New regulations underscore urgency of making data centers more energy-efficient
Friday, Feb 3rd 2017

Energy consumption levels in data centers continue to be major concerns for both facilities operators and regulators. According to Business Solutions, in February 2017 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill requiring a handful of federal agencies –including the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Department of Energy – to coordinate how they purchase and implement energy-efficient equipment.

Why did Congress act so quickly on this issue? For starters, data centers already account for one-tenth of the federal government's total energy usage. Accordingly, enactment and adequate enforcement of new energy efficiency policies could save the public sector billions of dollars a year over the rest of this decade. It would also put the thousands of federal data centers on superior footing to many private facilities, which still utilize relatively inefficient and less eco-friendly energy mixes.

"Energy efficiency policies could save the public sector billions of dollars a year."

Reducing energy consumption further: What are the most feasible options?

Upgrading essential data center equipment (e.g., servers, storage, power supplies, etc.) to newer and more efficient models is a common approach to saving electricity. But what other options are out there?

Environmental monitoring solutions are a good place to start. Not only do these tools enable data center operators to keep tabs on temperature, humidity, voltage and other key metrics, but they lessen the likelihood of an outage. Downtime is indeed extremely expensive: The Ponemon Institute has estimated that the average cost rose from $505,502 in 2010 to over $740,000 in 2016.

Such incidents lead to wasted power and fewer available funds for necessary technical improvements in the data center. With data center temperature and voltage monitors in place, it is possible to spot issues right away:

  • Temperature sensors detect whether an appliance is overheating. This information helps in making decisions about whether and where to shift workloads, and how to allocate cooling resources.
  • Voltage detectors keep tabs on electricity flowing to your equipment. Power fluctuations can degrade performance and waste energy, so it is essential to stay on top of its quality and stability.
  • Video surveillance systems help protect facilities from unwanted intruders who may interfere with the normal functioning of infrastructures, including power supplies and cooling equipment.

To get started with environmental monitoring in your data center, visit the main ITWatchDogs/Geist Monitor product page for more information.

New legislation could help save the government billions in data center costs.New legislation could help save the government billions in data center costs.