Running on Full When Trying to Meet Escalating Demand

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There’s no shortage of ways data impacts our businesses and lives—driving data center efficiencies to reduce energy consumption and cost—but unfortunately many data center managers are running into capacity shortfalls when trying to meet that escalating demand.

Hitting limitations in electrical and cooling infrastructure and relentless data growth at the same time, many data centers can be figuratively busting at the seams. These limitations might be location based, or due to power caps imposed by a utility or the sub-station. But many of your peers are facing them today. Plus, where we used to see a steady power draw and cooling output, we are now more often seeing unpredictability in both.

If you’ve hit a utility cap there’s not a lot that can get you more power in a quick manner. But you can avoid bumping up against capacity limitations by how you manage your own data center and facility.

This can require a closer relationship between IT and facilities, and that may mean breaking down certain organizational constructs and eschewing corporate politics. To know when you’re approaching capacity, you must monitor and meter. Either an IT manager can implement tools or facilities can monitor on the main switch gear entering the building, but it simply must be done—overloading the main switch will either cause the building to go down, or all gear to overheat because the cooling infrastructure has.

When metering and measuring data center energy cost, efficiency and power usage effectiveness (PUE), you can implement changes—some small, others big—to seek out even greater efficiency before the data center approaches, say, 90 percent of the building’s capacity. Often these changes may take a modular or pre-fab approach to add capacity affordably, easily and quickly.

If the data center approaches capacity, an efficiency assessment is prescribed—either your own or conducted by an external efficiency expert. If DCIM software such as StruxureWare has been implemented, you can see exactly what is causing the heaviest power demands, as well as compare the data center PUE and operations with other industry best-practices. DCIM can be a powerful way—although not the only one—to arm yourself with the knowledge needed to accurately assess your environment. And improving efficiency starts with truly assessing it.

The reality is that when you run out of utility power and facility cooling you need to find efficiencies to continue to expand to meet demands. But by finding efficiencies through measuring, metering and monitoring before brushing up against capacity limitations you can avoid them all together.

Check out our Data Center Efficiency Calculator to see what changes you can make to your data center today to avoid a crunch tomorrow.

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