Check out some tips to save money and energy with your data centers.

energy efficiency, best in classStoring your data in the cloud doesn’t mean it’s floating around somewhere miles above the earth—it just means another server somewhere in the world is holding onto that data. With the proliferation of cloud storage, and the expansive increase in data that needs to be stored, data centers have become the center of attention for many companies.

As you can imagine, data centers require a lot of energy to run, and more importantly, keep all of the tech cool. As of 2014, data centers in the U.S. consumed 70 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, equal to the energy expenditure of 6.4 million homes. Although, consumption would have been a lot higher—a projected 40 billion kilowatt-hours more—if efficiency improvements were not made.

Not sure if your data centers are running at peak efficiency? Here are a few things you can look at in your own operations to save energy, money, and maybe even lengthen the life cycle of your technology.

Organization

There’s a good chance that your company is wasting storage space. It’s not unheard of for there to be 5, 10, or even 20 copies of the same data stored. Data compression, automated storage provisioning, deduplication, and tiering storage are a few of the many options you have when attempting to organize your data better/

Consolidation

By centralizing multiple servers to one, energy costs can be reduced by 10 to 40 percent. With one physical server and three to five to account for backup and recovery for one application, server virtualization can allow an organization to run several different workloads on one physical server.

Decommission

Between eight and 10 percent of servers are not being utilized, but are still running, and there’s a good chance that statistic could be higher. According to a study from the Uptime Institute, decommissioning a single server can annually save $500 in energy, $500 in operating system licenses, and $1,500 in hardware maintenance costs.

Hot/Cold Layout

Servers in data centers emit a significant amount of heat. In order to get the best performance out of servers—and minimize energy use cooling the hardware—there are some very specific ways you should consider laying out your data center. Hot aisle/cold aisle arrangements can reduce fan energy use by 20 to 25 percent.

energy efficiency, best in classAirflow

Modern high-density server racks use 20 to 30 kW of power, compared to the 2 kW required per rack a few years ago. This means more hot spots, and more energy to cool your data centers—unless your circulation management efforts are top notch. Consider diffusers, blanking panels, floor grommets, and vented tiles for those hot spots.

Economizers

No matter where you are, your data centers need economizers. However, certain ones are suited to certain climates. Air-side economizers bring air from outside the building into it, distributing the fresh—and cool—air to the servers. Exhaust then travels outside. Water-side economizers use cooling towers, producing cool water to circulate through a heat exchanger. Both can be used in most of the U.S., with varying results.

These energy efficient solutions are just the tip of the iceberg, but a good place to get started if lowering your data center’s energy usage hasn’t been top of mind in a while. Of course it’s better for the environment, but it’s good for the business’s budget, too.