by January 1, 2009 0 comments

The first step towards streamlining business and preventing leakages in
budgets during times of economic slowdowns is obviously to ensure that the IT
systems work efficiently by incorporating technologies like virtualization,
consolidation, migrating to blade servers and having intelligent energy
management solutions. In spite of these deployments, most companies end up
saving only a marginal proportion of the expected outcome, bringing them back to
level zero or worse still, in a few cases, spending more and getting no results.
According to APC, the reason for this is that the IT functions better, but the
auxiliary ‘facilities’ like UPS systems, cooling devices and back up power
systems end up unchanged, and in spite of IT enhancements, they result in huge

As an illustration, consider a scenario where 10 servers that were earlier
running at 50% efficiency percentages were consolidated to 6 servers running at
80% efficiency each, eliminating the need for 4 servers and consequently the
space and cooling. Even taking into consideration, the little extra power a
blade server consumes, there is still tremendous benefits. But if the cooling
systems remain unchanged, or are modified in an incorrect manner, the new
architecture will not get sufficient cooling, resulting in malfunction, or
worse, the magnitude of cooling and power requirements will be disproportionate
to the new architecture.

An ideal starting point towards solving this problem is to understand the
magnitude of saving that can be achieved with a mix and match of ‘facility’
changes. In order to aid enterprises, derive at these percentages, APC, on its
website, has uploaded a bunch of free tools ( which give you a
fair indication of what you can expect to save. For instance, The Data Center
Efficiency Calculator allows you to indicate the date center capacity, current
efficiency, current UPS systems in use, power costs, lighting details etc, and
then allows you to make indicative changes to any of these or add-ons like
blanking panels, deep raised floors, heat rejections pumps etc, and see the
savings meter change dynamically. For example, a 300 KW data center having 50%
IT load, at typical Indian electricity charges, running on legacy UPS systems,
with chilled water cooling system at single path power is likely to run at an
efficiency of 43.8% with an annual electricity cost of $ 353, 050. If row-based
cooling is deployed and a high efficiency cooling system along with blanking
panels and ‘intelligent’ lighting in the server room is installed, the savings
percentage climbs up to 58.6%, bringing down the annual energy cost to $ 263,
639. Whether the IT manager sees sense in these deployments for the overall cost
benefit the company would derive is his/her call, but the tool is a reasonably
comprehensive in its analysis of loss reductions.

Similarly, there is a Data Center Capital Costs Calculator, which analyses
parameters like installed labor charges, redundancy levels, and throws up pie
charts that display percentages of cost burden on UPS, generator, switchgear
etc. The Virtualization Energy Cost Calculator, on the other hand, allows the IT
manager to get comparative percentages and graphs of how many servers can be
consolidated and virtualized, depending on desired architecture of servers,
projected load, and available space.

APC hopes that with these cost saving percentages, IT managers will realize
the need to tackle the issue of inefficient hardware and consequently resort to
modular power technologies, efficient power distribution mechanism, rack-based
cooling systems which involve superior technologies like in-row cooling, where
all the hot air is collected and trapped in a corridor and processed to send air
sideways across all server racks. Bundled with infrastructure performance
monitoring tools, APC hopes that CIOs will realize the quick benefits during bad
economic times of having efficient auxiliary data center components, which will
help realize the benefits of technologies like virtualization and new-generation

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