Today's IT executives are not only expected to create and maintain high-availability IT environments, but they are also expected to implement green initiatives to satisfy customers, analysts, and government agencies that are worried about the impact of modern, energy-thirsty data centers on the environment. Is such a dual mandate reasonable? Can companies be expected to maintain service levels and reduce their carbon footprints at the same time? The White Paper offers a description of the different types of services available to improved energy efficiency data center design and a prescription for successful implementation.
The recent release of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study on data center energy efficiency is adding fuel to the fire in the research and development of new ways to reduce energy use in centers. The findings, summarized on the EPA website, are staggering: Data centers consumed about 60 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2006, roughly 1.5 percent of total US electricity consumption -Energy consumption of servers and data centers has doubled in the past five years and is expected to almost double again in the next five years to more than 100 billion kWh, costing about $7.4 billion annually.
IT virtualization, the engine behind cloud computing, can have significant consequences on the data center physical infrastructure (DCPI). Higher power densities that often result can challenge the cooling capabilities of an existing system. Reduced overall energy consumption that typically results from physical server consolidation may actually worsen the data center’s power usage effectiveness (PUE). Dynamic loads that vary in time and location may heighten the risk of downtime if rack-level power and cooling health are not understood and considered. Finally, the fault-tolerant nature of a highly virtualized environment could raise questions about the level of redundancy required in the physical infrastructure. These particular effects of virtualization are discussed and possible solutions or methods for dealing with them are offered.
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