Why datacentre efficiency matters

Energy efficiency is at least somewhere on the agenda of most IT managers, thanks in part to the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and in part to the relentless rise of energy prices over recent years.

But for all that the issue can generally be found on the agenda, it’s not always as near the top as it might be – and nor is it always clear how the IT manager can best respond.

To see exactly why it deserves a spot somewhere near the top of every IT manager’s priorities, it is worth recapping exactly what is at stake, and how datacentre efficiency in particular can be a hugely effectively part of the response.

The Challenge

CRC is a mandatory requirement for all companies purchasing more than 6,000 MWh of electricity through half-hourly meters. Depending on the price you pay for electricity, this roughly equates to an annual bill of £500,000.

Companies which qualify were required to register by September 2010, and since April they have had to purchase carbon allowances at £12 for every tonne of CO2 emitted. From 2013 the Government will cap the number of allowances available, auctioning a fixed quantity. At this point the price will become variable and can reasonably be expected to be higher than the current £12.

In addition to this legislative pressure, the cost of electricity looks set to continue rising by at least its recent average of 10% per year.

The Datacentre Contribution

The typical UK datacentre PUEs (Power Usage Effectiveness) is between 2.5 and 3.0, which means that more electricity is consumed in cooling than in powering the IT equipment. Plenty of case studies now exist to show that it is perfectly possible to bring the PUE of even legacy datacentres (with equipment more than two years old) to 1.8.

What impact would this have in practice?

Well, the majority of enterprise level corporations that Excel typically works with have multiple datacentres consuming 1MW to 5MW per site. The table below gives an indication of the potential cost savings that this reduction in PUE could deliver in legacy datacentres ranging from 1MW to 10MW load.

Datacentre PUE

The level of these savings means that any expenditure on datacentre efficiency almost inevitably delivers a return on investment in less than 12 months. And alongside the clear financial and environmental gains are a host of associated benefits – increased reliability of business critical IT systems and increased capacity within the datacentre.

If you would like to talk to a datacentre efficiency specialist about pushing energy management  and reduction further up the agenda at your company, call Excel today on 01708 865855 or email sales@excelit.com.