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Best Practices to Improve Data Center Efficiency, Performance and Availability

Author : Nilesh Rane
Date : January 11,2016
Category : Datacenter



As more and more organizations move to a cloud-computing environment, it becomes essential for data center service providers to relook at the performance and efficiency parameters in their data centers and endeavor to provide highly efficient data center services to their customers. With rising energy costs and the move towards a greener data center, data center providers are continuously innovating to optimize power usage in their data centers and reduce the carbon footprint.

Technology giants like Google, have spent more than 10 years to improve the energy efficiency of their datacenter. The highest level of efficiency that they have achieved is due to focusing on certain areas like measuring energy use and airflow and use of free cooling.

The two things that organizations can do to increase datacenter efficiency-either try to revamp or redesign their data center facilities by utilizing energy efficient solutions or techniques or by relatively making a simple choice of partnering with a provider that can host, maintain and manage either some or all of the necessary servers, network and storage infrastructure.

The CIO should look at the datacenter cost optimization techniques. To increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of the datacenter the organization should keep adopting new technologies especially on the network, storage and server side. Outsourcing is the best option that a CIO can adopt but it is also important that the he should consider the investment he had made in his current infrastructure.

To make the datacenter a profit center rather than cost center, it is very crucial for the CIO to increase the datacenter efficiency. Let us discuss some of the best practices that organizations should adopt to increase data center efficiency, performance and availability:

Buy Efficient Servers, Storage And Network Solutions

Businesses should purchase high-efficient network, storage and servers that enable them to maximize space and reduce the cooling and power cost. Also use of certain efficiency technologies such as data de-duplication can help.

Adopt virtualization and consolidation: Consolidating the data center spaces to a centralized location can ease the implementation of data center efficiency measures by focusing them on one location, rather than several. Inactive servers can use 50 percent or more of full computational power. Virtualization of servers can drastically reduce the number of servers in a data center, reducing required server power and consequently the size of the necessary cooling equipment.

Virtualization can help to make the data center more efficient. Most data centers are not as efficient as it should be because of low utilization of the data center assets. To ensure maximum efficiency, CIO’s must go in for virtualization - be it for servers, storage, and other infrastructure.

Use Efficient Power Supplies And Distribution

The use of high efficient power supplies will directly lower the data center power bills and will also reduce the cooling system cost and rack overheating issues. It is also important to minimize the power distribution losses by eliminating as many power conversion steps as possible.  The largest losses in data center power distribution are from the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and hence organization should specify a high efficiency model. It is also recommended to keep as high a voltage as close to the load as feasible to reduce line losses.

Design A Proper Air Management System

Air management for data centers entails all the design and configuration details that go into minimizing or eliminating mixing between the cooling air supplied to equipment and the hot air rejected from the equipment. When designed correctly, an air management system can reduce operating costs, reduce first cost equipment investment, increase the data center’s density capacity and reduce heat related processing interruptions or failures.

Right cooling systems: Almost 25 percent of the data center power goes into cooling. Precision cooling systems have been designed specifically to meet the needs of data center heat loads and have very different service and maintenance needs than standard building air conditioning. To further reduce the cost of cooling some organizations are also looking at free cooling option.

Data center metrics and benchmarking: Energy efficiency metrics and benchmarks should be used to track the performance and identify potential opportunities to reduce energy use in data centers. Also, use a ratio called PUE - Power Usage Effectiveness – can help to reduce energy used for non-computing, like cooling and power distribution. CIOs should use performance management tools and have dashboards that give analysis of various performance parameters.

Just measuring uptime and availability is not adequate. Data centers managers should drive the metrics like power saved, reduced risk, assuring availability, skills developed, elongation of investment, and measurement of ROI etc.

Outsourcing Is The Best Option

Upgrading and improving data center efficiency, performance and availability can take considerable time and money. While a business may want to follow the steps mentioned above, it may not have the time or resources available to do so. Thus, organizations that might have spent millions building data centers a few years ago are now just looking at outsourcing it. With thehelp of outsourcing the businesses can focus on their core business instead of managing the data center.

If CIOs are building their own data centers they will continue to face challenges on sustenance, capacity and operational cost. Thus, for the CIO to move up the value chain s/he has to give up the nuts and bolts and focus on business and the best option to the CIO is to outsource the data center.

Hence today to increase the datacenter efficiency, performance and availability businesses are outsourcing it. Also, soon the time will come when most of the data center will transform from a traditional, virtualized, consolidated and centralized IT infrastructure into a service-oriented and economically efficient cloud.




Author : Nilesh Rane

Nilesh Rane is the Associate Vice President - Product and Service at Netmagic Solutions. Nilesh is an expert in the data center domain, specifically in areas such as Disaster Recovery, DR-as-a-Service, IDC and Bandwidth. He has extensive experience of over 10 years within the data center domain, out of his total work experience of 20 years. Nilesh has been with Netmagic for 6 years handing key roles and responsibilities within areas such as DR, DRaaS, IDC and Bandwidth.