How To Minimize Your Data Center’s Operating Costs

A data center’s operating costs are dominated by the carrying cost of the IT equipment and its power and cooling. Curiously, the carrying costs of IT gear have been a little understood concept in IT organizations. These costs include acquisition, depreciation, warranty, and service. Combined, these costs are a significant factor in operating costs. Technology refreshment is the most common approach to minimizing this component.

Additionally, with green IT high on the priority list of every Chief Sustainability Officer, one goal is to create a data center that produces the greatest amount of computation per watt of electricity consumed. It’s all about data center optimization.

In order to make the optimizations that will reduce power consumption and save money, a wide array of measurements must be made and evaluated to get a baseline of the resources currently in use by the data center. Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software can then identify areas that can be optimized. As computing load and other conditions change, DCIM continues to suggest adjustments that can provide continuous improvement.

Performing a technology refresh

IT has been steadily growing for much of the last 50 years; the past 20 at an increasingly accelerated rate. This rapid growth means that at fairly regular intervals, major changes of the equipment in a data center must be made. These technology refreshes may call for an entire redesign of a data center’s infrastructure. With a new design, old ways of doing things may no longer be effective, let alone optimal. Best data center practice manuals must be rewritten to accommodate new styles of computing. Among other things, DCIM can be used to document the new structure, giving you a solid baseline as well as enforcing each of these workflow steps required to make ongoing changes.

Designing for sustainability

Sustainability has to do with preserving the Earth’s nonrenewable resources to the greatest extent possible. These nonrenewable resources include the fossil fuels that are used in the production of most of today’s electricity. There is an urgency to trim electricity usage in the data center due to its sheer magnitude and associated costs. The measure of consumption is generally referred to as a data center’s carbon footprint. Organizations strive to reduce their carbon footprints. Similarly, reductions in electricity usage also conserve water, because water is the primary medium used to carry away waste heat from the data center’s cooling system. The environment benefits when a data center runs more efficiently. Less electricity is used, saving money, less water is used for cooling, and finally, fewer pollutants are spewed into the atmosphere in the process of generating electricity. DCIM provides the information that enables data center managers to identify equipment that uses more resources than are justified, enabling replacement by more efficient equipment.

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