4 ways to make your data centre energy efficient

8 January 2020

Unfortunately, our environment is threatened in many ways. The emission of greenhouse gases is one of the causes. These gases, for example, cause the temperature on earth to rise, with all the consequences that follow. Greenhouse gases are emitted by cars, among other things. But did you know that your data centre also indirectly causes many of these harmful gases? All the data centres in the world collectively account for more greenhouse gases per year than the total annual emissions in the Netherlands. And the expectation is that this will only increase. But there is also good news. You can limit the emissions that your data centre is causing by using energy more efficiently. This article explains how you can do that.

How does environmental pollution come about?

Your data centre indirectly causes greenhouse gas emissions due to the high use of energy. The energy needed for the data centre to run has to come from somewhere. There are, of course, vary many environmentally friendly ways to generate energy. But a lot of energy is still being generated using methods that are not environmentally friendly. Consider, for example, coal-fired power stations, oil and gas. A lot of energy is also lost because the data centres do not make efficient use of the energy. Only 70% of the servers in a data centre are in optimal use. What that means, therefore, is that a lot of energy goes lost. And that must and can be done differently.

Why is it important to focus on energy?

There are a number of good reasons to limit our energy use as much as possible wherever possible. We have set out three reasons for this:

1. Optimal use of your servers saves energy

When your server is running optimally, you can carry on doing the same but with less power. Or you can do more with the same amount of power.

2. You save costs

When your servers are making optimum use of energy, instead of the current 70%, you can deliver up to 30% more. In this way, less energy or even no energy goes lost and you save costs.

3. Saving energy is important for the environment

The rule in the future is going to be: the polluter has to pay. That means that the costs of polluting will constantly increase. Already investing now in an energy-efficient server room not only ensures that you will save money in the future but you will also immediately be causing less damage to the environment. That is good for the preservation of our planet.

How do you look after a data centre that is using energy efficiently?

The importance of using your servers optimally is already very clear. But how can you make sure that your data centre actually becomes more energy efficient? With the following solutions, your servers will use energy much more efficiently:

1. Smarter applications on servers

It’s worth the effort to take a look at the applications that run on your servers. Do these undergo proper ongoing development or are they costing a lot of electricity? A check on this could certainly be beneficial.

2. Data centre cooling

To ensure that servers do not overheat, the ambient temperature is often kept low. In this way, they perform better. If you use water cooling equipment that is attached to or in the servers, the on-the-spot temperature remains low. And the outside temperature does not have to be kept low artificially. This makes a big difference to the energy consumption.

3. Ideal temperature of the server room

Research shows that in many data centres the temperature is lower than necessary. A temperature of 23 degrees is low enough. The European Commission even considers it fine for the temperature to be 26, 27 or even 30 degrees. The chance of this resulting in server failure is very minimal. Only at 32 degrees is the chance of failure 1.5 times the norm.

To see at which temperature your servers perform best with the least possible energy consumption, you can slowly raise the temperature incrementally. Keep monitoring the servers until you reach the most ideal temperature for your server room.

4. Periodic cleaning of server room

Your data centre also needs maintenance. There are always air flows in the server room. They are responsible for dust particles ending up in the servers. As a result, the server heats up or could even overheat. This could cause it to work more slowly and thus consume more energy. That’s why regular cleaning of the server room is very important.

Be careful when cleaning. Servers are very vulnerable and cleaning requires extra care. To prevent malfunctions and failures, it is best to have maintenance done by a professional company. They know what they are doing and exactly what to look out for.

Check your room

Are you wondering how to look after the digital heart of your organisation? Use our Risk Management Audit which has been especially developed for this purpose.

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