and Canadian Provinces by 2012. This group has established the Western Climate Initiative to follow the lead of the U.K. and other European countries in establishing “cap and trade” regulations on energy use. Businesses that comply will be able to trade their energy savings on the open market in an “energy exchange.”
According to Bob Hunter, CEO of TrendPoint, it is critical that data centers get control of their energy use, especially as these new regulations loom that will require energy and carbon reductions. Reducing energy use will be especially difficult, given the rapid increases in server processing power, resulting in more power consumption, and a greater demand for cooling in data centers.
“Data centers will soon be hit with a ‘perfect storm’ in terms of coal and natural gas driven utility cost increases coupled with the new carbon caps. These sites already have energy densities that are ten times greater than that of commercial office buildings, and their energy use is doubling every four years. The combination of rising energy usage coupled with significant electricity price increases and carbon caps creates a very troubling picture for data centers. Companies need a complete solution to deal with this pending crisis and that is exactly what we provide. We’ve taken a comprehensive approach to the issue, giving data center owners and users the ability to set energy budgets and the tools to manage their energy efficiency over both the short and long term. That’s the only way to take control of this rapidly accelerating problem.”
TrendPoint’s Four Point Plan for “Green Data Centers”
TrendPoint recommends a four-point plan for companies interested in dramatically cutting their energy costs if all elements of the plan are implemented cohesively. An overview of the plan can be found on the TrendPoint web site at www.trendpoint.com. (PDF Format) The plan includes:
- Set an energy budget – In the same way that companies set and manage travel and other line-item budgets, data centers need to be able to set energy and carbon budgets that can be broken down among users, departments and sites TrendPoint is unique in offering each user and group a secure view of their energy and carbon usage Companies can then set budgets and give each user access to manage their individual energy and carbon usage against assigned metrics. Co-location facilities, in particular, need to be able to provide each customer with the ability to manage their own energy and carbon usage and to provide a system to bill back customers appropriately.
- Virtualize servers – Companies can reap instant savings by consolidating underutilized data servers onto virtual machines on a physical server. TrendPoint has seen that virtualized servers generate significantly more heat visa-vi’s the under-utilized machines and, therefore, need careful attention with their cooling management. Without proper cooling, virtualized servers, like all highly utilized systems, can develop “server thermal inversions” within a data cabinet. Just as smog recycles and builds up in an atmospheric thermal inversion, a hot server can create a thermal inversion that causes cool air to be trapped and recycled, wasting cooling resources. “Server thermal inversions” can reduce potential energy savings and lead to costly heat-related downtime.
- Equalize heat and cooling balance – Data centers waste enormous amounts of energy by over-cooling the majority of their data cabinets. This is because CRAC units and control systems make macro-cooling decisions. By matching cooling resources (from floor vents or liquid cooling units) to the actual needs of each individual cabinet, data centers can realize significant savings on cooling energy use of 25% or more. In addition, further savings can be achieved by balancing heat loads on an intra-cabinet basis. By grouping servers in a minimum of 2 and preferably 3 zones within a cabinet and moving towards equalized heat loads between the zones, “server thermal inversions” are avoided and users can reap additional cooling savings of 10-30%.
- Manage to the metrics – As data centers add, move, and change servers and equipment, managers need to continually monitor and manage IT equipment heat generation and cooling. TrendPoint provides the perfect solution for managing energy usage with real-time views and long term trends of the new standard of Power Usage Effectiveness – PUE – as proposed by the Green Grid. The TrendPoint solution also enables organizations to create the proper metrics and then manage the effectiveness of any energy savings plan they may implement both now and in the future.
EDS saves 25% of cooling energy costs, ROI in less than one year
TrendPoint is already proving the effectiveness of its plan at some of the world’s largest data center “brands.” In a study done at an EDS data center near Newcastle, England by site management firm, Carillion, PLC, cooling energy costs were cut by over 25% using the TrendPoint system to target cooling resources to the heat generated by individual data cabinets. The Carillion study also reported an ROI of less than one year for the TrendPoint solution. According to Carillion, the TrendPoint solution will be extended to additional sites over the next few years.
For more information visit the TrendPoint web site.