Do a Little to Do More.

Do a Little to Do More.

We’ve had the pleasure of being a technical advisor for a study conducted by the Center for Energy and the Environment. The project revolves around power consumption in small embedded data centers – here’s a synopsis of the study.

While that may sound scary, we were looking at the equivallent of one to four racks of equipment. What we learned is important, and should be fully released in the next month or two. Don’t worry, we’ll be sure and let you know once the full data is available. But today, more than ever, it’s important for us to look at what small changes we can make as individuals and companies that will benefit us all. There are a handful of both low- and no-cost ways of lowering your power consumption (whether you pay for your usage or not).

– Actionable items –

Low to No Cost:

  • Evaluate usage and schedule downtimes  |  It seems silly, but you could probably turn off your PoE powered access points from – for example – 11pm to 5am and save about 25% power draw for those devices. Every day. Some phone systems also allow for this – but make sure to check both your device and platform specifications for support. None of these devices have huge power draws, but over a large quantity, it has a big impact.
  • Proper cooling for network racks  |  Having an HVAC consultant evalute your airflow can save huge amounts of energy. Using hot aisle/cold aisle mentality with proper airflow will reduce how often the cooling unit is activated, consequently saving large amounts of energy. Similarly, evaluating temperature set point risk can also save significant energy over time. For example, instead of 68°, moving to 72° and adding an appropriately placed temperature sensor to the environment can help mitigate risk, as well as reduce overall energy consumption.

Some Costs:

  • Move items into a datacenter  |  When it comes to power management, datacenters are far more efficient. They’re built to squeeze every ounce of saving, which corresponds to how much power consumption is used.
  • Retire XServes  |  They have 1 killowatt power supplies, which is a big draw compared to, for comparison sake, a Mac mini at a max power draw of 85W. Windows servers, on the other hand, allow you to choose power supplies to match your purpose, and often lower than the 1KW Xserve
  • Virtualize  |  Instead of adding more physical servers, you may be able to virtualize and spread resources across multiple virtual machines. Some software allows you to shift resources based on demand, or schedule, thus bringing efficiencies in power consumption, and potentially less hardware needs.

Again, we’ll be sharing the full results of the study that CEE conducted in the near future, but these action items seem pertinent to today. We can all take action in small spaces and, as a collective, make a larger impact.

Feel free to reach out with any questions about any of the above, or how we might be able to assist.
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