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Factors that Impact Data Center's Efficiency

Posted by Jeffrey Mayer on September 25, 2012
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Curious about how to improve the energy efficiency of your data center? Here are six factors you should consider: 

  1. Site Location
  2. Facility Occupancy and Power Loading Rate
  3. Oversize Design Capacity Impacts Efficiency
  4. Modular Design
  5. Proper and Continuous Maintenance
  6. Power Density

Site Location
Of course, selecting a site location that is physically secure and has reliable access to power, water and communications is an important first step. Moreover with the rising awareness of “free cooling” The average and highest temperatures (as well as humidity) will directly impact the energy efficiency of the cooling systems. Of course, while not directly related the facility energy efficiency per se, attention to the cost of power and it fuel source should not be overlooked. Energy costs are highly location dependent and are based on local or purchased power generation costs (related to fuel types or sustain¬able sources such as, hydro, wind or solar), as well as any state and local taxes (or tax incentives) incentives which can provide lower costs, energy efficiency rebates or tax benefits.
Facility Occupancy and Power Loading Rate – Design vs. Actual
The energy efficiency of any data center will be directly affected by the actual percentage of the design load being used. The lower the load utilization compared to its design maximum, the lower the efficiency. This is directly related to its occupancy rate. If the site will not be heavily occupied for the first several years, a modular design should be considered to mitigate the impact of under-utilization. In addition, most data centers never operate a 100% of design load capacity primarily for ensuring equipment reliability and maintaining uptime. Depending on the organization culture, typically systems are operated at no more than 80-85% of design ratings (some may push to 90%) before it is considered “full”. This is a necessary, but prudent compromise of reliability vs. energy efficiency.
See full article here.

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