Most people can identify a technology that has gotten faster, smaller, and more powerful.
In the Data Center industry technological advances in efficiency happen so quickly that computer processing technology can become outdated by the time it is released to the public. However putting advances to use within Data Centers for energy efficiency upgrades is not limited to servers. While staying on the processor cutting-edge can be difficult to maintain, the opportunity to upgrade the supporting infrastructure (HVAC, Lighting, UPS, EPMS) is also available due to improved technological advances and operational efficiency within those systems. Outdated or inefficient Data Center infrastructure should be considered for improvements as it can represent more than half of a Data Center’s power consumption and can provide operational as well as maintenance payback quickly.
Infrastructure is not typically the focus of upgrades in a data center due to potential downtime. Taking a data center offline is considered such a substantial task that often, instead of scheduling a full outage, a workaround is done to add equipment to supplement existing systems without causing a full outage. This approach may be used to implement a more efficient Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) or a smaller Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC), but over time, constant additions can overcomplicate a system. When only adding to an existing system, the opportunity to go back and optimize the arrangement or configuration is not leveraged. Without proper long-term planning and vision an unwieldy implementation can cost data centers through high energy bills (net additions negating the newer, efficient equipment), not to mention the potential for a catastrophic failure (reduced reliability by adding equipment without a comprehensive system strategy).
A special thank you to our Roundtable Panel for their contributions to this guide:
Vaugh Lamer , Gensler
Marcus Hassen , AT&T
Matt Morton , Vantage Technology Consulting Group
Joe Williams , Vantage Technology Consulting Group