Power & Energy Efficiency in a Data Center

Power usage and energy efficiency in a data center remain hot industry topics as data center colocation service providers and businesses search for ways to minimize – and optimize – consumption.

However, reducing power usage is a constant challenge. For example, big data initiatives require higher density servers. And, higher density servers require more power and cooling. So, data center operators walk a fine line between accommodating increasing data traffic and improving energy efficiency.

Understanding Data Center Power

Before discussing opportunities for energy efficiency, it’s important to understand the basics of power usage in a data center. Power is consumed by two major groups: the IT operation and the facility operation. Both these areas use a significant amount of power.

IT assets, such as servers, have steadily been requiring more power. As processing capability increases, so do power demands.

On the facility side, a large number of systems consume power. Examples include cooling systems, back-up generators, UPS devices, heating equipment, ventilation systems, temperature control systems, air handling systems, lighting systems, fire suppression systems, access control systems, alarm systems, surveillance systems and more.

The amount of power consumed at each facility is affected by size, number of servers housed in the facility, the number and type of devices installed, and the number and type of facility systems.

The Key Power Components in a Data Center

Here’s a breakdown of the power components that exist in today’s data center:

  • The main utility power source – some data centers have dedicated substations for their facility
  • The back-up generators
  • The uninterruptible power supplies (UPS)
  • The power distribution units (PDU) at the facility level
  • The power distribution units at the rack level
  • The servers’ internal power supplies

When businesses evaluate a provider’s redundancy capabilities, they have to consider the back-up systems in place for each power component. Each of the components listed above can fail and cause a power outage. Power outages can also result from weather, damage to a power line, issues at the utility and more. Therefore, sufficient backup systems are required to ensure the highest levels of reliability.

How Data Centers Improve Energy Efficiencies

Improving energy efficiency in a data center involves several measures, some of which include the following:

  • Advanced cooling solutions – Hot air from IT equipment should not mix with cold air supplies. To prevent this contamination, service providers use techniques such as physical barriers, hot/cold aisle containment, raised floors, hybrid technologies and other methods.
  • Control systems – These systems monitor and manage air flow and temperatures. Using intelligent sensors, control systems determine when cooling is required. As a result, they help reduce power consumption and improve efficiencies.
  • Motion-activated lighting – By having lights only come on when needed, power consumption is reduced. In addition, ambient heat is minimized because lighting systems are not continually operational.

When evaluating potential data centers, you need to understand your power requirements and then match it to the provider’s capabilities. You want the necessary level of redundancy that fits your budget, but you also want to ensure the facility operates as efficiently as possible.

FairPoint’s data centers provide organizations with network connectivity and rack space in physically secure, energy-efficient locations. Businesses can use this space as primary or secondary data center sites. In addition, data center colocation space can also be employed as an essential part of a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy. FairPoint’s data centers are strictly controlled environments with essential power, cooling, connectivity and security features – including continuous video monitoring and keycard access at ingress points.

For data center colocation services that address your remote storage, off-site IT and disaster recovery requirements, call FairPoint Data Center Services (1.866.984.4001) or visit www.fairpoint.com/businessclassdatacenter.

FairPoint Communications

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