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Energy efficiency becoming key in the data center

By Max Burkhalter
May 9, 2011
Data centers are expanding quickly as enterprise conditions are generating unheard of quantities of data. As a result, companies are increasingly deploying advanced data center technologies, such as server virtualization, that improve utilization rates and pack more information into less space.

Virtualization can be beneficial from an efficiency stand point because it reduces energy use, but it also increases the amount of money that businesses must invest in network infrastructure and cooling. Network appliances need to be upgraded to support virtualized servers because those devices are transmitting and processing more data and sending it through less hardware. Cooling needs to be improved because virtualization increases utilization rates and often leads to more devices being stored in less space. According to a recent Economic Times report, all of these data center trends are leading to a growing emphasis on environmental efficiency.

According to the report, having an environmentally efficient facility can be key to protecting the integrity of hardware stored inside. This is especially the case when it comes to cooling. Because virtualization is becoming a popular trend, many businesses are able to put all of their physical servers into a single facility and no longer need to spread devices out over as many data centers. This makes it harder to cool the facility because more hardware is creating heat in less space than it would normally be stored in. As a result, energy efficient, high-density cooling systems are quickly becoming more common in data center settings, the report said.

Overall, the growing trend toward virtualization and subsequent need for advanced cooling systems is spurring the creation of energy efficient data centers, the report said. Simply making the cooling system sustainable is not enough to handle the new demands created by virtualization, and the report said energy efficiency is merging as one of the primary concerns for any data center.

Recently, CA Technologies released information about the its sustainability initiatives. Over a period of a few years, the company instituted a number of policies and initiated many programs to improve environmental efficiency in its operations. One of those programs was to virtualize servers in its data centers. This has let the company consolidate its facilities and dramatically reduce the environmental impact of its data center operations, ZDNet reports.


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