Still at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas that ends mid-day today. I spent yesterday and this morning moving between "tracks" to learn more about virtualization, storage, networking, and any specifically named "Green IT" presentation.
Since Green IT is a relevant topic regardless of what technology in the data center is involved, it was encouraging to observe that even presentations about data center networking included statements such as 30% of computing power in the data center are for networking appliances (distinct from storage and servers). Therefore, by reconfiguring and optimizing networks, data centers can achieve a 15% reduction in power consumption in the data center. Of course, that is a broad generalization, but it shows that the concept of lean energy consumption is penetrating all the silo'd thinking and organization within the analyst research community.
An earlier presentation offered up some comparisons of this year's Gartner event audience concerns with those in 2006. When asked, "what is the greatest facility problem with your primary data center?", the 2006 results said that the number one concern was excessive heat (35% responded with that answer) followed by insufficient power (33%). The responses in 2007 (today) was reversed: 47% said that they had insufficient power, followed by 27% who said they had insufficient cooling.
Following that question, the presenters asked the audience: "what is your primary source of cooling today?"
48% said CRAC units
26% said CRAC units plus specialty cooling for hot spots
18% centralized cooling plant only
When the audience was asked, "If you are planning a new or expanded/upgraded data center, what power rating will you design to?"
31% are planning for 125 watts per square feet
28% don’t know 27% are planning for 75 – 125 watts per square feet,
only 12% said 20 – 75 watts per sf.
The presentation ended with these Gartner recommendations:
Optimize ensure a raised floor ambient temp of 70 – 74 degrees F and relative humidity of 45 – 50%.
Fix what you can to optimize airflow within the room and the rack.
Consider virtualization rather than blades for consolidation.
Shift non essential workloads to off peak hours.
Decommission and remove unused equipment.
Execute proper preventive maintenance routines.
"Why Green?" asked John Phelps, of Gartner in the last Green IT presentation of the conference. He answered his own question with "per square foot annual data center energy costs are 30 - 80 times more than those of a typical office building. but their own poll say 70% of CIOs are not concerned with power consumption. Because they aren't being charged by the power. There is no meter on the data center. Believe me, that is going to change."The IT industry produces 38 million metric tons of C02 emissions from data centers.
In earlier blogs, I think you've already read a lot of those statistics, for example, that the total cost of ownership of servers is smaller than its electricity bill over 36 months. To this Gartner audience, storage or the network practitioners, it appears to be novel. They haven't really given thought to how to apply the principles of "use less" to their own dynamic environment.
"Green is more than power usage", Phelps said. Non IT equipment, asset procurement (based on full life cycles) energy sources, e-waste management, and building construction should all be added into the full analysis. Phelps said that he prefers the data center efficiency equation over the Power Usage Effiectiveness equation because it is described in percentage.
Here it is:
Electricity consumption by IT equipment divided by Total Data Center Electricity Consumption. When you can reduce the IT load, you can then follow up by reducing the cooling load. Then look at Universal Power Systems and Power Distribution units, AC v DC power, and more efficient generators.
This is my last blog from the conference. It was valuable to hear what analysts are saying and whether it resonates with my colleagues around the USA and Canada. It helps to hear what expectations and priorities for Green IT audiences have outside of Silicon Valley.
Have a green day!