How (And Why) IT Facilities Should Reduce Energy Consumption
One of the single biggest users of electricity in a given organization is usually the IT department. Cutting back on this consumption is a high priority for many, but it can be difficult to find a way to do so without cutting back on performance. Here’s a closer look at why IT departments should reduce their energy usage—and how they can do it.
Going Green, Saving Money
Reduced electricity consumption is important for a number of reasons. One major one is simply that it helps out the bottom line; electricity costs money, and massive power consumption can lead to massive bills. Additionally, there is an environmental component, since much of the electricity produced today is taken from non-sustainable sources like fossil fuels. Cutting back on power consumption is good for the planet (and for public relations). But how can IT departments go about reducing their electricity use without compromising performance?
One excellent option is to integrate energy management. For many large scale operations, server rooms, data centers, and IT facilities are managed separately from the rest of the building. In many cases the IT manager, rather than facilities management, is responsible for things such as cooling, security systems, and power supplies. An integrated energy management system, however, gives the site manager control of these facilities along with the rest of the complex. This can lead to more unified and efficient management of processes, electricity, and security. Working in tandem with IT management, facilities managers can plan for growth and maximize existing resources.
Use of Space
Data centers can also ensure appropriate energy use with careful management of their available space. Often, businesses will build their IT centers with an eye towards the future, making them bigger than necessary in order to leave room to grow. While this is solid long-term planning, it means that parts of the data center may sit unused for years, requiring maintenance, lighting, cooling, and other expensive services with little to no benefit in exchange. Using this space for something else, or using prefabricated modules in order to allow for future growth patterns, is a good way to reduce this waste.
Another important step that IT facilities can take is to implement the use of data center infrastructure management software, or DCIM. These programs collect data and monitor metrics such as resource usage, operational status, and electrical efficiency; they can even pinpoint problem spots (such as overloaded servers or inadequate cooling systems) and guide management towards more efficient solutions. Knowing what’s going on in a server facility makes it easier to identify problems and solutions.
While electricity usage can be high for IT centers, there are ways to reduce it. Smart planning can benefit both the planet and your organization’s budget.