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Sep 13, 2012

Four ways to become more green

INAP

Four ways to become more greenOne of my childhood favorites said it best, “It’s not that easy being green.” Kermit the frog had it right, but we aren’t just referring to color.  In this case it means green sustainability; it means energy efficiency, and it means cutting-edge practices to deliver major operational benefits. Achieving these is no small task, especially for IT professionals trying to fuse green corporate objectives into their infrastructure. To make it easy on you, we’ve put together a short list of common practices to help you be more green.

1. Managing your racks

Often overlooked, this zero-cost action at the rack level can help provide cooling where it is most needed. Simply improving the cable management at the discharge of the server rack can help reduce recirculation. Placing higher density servers at low- or mid- level U’s can also help reduce re-circulation over the rack, especially if implemented with blanking panels. Improving overall air management allows cold air to be delivered more effectively to the server inlets.

2. Monitoring your power usage

Being able to understand your power consumption is critical to knowing if you are running at maximum efficiency. Branch circuit monitoring is one way to achieve this. With this solution a physical monitor is installed on your power circuit that provides reporting back to the network. With more visibility you can make tweaks to configurations, cabling, hot/cold aisle designs and ultimately control your environment so it performs that way you want.

3. Utilizing efficient equipment

According to Data Center Knowledge, purchasing servers is one of the most important factors in making data centers (and colocation data center investments) more cost-effective and energy-efficient. Fortunately, more energy-conscious processors are available to help lighten the draw on resources like power and cooling. By using more efficient chips, server processors are able to save more energy when equipment is idle and during server refresh cycles.  Additional components to increase airflow in the chassis and system settings to increase efficiency are also a part of newer servers. The federal government also has an Energy Star Program for servers, so equipment bearing this seal is approved for greater efficiency — in some cases consuming 54% less power than older models.

4. Partnering with green a data center provider

Finding a partner that is aligned with your goals is also a way to make sure green policies are reinforced.  Some of the accrediting organizations and seals to look for include LEED from the U.S. Green Building Council, Green Globes from the Green Building Initiative, Energy Star from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as standards set forth by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) or the Green Grid. Certifications awarded by these organizations are signs of a truly green initiative. You can find more on choosing a green data center provider in our eBook, complete with practices colocation providers should have in place for greater efficiencies.

In the spirit of green, I am proud to say we announced some major milestones this week in green design for two of our most innovative facilities to date. Our Dallas data center was awarded a LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, and our Santa Clara facility was ranked 65 on the InformationWeek 500 List of Top Technology Innovators for green achievements.

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Jun 12, 2012

Six questions for your next data center provider

INAP

Six questions for your next data center providerDid you know the utilization of the cooling and power infrastructure in some data centers or network rooms is typically around 50 – 60% and that it may stay that way for the entire life of the data center? Since the relationship you have with your colocation or data center provider is one that will most likely last a while, these inefficiencies can represent challenges to you, the IT professional. For example, as servers and storage devices require extra computing power, more resources are needed to cool and power the data center. A provider that offers maximum efficiency will be in your best interest as they can provide advanced scalability and high-density solutions. The good news is the unused capacity of data centers is an avoidable capital cost, and it also represents avoidable operating costs from a maintenance and energy standpoint. One of the main ways this is achieved is through scalability and modular designs.

Let’s take a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) as an example of how modularity and scalability can increase efficiencies. With a scalable UPS, power is provisioned for what is required today which means the UPS runs at a higher efficiency. Later, as a tenant increases their IT load, more UPS modules can be added to meet the increased load. A scalable UPS also ensures that power is never stranded. For example, if the average rack density in a data center were very low, it’s possible that the colocation service provider could sell out of all available space. If this were to happen, a scalable UPS allows a provider the flexibility to build more space and increase the UPS capacity to support the new space. Tenants also have the flexibility to increase their average rack density knowing that more UPS capacity can be provisioned.

Row-based cooling is another example of how modularity increases efficiency and provides flexibility to tenants. Room-based cooling typically provides a base-cooling capacity for data centers up to about 6kW/rack. When tenants choose to increase their IT rack density, they have the ability to meet that cooling requirement using row-based cooling which places the cooling unit adjacent to the IT equipment. Not only is this efficient, but it also provides predictable cooling for high-density loads. Increasing rack density also provides a lower cost per rack and increases ROI. Colocation providers that have designed their chilled water piping to support row-based cooling units can quickly provision row-based cooling for high-density racks.

So what are the right questions to ask a potential provider to make sure they maximize their resources?

  1. Are scalable UPS systems used to quickly provision new power capacity?
  2. What is the full load efficiency of the UPS system?
  3. Is the chilled water distribution piping provisioned for row-based cooling units?
  4. What is the maximum supported rack density?
  5. Are hot and cold air streams managed to avoid air mixing, which reduces cooling capacity?
  6. Is a capacity management system used to keep power and cooling capacity in line with IT load demand?

The folks at Internap are no strangers to modular design. In fact, their Dallas data center utilizes Schneider Electric’s Symmetra MegaWatt, a modular UPS solution that will allow their facility to keep efficiency levels high while growing over 50,000 square feet. Check out Internap’s Colocation Buyer’s Guide for more information on modular design and other questions to ask when choosing the right data center provider for your business needs.

About Schneider Electric

As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in Utilities & Infrastructures, Industries & Machine Manufacturers, Non-residential Buildings, Data Centers & Networks and Residential. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the company’s 130,000 plus employees achieved sales of about 31 billion US dollars (22.4 billion euros) in 2011, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.

www.schneider‑electric.com/us

 

 

 

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