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Understanding reality of the data center power consumption

By Donna Donnawitz
September 26, 2012
Data centers use boatloads of power. The amount of energy consumed at some facilities can be overwhelming. At the same time, the somewhat crazy ideas out there to optimize data centers for power efficiency can seem laughable at first, but extremely innovative at second thought.

Everything from floating data centers that get energy from the movement of waves and are kept cool by seawater to zero-emission facilities in the desert has been considered. At this point, none of these ideas are actually in consideration for widespread use, but they provide insight into the real trends impacting the data center industry.

In actual facilities, you can see free cooling systems that use outside air to keep servers at proper temperatures, seawater-based cooling systems, chillers that depend on recycled sewer water and power systems running off of biogas, which is basically refined manure. So with so many creative and sustainable ideas out there, the data center industry would seem to be taking major strides in power efficiency, especially with the cloud and virtualization enabling much more efficient IT setups within facilities.

But if you are The New York Times, all of these state-of-the-art facilities are not indicative of the data center industry. A recent InformationWeek report explained that are piece published in The New York Times claimed that cloud computing is an environmental evil because it ratchets up computing demand. To further this belief, it pointed to a traditional enterprise data center with architectures dating back to the 1980s or 1990s, not the contemporary systems that are powering the cloud and enabling more sustainable computing.

InformationWeek explained that recent innovation in the data center industry, even advances going back almost a decade, have contributed to a much more energy-efficient sector. This is especially true among the facilities powering the cloud and many web applications, as they need efficient architectures to keep utility bills in check.

But what do you do if you are an IT manager who has a legacy data center and can't afford a new one? One answer is to use third-party hosting resources, such as colocation, that allow you to maintain control of your IT systems, but house them in a state-of-the-art facility. The big question with such a plan is how to manage systems in a remote data center. This is where console management infrastructure comes into play. Using console server systems, IT managers can control every element of the IT configuration, and some facility solutions, from a remote console, a smartphone or a central control device.

Perle’s wide range of 1 to 48 port Perle Console Servers provide data center managers and network administrators with secure remote management of any device with a serial console port. Plus, they are the only truly fault tolerant Console Servers on the market with the advanced security functionality needed to easily perform secure remote data center management and out-of-band management of IT assets from anywhere in the world.


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