Data centers consume massive amounts of power. A recent study by one major Australian bank found that two thirds of its total electricity consumption was accounted for by IT, and data centers accounted for half that. Aside from the obvious environmental impacts, their insatiable thirst for energy translates into a material bottom line impact for many organizations.
Despite incremental efficiency gains by hardware vendors, and increased use of technologies like virtualization, the total energy consumption of the IT function is increasing. At the same time, the cost of electricity is rising, which means that the cost of the energy consumption of IT will continue to escalate.
Organizations looking to decrease their consumption of energy, in order to reap environmental and monetary rewards, should consider a three-pronged approach that combines incentives, power management, and the hyperconvergence of IT infrastructure.
- Align Incentives to Reduce Consumption
In spite of the hefty price tag, in many organizations, the IT department is not responsible for the cost of their power consumption, and therefore they have no incentive to reduce it.
The research shows that if the power consumption of IT is included in the IT budget, action to improve power management is swiftly taken.
- Implement Proactive Power Management
Data center managers and the facilities management professionals responsible for data center infrastructure – including the supply of power – need to coordinate their approach to power management and look at their IT infrastructure holistically. It is not a single technology. Power management and helping organizations reduce their IT power consumption is a multidisciplinary exercise. Most suppliers have a role to play, through offering products or services that facilitate the process.
- Counter Infrastructure Sprawl with Hyperconvergence
Another contributing factor is the excess of IT infrastructure that is deployed in a typical data center. In many organizations, servers and other IT equipment have grown substantially. In order to run all infrastructure below the hypervisor, close to a dozen separate infrastructure components are typically required – from servers and storage arrays, to backup appliances, WAN optimizers, and cloud gateways.
Helping to correct this trend is the move towards converged and hyperconverged infrastructure, which reduces the amount of equipment organizations need to support a virtualized workload.
For example, SimpliVity’s hyperconverged solutions natively combine all IT products and services below the hypervisor, with improved power consumption, protection, efficiency and global unified management. On average, SimpliVity customers experience a 7:1 reduction in the number of devices they are required to deploy and manage. By assimilating up to 8 to 12 core data center services on commodity x86 systems, SimpliVity is able to simplify IT while lowering IT infrastructure and energy costs.
A recent study of SimpliVity customers found that some organizations experienced a significant reduction in power consumption through eliminating storage and server assets, reduced data center floor space, and lower cooling costs. One organization shared that its average power consumption decreased from 2,700 watts to 1,500 watts.
Converged and hyperconverged infrastructure are already fast growing market sectors, and we hope that increased adoption of this technology will help to reduce power consumption and the myriad benefits that come with that change.
The Path to More Efficient Data Centers
With the right incentives in place, hyperconvergence and proactive power management form an effective combination that will help to drive down energy consumption in data centers. In fact, SimpliVity has partnered with leading power management vendor, Eaton Corporation, to include its advanced power monitoring and management capabilities on SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure.
As the power demands of IT continues to rise and electricity costs maintain their steady increase, we can expect more organizations to take note of this emerging issue. As more and more organizations gain visibility of the cost of power to the data center and other parts of the IT infrastructure, there will be increasing awareness of the importance of techniques and technologies that can mitigate or reverse the trend towards higher IT power consumption.