Efficient Data Centers: Barrier 4 – Energy

brianr-100By Brian Reagan, VP Product Strategy & Business Development  – This is the fourth in a series of posts on Creating an Efficient Data Center that originally appeared on Enterprise CIO Forum. The five part series covers the key barriers that stand in the way of IT executives trying to move to their next generation data center model. The final installment will appear on this blog in the coming days.

Barrier 4 – Energy

Power - Barrier 4 for Efficient Data CentersEnergy has become an increasingly scarce resource in many cities around the world.  One issue: legacy architectures continue to serve mission-critical workloads, while consuming more kWh than their modern-era equivalents.   Consider that VMware estimates that nearly 3,000 kWh are saved per year for every workload virtualized.    The continued use of physical, standalone servers drive significant inefficiencies.  Similarly, the energy consumed by a legacy 73GB FC disk drive is 94% higher than even a 1TB SATA disk drive.  Considering the drive densities now are in the 4TB range, the energy savings can be significant by migrating workloads from older drive technologies.   And, though Flash drives consume less energy than their disk-based counterparts, they drive an order of magnitude greater efficiency in terms of performance. A modern-era Flash array in a single rack can easily drive the same level of performance of an array that consumes 3-4 racks, or more.

Transforming energy consumption is a multi-step program that ultimately must be institutionalized into how the business measures itself.  These programs at their most mature move beyond efficiency into true sustainability initiatives.  In terms of roadmap, the first and most important steps are to drive virtualization and the corresponding consolidation within the environment.  These themes are consistent across many of the barriers described, yet they pay real dividends, particularly when modernizing infrastructure.  Included in this arena are intelligent power management, adaptive cooling, spin-down technologies and even leveraging off-hour compute time.   The subject of energy truly spans both facilities and IT domains.  The Green Grid has done an outstanding job of defining a maturity model to assist businesses on measuring their current state across both domains, and building a roadmap towards best practice.

This article originally appeared on Enterprise CIO Forum

 

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