Here are five ideas for COO, CTO, DC Managers and Energy Managers to help drive energy efficiency in the datacenter.
1. Involve yourselves from the start. Any IT efficiency initiative is going to be short-lived and less effective without executive management to drive the changes across the organization. For both one-time and sustained savings, executive leadership must address the management challenges inherent in any process improvement. Those organizations that have been successful in this regard have shared the cost and resource consumption.
2. Implementing a DCIM (data center infrastructure management) will have a positive impact on efficiency and costs. DCIM is a software suite that collects and manages information about a data center’s assets, resource use and operational status. Many companies who operate datacenter’s don’t have a proper DCIM solution that monitors and manages their whole estate but rely on a number of third party disparate systems. Having a joined up solution to monitor, understand and then manage the information is the only real way to effect change and continue to drive energy efficiency in a DC.
3. Server decommissioning. Decommissioning old or inefficient equipment has several direct cost-saving benefits, in addition to reducing risk and complexity. In fact, leading IT organizations such as Barclays, Visa and AOL have saved tens of millions of pounds implementing disciplined server decommissioning programs. However, in a recent annual survey of senior IT infrastructure stakeholders, 45% have no scheduled auditing to identify and remove unused machines, so there are potentially huge savings going unnoticed. How do you know what much you are wasting if you don’t measure it?
4. Stop focusing on power usage effectiveness (PUE), a ratio that represents how much of a data center’s energy use is consumed by IT equipment versus the supporting facilities’ infrastructure. PUE is useful for tracking the efficiency of a data center’s cooling systems over time and seasonal variables, but it’s a lousy management tool, as PUE only addresses the least impactful aspect of IT energy usage. Yet, research shows that 82% of IT executives track PUE and report that metric to their corporate management. By focusing on PUE, IT executives are spending effort and capital for diminishing returns and ignoring the underlying drivers of poor IT efficiency. PUE tells you nothing about asset utilization, and a PUE could look great for a data center that is packed with zombie servers burning energy 24/7 but adding no value to a corporates day to day business.
5. Adopt IT chargeback processes. In simple terms this means that any departments using IT services (including data centers) are charged directly for the cost of those services. Chargeback tends to reduce overall resource consumption as business units stop hoarding surplus servers or other resources. Perhaps most importantly, IT chargeback drives cost control as users become more aware of the direct costs of their activities as it comes out of their P&L. This can extend the life of existing resources and infrastructure, make it possible to defer resource upgrades, and identify underutilized resources that can be deployed more efficiently.