Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck with Data Center Modernization

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Ten years ago, the iPad didn’t exist, we connected via a 3G network. Clearly, much has changed including data center technology. But as assets age, it’s hard to know where to prioritize your data center modernization efforts to get the most bang for your buck.

If you are building a new data center, you should be deploying a cost and risk optimized solution. However, if you have an aging data center, you are likely not operating at the same efficiency and risk profile as a new data center being deployed today. This places you at a competitive disadvantage.

The big question you should be asking is – how should I modernize my data center to improve costs and reduce risk? Essentially, there are three areas of focus for data center modernization: equipment (electrical and mechanical infrastructure), systems (EPMS, BMS, DCIM) and operations (operate maintain, monitor).

Where to Focus Your Data Center Modernization Effort

If you look at the typical data center, 80 percent of the annual P&L costs are associated with mechanical/electrical utilities and the depreciation of your CapEx investment. If you have already built your data center, it probably does not make sense to replace these capital investments unless the equipment has been fully depreciated and reached the end of its useful life. However, when it comes time to replace your data center equipment, you should be evaluating technologies that are more efficient and reduce operations risk.

From an OpEx perspective, the annual utility costs could easily be the highest expense line item on your P&L statement next to the depreciation on your capital investment. Therefore, deploying highly efficient technologies should be a top focus of any modernization effort. This can be accomplished when replacing aged assets, or it may involve adding new technologies that were not available/incorporated into the original design.

Getting the Most for Your Money

Shot of computer programmers looking through data in the officeAll data centers, new or old, should focus on reducing the overall energy consumption and improving the Power Utilization Effectiveness (PUE). For example, a reduction in your PUE from 1.8 to 1.5 in a 1MW data center will result in $262.000 per year in annual utility savings (based on average cost per KW of 10 cents).

Start with fixing the basics; such as, adjusting temperature and humidity set points, installing hot/cold aisle containment solution. If you are modernizing an existing data center or building a new data center, you can take it a step further.

Staffing presents additional savings opportunity. While it might make sense for large colocation providers to staff 7×24, smaller facilities less than 1MW in size can leverage technology — control systems, automation, monitoring, alarming and alerting — to support a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 model. A cloud-enabled monitoring service, such as EcoStruxure Asset Advisor, can provide flexible, anywhere/anytime access to check a data center’s status and health.

Moving from frequency-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance could reduce the amount of maintenance performed on equipment and reduce cost. Perhaps, maintenance on non-critical data center systems or equipment could be performed on weekdays instead of weekends for additional savings.  With condition-based maintenance, EcoStruxure Building Advisor and EcoStruxure Power Advisor can enable the data center operations to align with the life cycle of the data center.

Use Leading Edge Technology for Modernizing Your Data Center

Think about implementing more leading edge technology like a high efficiency modular UPS, indirect evaporative cooling, DCIM solutions or software defined power or 24/7 remote monitoring solutions.

Or take for example, lithium-ion batteries which are a strong alternative to traditional lead acid batteries. Main benefits include: 30 to 50 percent lower TCO, 60 to 70 percent less weight, 40 to 60 percent smaller footprint, 10x the number of cycles and 2 to 3x life expectancy over VRLA batteries.

New technologies like these will significantly impact the operational efficiency of a data center and help manage risk. As well as demonstrate how you can gain a competitive advantage to support your digital transformation with an EcoStruxure software and service solution.