Reduce Data Centre running costs
In an age where it costs more over the lifetime of a piece of IT equipment to power it than it does to purchase it we are all looking at ways to reduce Data Centre running costs. Energy is, in the majority of Data Centres or computer rooms, the single biggest operational running cost and, for most businesses, a major contributor to the overall business expense. So, how do you reduce Data Centre running costs for your business?
In an age where it costs more over the lifetime of a piece of IT equipment to power it than it does to purchase it we are all looking at ways to reduce Data Centre running costs. Energy is, in the majority of Data Centres or computer rooms, the single biggest operational running cost and, for most businesses, a major contributor to the overall business expense. So, how do you reduce running costs for your business?
This may seem obvious, but getting the environment right is the most important thing you can do. Energy costs have risen to the extent that, for most IT equipment, it will cost more to power and cool it over its lifetime than it will to purchase it. So what can be done? Whether you are running your own Data Centre or computer room or you are using a commercial Data Centre, there are a number of things you can do.
Get the temperature right – it is worth remembering that another word for cooling is ‘refrigeration’. Most Data Centre operators refer to the ASHRAE guidelines for data centre operation. (ASHRAE = American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers and the guidelines are used by operators and manufacturers of IT equipment as acceptable operating temperatures where equipment operates at its optimum efficiency). Using the smallest range of acceptable temperatures, IT equipment can operate at anywhere between 15 and 32 degrees celsius. There is no point in paying to cool the room or equipment down to 15 degrees C, consider raising the temperature to nearer the top end, whilst allowing a small margin for fluctuation. We operate our data centre at 25 degrees celsius.
Manage the air flow – many Data Centre designers think that all IT equipment draws air from front to back and design facilities accordingly. They are wrong! At MIGSOLV we know that some equipment draws air from side to side, or from bottom to top, or even from the bottom and out of the back – making sure that the air flow is properly managed and that the ‘cooler’ air, (see above for why we don’t say cold), is directed to where it is needed. This will help increase efficiency and reduce operational costs considerably.
Sort that cabling out! You know who you are! Most data centres or computer rooms grow organically over time and, as equipment is added, so additional cables get installed. IT engineers are notorious for not bothering to tidy cabling and just leaving it dangling, (sorry guys, but you are!). Ensuring that the cabling is not blocking air flows and that it is installed correctly could increase the efficiency of your equipment operation by as much as 50%. In our Data Centre we focus on ensuring that the cabling is dressed into the cabinet in such a way as to always maximise the air flow in the cabinet. We do this for free for all our customers.
Get rid of the cardboard – almost every computer room or data centre that we have visited over the years, (and that’s quite a few!), had cardboard and other packaging in it somewhere. Cardboard creates dust. Dust is a fire hazard but, more importantly, dust blocks fans, (in the IT equipment), fans have to work harder, they get hotter, that means more heat, more heat means more cooling, more cooling means more power used. Get the cardboard out of the room and efficiency will increase immediately. At the MIGSOLV Data Centre, we don’t allow packaging past our ‘de-box’ room, where we remove all packaging and then take it away for recycling.
Turn the lights off! This may come as a shock to some of those ‘server huggers’ out there, but computers are not afraid of the dark. Turning the lights out could save you as much as 5% of your overall power costs. Lights, particularly traditional lighting, creates heat and that heat contributes to the load to be cooled. Turning the lights out when they are not needed is a really simple way to save both direct and indirect costs. In our data centre all of our lighting is LED, (lower power and creating less heat), and it is all PIR, (movement), controlled. If it isn’t needed, it isn’t on.
There are many more things that you can do to maximise the efficiency and reduce data centre running costs, but just doing these few things will help enormously. Of course, if you really want to reduce your operational costs and use the saving to focus on your core business, you might want to consider letting MIGSOLV look after your equipment. A purpose built Data Centre will always be more efficient than an organically grown computer room or Data Centre. With size comes economies of scale. So, for better efficiency, better security, (come back to see our forthcoming blog on security), better reliability, fantastic customer server and lower running costs, why not contact us and we’ll chat with you about how we can help you save money.