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Guest author:  Bob Mobach, Practice Director, Data Centers

Some recent studies estimate that data storage activities consume up to 5 percent of the world’s energy, on par with the total used by the airline industry. As big data continues to grow, how can we make our data storage more efficient and meet our data needs at the same time?

A recent Logicalis data center design.

A recent Logicalis data center design.

To answer this challenge, we’ve put together some tips that might help.

  • Insulate. Consider passive heat rejection cabinets, which can be installed with chimneys and rear cabinet enclosures that allow the temperature in the room to be raised safely to between 73 and 75 degrees.
  • Heat exchange. If the air outside the data center is cooler than the air inside, why not use it to cool things down? Our data centers use outside air as part of a heat exchange process, where instead of cycling this outside air into the data center, we use it to release heat and maintain better pollution and RH control inside the data center hall. These types of systems can be retrofitted to older data centers as well as built into new centers.
  • Change the voltage. The higher the voltage in the data center, the more electrically efficient the data center will be.  Since power already enters the building at a higher voltage, running on 415 volts means less power conversion is needed.  And, data centers that run on 415-volt power require smaller power cables, which means less copper, less cable and smaller cable trays.
  • Consider efficient technology. As a result of new EPA standards, compute systems will soon start to consume less energy. Newer, more efficient UPS technologies are also coming into common use.
  • Go LED. LED lighting is both brighter and cooler, ensuring that the data storage equipment is the only significant heat generator inside the room.
  • Go modular. Modular data center design can be pre-manufactured resulting in less waste, more predictable growth and better efficiency through compartmentalization.

This is just a preview of our full list of strategies to reduce energy consumption in the data center. Take a look at a case study detailing our ENERGY STAR certified project for BendBroadband Vault.

[poll id=”331″]

With these recent advances in data center energy efficiency, we want to know: Do you think energy usage by data centers will continue to grow, making this issue ripe, or is this just hype, and we will soon see significant energy reductions in data center design?