“Going green” has been part of the zeitgeist for a number of years thanks to vocal climate change activists like former Vice President Al Gore. Because business stakeholders often assume that going green means spending a lot of green, they tend to fear that going green creates too many inconveniences and inefficiencies.
Whether or not you accept the science behind climate change, you can accept one thing: dollar signs. As it turns out, the eco-friendly data center can deliver a number of advantages for any business, including significant cost savings. By lowering facilities costs and concerns, you can refocus on the more pressing matter of implementing data protection in an organization. In our fast-paced New Media-centric world, data can be everything to a business. That is why it is not only important to protect that data, but to protect it well. Don’t settle for just any data security program. There are cloud security applications that allow data mining benefits for your cloud storage. This software essentially goes through your files and projects in an extremely thorough manner, meticulously searching through millions of lines of code for a single virus or cyber threat. Implementing forward-thinking data management solutions like this are key for any organization. Plus, your business will be doing its part for the environment when you green up your data center. Let’s look at five main advantages of developing an eco-friendly data center strategy. Then, we’ll briefly examine some potential savings statistics.
Less Energy Input
Data centers gobble up a lot of energy. Functions like cooling, security, redundant Internet connections, backup power supplies and fire suppression require a great deal of electricity. According to The New York Times, worldwide data centers use 30 billion watts of electricity, which is the equivalent of the output of 30 nuclear plants. Nearly one-third of that energy usage comes from the U.S. In fact, nearly 2 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. is used by data centers. Obviously, using less electricity means lower electricity bills for your business, so figuring out more efficient ways of performing these functions is crucial.
Less Electrical Waste
Data centers may waste up to 90 percent of the power that they pull off of the grid. They do this by running all assets at full capacity, even during times of low demand. McKinsey & Company found that most data centers use 6 to 12 percent of the electricity that they pull in to perform computations, while the rest of it powers idle servers so that the data center can avoid a crash during a demand surge. By figuring out ways to waste less power, you can take in less power and thus, once again, cut your energy bills.
Many businesses avoid raising the temperatures in their data centers because they fear equipment outages, and they fear that they will void equipment warranties. Maintaining a constant temperature of 68 F in your data center means major air conditioner bills. Using outside air for cooling, as long as your filtration is good, can save a great deal of money. Additionally, according to the Green Grid Forum, IT hardware failure rates are lower in data centers with variable temperatures, which is code for “outside air cooling.”
For a number of years, state governments have offered tax incentives to lure data centers within their borders. Purchases of equipment including generators, uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems and switches, are often offset by these tax incentives. Federal tax incentives like the Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction offer a deduction of $1.80 per square foot for constructing or re-designing buildings in a way that cuts energy usage by 50 percent or more.
Overall Cost Savings
According to information published by Google, a greener data center design helped them to shave 12 percent off of their electricity waste. Their data centers measure 1.12 PUE, while leading data centers measure around 1.8 or 1.9 PUE. Your data center may not be as massive as Google’s; however, these statistics show that greener data centers translate into a significant cost savings no matter what their size.
Saving Money With a Greener Data Center
Here are some quick ideas of how much money you could save by greening your data center:
· Server virtualization: 10 to 40 percent
· Decommissioning unused servers:11 to 14 percent of total load
· Better management of data storage:Up to 60 percent
· Energy-efficient equipment: Savings of $480 to $1,440 over the life of a server. Also, increased UPS efficiency could save $90,000 in a 15,000 square foot data center running at 100 watts per square foot.
· Hot aisle/cold aisle:20 to 25 percent reduction in fan usage
About the Author: As the Global Director of End User Security at Trend Micro, Jamie Haggett has the unique challenge of finding innovative solutions for global customers related to end-user security with a focus on enabling end-user productivity. This includes working not only with global Fortune 100, government and health care organizations, but also with leading analysts and internal product management. Jamie is also responsible for providing guidance and awareness regarding the latest cyber threats both internally and externally.