How to run your data centre efficiently

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One of the biggest challenges facing todays CIO is improving efficiency – or as it is commonly known – Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). PUE has become the de facto standard for measuring energy efficiency, environmental impact, and the cost of running a modern data centre. It’s the metric of choice, and for data centre managers, the smaller the better. At Colt, we’re well aware of the benefits of reducing power consumption and a few of years ago we decided to regulate our approach to improving efficiency. We worked out a standard set of guidelines for our operations crew to systematically ensure that we were maximising efficiency in every data centre we have. As a result we reduced our annual power bill by more than €4 million. Sounds easy right? You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to improve your data centre efficiency. One of the first things to address is airflow management. Often, the biggest problem within data centres is mixing the cold air that is supplied to cool the servers with the hot air exhaust from those servers. Then – believe it or not – there’s the fact that equipment has been installed the wrong way round, as well as hot or cold aisle containment. All simple problems that can be easily addressed.These may sound like small steps, but the impact of these short term fixes should not be taken lightly. Simply addressing air flow problems in the data hall, enables CIOs to turn up the temperature of room cooling units. In an industry where every degree equates to a 4–5% gain in energy efficiency – and perhaps more importantly a reduction in operating costs – the value of these measures could not be clearer.Our own efficiency improvement programme has now been running for four years and in that time has achieved an 18% reduction in energy use, achieving 10% in year one alone. To find out how you can apply this to your business, take a look at this short two minute video to discover the most effective ways you can reduce your PUE and improve energy efficiency.

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