How Green is Your Data Center?

(Originally published February 12, 2007)

If you’re interested in saving money, fighting global warming, or insuring better disaster recovery, you might consider “greening” your data center.

Computers, particularly servers, are using increasing amounts of electricity. As we use higher-performance servers and move from standalone models to rack-mounted and blade servers, both the power and cooling needed increase. IDC recently reported that the power required to run servers increased on average from one kilowatt per rack in 2000 to 6.8 kilowatts per rack in 2006.

Cooling systems costs have increased similarly, partially because servers packed closer together are harder to ventilate.

The IT industry has noticed the trend, and vendors are beginning to offer solutions. One of the most promising is virtualization, where many virtual servers can be combined on one physical machine. Other approaches include buying servers that are more energy-efficient and designing data centers to be cooled more efficiently.

CGNET Goes Green
CGNET has begun to reduce its power usage by virtualizing servers. In the last year, we have virtualized more than 50 servers, replacing five physical servers with one virtual server, on the average. We anticipate that as we continue to virtualize, the ratio may approach eight or nine virtual servers to one physical server. We have also redesigned our data center to provide more efficient air conditioning.

CGNET is working with its local power utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, to reduce CGNET’s data center power consumption. PG&E offers financial incentives as part of its commitment to reducing data centers’ power consumption.

CGNET began virtualizing servers more than two years ago, largely because virtualization allows for much more effective restoration of services in the case of downtime, but it soon became apparent that virtualization is not only a good IT choice but one that also conserves power and reduces heat.

Another way to reduce your organization’s data center power consumption is to outsource applications to green data centers. CGNET is dedicated to supplying services at the lowest possible levels of power consumption, so that it can be such a green outsourcing choice.

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