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Aperture in the Green Data Center - Improving Energy Efficiency

Following a green path of protecting the environment, once a concept relegated to a small group of visionaries and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has become a significant concern for organizations worldwide. Soaring energy prices, shrinking floor space and larger quantities of data being stored have all contributed to the "green data center" fast becoming a focal point of interest.

With energy costs on the rise, it is quite apparent that substantial improvements in data center energy efficiency and productivity must be made. Organizations are embracing the "Green IT" movement to enable cost reductions, increase operational efficiency and ultimately optimize utilization of data center resources.

Many steps can be taken to help improve productivity and energy efficiency within your data center. By implementing data center best practices and taking a holistic perspective to manage operations and your data center infrastructure with Aperture you can create a robust decision support system to monitor and measure productivity and efficiency. Recommendations include:

  • Eliminate "Ghost" Servers
    Many of today's data centers contain approximately 8 to 10 percent of servers that have no identifiable function. Technically considered dead with regards to serving the organization, these "ghost" servers can still haunt you by consuming IT resources. By implementing a formal decommissioning process to eliminate these "ghost" servers, an immediate cost savings can be realized.

Aperture has helped hundreds of organizations worldwide to implement a formal process framework to manage all equipment changes, installs and decommissions. With Aperture, you can obtain a comprehensive look into the inventory within the data center, track and document all assets and effectively decommission "ghost" servers to eliminate unnecessary costs to the organization.

  • Improve Resource Utilization
    A greener data center can be realized through the direct optimization of data center resources, according to the specific power and cooling profiles required. However, many organizations lack quality information sources on power consumption and heat output, which causes operations to run well below the designed levels effectively underutilizing these critical resources.

Whether a data center is comprised of high-density or low-density servers, Aperture can assist organizations in optimally leveraging their critical resources. Aperture combines real-time measured values and manufacturer specifications with a detailed model of the data center, enabling you to "recapture" unused resources.

  • Eliminating the "Silo Effect" between IT and Facilities
    In many organizations, the IT and Data Center Facilities groups continue to operate as two separate and distinct organizations with little communication and interaction. As stated by the EPA, "in many data centers those responsible for purchasing and operating IT equipment are not the same as those responsible for the power and cooling infrastructure - leading to split incentives. Thus, those most capable of controlling the use of energy have very little incentive to do so." Only through a tightly integrated group that combines both IT and Facilities can an organization fill in the necessary gaps and improve the overall business process to understand metrics to move to a greener path.

Aperture is an enterprise management system used by both IT and Facilities groups to manage data centers. For those individuals that select and provision the servers and manage the overall facility, Aperture helps bring the team together from a process perspective and data center power into a greater IT chargeback model.

  • Implement Standardized Performance Measurements
    Implementing standardized performance measurements and incorporating processes to monitor the data center from a holistic perspective will also help organization become more "eco-computing" conscious. By assessing and reporting on the energy performance - including power distribution and power cooling - as well as benchmarking will help data center managers better understand the relationships between power distribution and consumption.

Measurement goes far beyond just calculating the ratios, and into truly understanding what is behind the ratios. Better analysis, planning and execution of a green data center can only occur when the underlying relationships are understood and the data center is managed from a holistic perspective. Aperture can help organizations not only determine where they stand with regards to standardized performance metrics, but also drill further down into the reasons behind the metrics - including how to best optimize the power and cooling infrastructure.

  • Evaluate Investment Alternatives to Upgrade the Data Center
    Many data centers in operation today were built prior to 2002 and did not include design specifications to support high-density operations or to deliver power and cooling to racks operating at over 2 KW. By assessing the needs of the organization, evaluating design alternatives to dramatically reduce power requirements within the infrastructure and applying innovative technologies, significant computing power per kilowatt can be recognized.

 Aperture provides the necessary management framework to optimize the space, power and cooling resources within the data center. Economical evaluations such as those available from Liebert, regarding the types of investments to make into high-density equipment, virtualization and ENERGY STAR-rated servers can be intelligently made to justify to costs towards energy efficiency.