by September 5, 2007 0 comments

There was some news recently about a large data center being setup in the US
next to a dam, so that it could take power directly from the source. Otherwise,
it would first go to the power generation plant, and then come to the data
center through a meandering set of transmission lines. All this would increase
the cost of power.

It may sound a little far fetched, but power is certainly becoming an issue
in other countries, and they’re finding all sorts of means to save it. Some of
them can be as extreme as this. There’s another case where a power company is
paying data centers money to save power. So there would be an ‘x’ amount of
dollars paid for every Watt of electricity saved. We don’t find such drastic
measures being taken in our own country, but it’s not as if the power situation
is any better here.

In fact, we probably have more scheduled power cuts than any other country.
Even if someone were to match that, then nobody can really beat our
‘unscheduled’ power cuts. Puns aside, the fact of the matter is that there isn’t
enough power to go around for everyone, and yet power requirements are shooting
through the roof. While the govt. should definitely do something about it, there
are a lot of things that we can also do, both as individuals and corporates.

Anil Chopra,

As individuals, it could be as simple as shutting down your PC before going
home from work, and also ensuring that the monitor is also turned off. If the
other hundred (or hundreds of) employees in your company also do the same, then
it adds up to a significant amount of power saving for your company. Likewise, a
lot of power can be saved simply by turning off other equipment that’s not being

At the corporate level, you can find measures of saving power in your data
center. It’s obviously not expected that one would rip and replace the entire IT
infrastructure with energy efficient elements overnight. But things can be done
slowly. During your next IT equipment purchase for instance, do take power
saving or energy efficient features of the equipment into account. A lot of IT
equipment manufacturers today are themselves looking at building more energy
efficient products.

Slowly, as older equipment gets phased out and newer equipment comes in, your
data center automatically becomes energy efficient. Another problem is wasted
capacity. For example, consider the utilization level of servers in your data
center. Virtualization is one of the technologies being considered to increase
server utilization. With multi-core servers coming in, it might make more sense
to virtualize them and run multiple applications. It could actually reduce your
server purchase cycles. There are many other measures you can take, and we’ve
got a separate story on how to make your data center more energy efficient in
this issue for you to find those out.

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