Operational performance and efficiency are often considered key factors to a well-designed data center. In fact, many businesses evaluate their data center using a metric known as Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), which assesses capital expenses and operational expenses, to determine success.

However, as data centers increasingly consume more and more of the global electricity supply, it is clear a major component is missing from the success equation – their impact on the environment.

A recent survey in the Data Centers & The Environment reported that data centers take up 3% of the global electricity supply and consume more power than the entire UK.1

Despite their growing impact, an alarming 43% of companies do not currently have an environmental policy. Even more shocking, of those who don’t, about half have no intention of developing one any time soon.1

According to the report, the main reasons these businesses have not made environmental policy a key objective is because of the perceived high cost, lack of resources and a poor understanding.1

What many companies do not know is they can control their consumption and save money. Here are tips on how to design your data center to meet your efficiency goals, control costs, and reduce your impact on the environment:

1. Know Your PUE

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is the ratio of total energy used by a data facility relative to the energy delivered to the IT equipment. A growing number of companies like Google and Microsoft use this calculation to determine efficient energy usage.

Yet survey data shows PUE awareness among many companies is severely lagging – with only about half of IT managers who know their company’s PUE. 1

To ensure your company is using energy efficiently, make PUE a performance metric that is regularly monitored. Using a simple calculator can help.

As a benchmark, the average data center has an average PUE of 2.5, but facilities that use efficient equipment and best practices can achieve 1.6 PUE.

2. Update Technology

The latest technology advancements are making it easier for businesses to not only run their data centers more effectively, but at a reduced cost. Many times, this does not even require significant investments in all new equipment, but rather refreshing sub-systems to optimize equipment with a longer life-cycle.

For example, older servers have typically required IT managers to maintain cool room temperatures to ensure optimal performance and reliability of equipment. However, newer servers have optimized thermal designs, allowing them to run in ambient temperatures that reduce energy consumption and cost, without inhibiting performance or reliability.

In the event it makes sense to replace equipment, making an upfront investment in a newer systems that operates at a lower power consumption will pay for itself quickly, and can end up saving companies millions over time.

3. Recycle Equipment Responsibly

Despite the fact nearly 100% of e-waste is recyclable, only 15-20% is actually recycled. Electronics contain toxic substances like mercury, lead, cadmium, which if not properly disposed of, can pose serious health and environmental risks.

Increasing regulations are putting the pressure on companies to properly dispose of their old equipment or else incur major fines. When equipment is ready to be retired, companies should have a process to recycle internally, repurpose, or partner with a company to ensure they are protecting the environment and staying compliant.

If your company still has yet to incorporate environmental procedures into your data center design, Avritek can help.

Avritek has earned the AAA certification by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) for hard drive shredding and the R2 certification for responsible recycling. We have extensive experience in data center deinstallations, high-tech facility moves and closures, and technology refreshes.

Since 2004 Avritek has been a leader in our industry because of our

  • unwavering commitment to the highest standards of data security
  • ability to provide a high return on technology assets
  • outstanding customer service

For more information visit www.avritek.com or call 858-715-0950.

References

1 Supermicro. Data Centers & The Environment. https://www.supermicro.com/white_paper/DataCenters_and_theEnvironmentDec2018_Final.pdf. Dec. 2018.