Five Lessons from a Data Center's Crisis of Capacity

By Robert Lemos, CIO |  Data Center, energy consumption, Servers

In order to reduce the energy requirements of his cooling system, Wescott's group evaluated waterside economizers, which use water and the outside temperature to cool racks of servers. While they estimated that using ambient cooling systems would save them money in the long run, the waterside economizers put the price of the cooling units 10 percent over budget. Wescott worked with the vendor, however, to reduce the price to within budgetary limits.

"They have paid for themselves over and over again," he says.

5. Find out what you don't know In revamping data centers, managers also need to look for places where energy is being consumed with little or no gain. A common flaw in data centers are ghost and rogue servers.

Slideshow: 5 Tools to Prevent Energy Waste in the Data Center

Ghost servers are machines that have been deployed but remain unused. They still eat up energy, but do not help the data center with its core job. A rogue server is a machine that someone has put in his office, outside of the data center, to skirt any restrictions that may be enforced by data center personnel.

Such servers can waste a lot of energy budget, Wescott says.

"Buildings that should have shut down their air conditioning every night were running it to keep their rogue servers going," he says.

While the data center has only had a single unplanned outage since he started revamping the facility - due to an extremely hot day and a cooling system failure - Wescott knows that he has not finished the job, just pushed off the inevitable.

"We've calculated the wall," he says. "In five years from now, I'm going to run out of room because of storage, and I will probably run out of space in that room."

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