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There is an enormous problem that occurs when planning out a data center based on anticipated needs. Yes, it is important to think about what will be needed 10 to 15 year down the road, but with today’s scalable and modular designs there is no longer a need to… Let’s face it, inefficient data centers cost more; plain and simple. In fact, over-sizing is the number one cause of inefficiency and therefore a higher than necessary total cost of ownership. There are several things you can do to avoid these cost issues and by far, right-sizing is the most cost impacting tactic.
Over-sizing drives unnecessary capital, maintenance, and energy expenses, which are a substantial fraction of a data center’s overall life-cycle cost. What many people don’t realize is that there are fixed costs in the power and cooling systems whether or not the IT load is present! For example, a typical system that is loaded at 30% of rating has an electrical cost per kW of IT load of approximately $2,300 per kW per year. However, if the system were right-sized, the electrical cost per kW of IT load falls to approximately $1,440 per kW per year. This is a 38% savings in electrical costs alone! Right-sizing has the potential to save you 13% on the total cost of ownership including IT, 30% of which is savings from your data center’s physical infrastructure. It’s these potential savings that are driving the industry toward modular and scalable solutions.
If the cost saving weren’t enough, there are also qualitative advantages to right-sizing with modular equipment. Scalable solutions normally come in a “plug and play” set-up which will eliminate the need for hot work. Also, special site preparation, such as raised floors, would be reduced. Of course the system would still be capable of operating in N, N+1, or 2N configurations without modification and installation work such as wiring, drilling, and cutting would be greatly reduced. The need for special permitting or regulatory procedures that are sometimes needed in order to increase capacity would also be reduced. Finally, the maintenance cost of the modular power system would be the same or less than the cost of the traditional centralized system.
If you are interested in lowering your data center’s energy bill than clearly right-sizing is something that you need to learn more about. To estimate the benefits you could realize from right-sizing, check out our Data Center Design Planning Tool. With this tool you can test out various scenarios to see the potential savings in capital cost, energy, and maintenance. If you want to learn more about growth planning and the value of right-sizing, take a look at the complete white paper, Data Center Projects: Growth Model.