Emerging trends in data center design are making it possible to build new data centers with a 300 percent larger capacity in only 60 percent of the space of existing data centers, according to Gartner research.


But that doesn’t mean companies need to wait to take advantage of those trends. There are steps that can be taken today to improve power consumption and overall efficiency.


“There is a real and growing desire to increase productivity in data centers,” said Dave Cappuccio, chief of infrastructure research for Gartner in a report on next generation data centers. “Organizations are starting to take a serious look at consumption ratios of compute power to energy consumed and then compare them against estimated productivity of applications and the equipment to deliver that application.”


When coupled with the fact that most IT assets are underutilized, that creates an opportunity for significant improvements, says Cappuccio.


Gartner recommends organizations investigate five actions today that can reduce power consumption and overall efficiency in the data center:


  1. Implement row- and rack-based cooling for higher-density equipment. This can reduce energy consumption by up to 15% while making the data center more scalable.
  2. Right-size the data center by building and provisioning only what is needed. By expanding only when needed, long-term operating expenses can be reduced by 10% to 30%.
  3. Use air economizers in certain geographies to take advantage of air from outside the building to cool servers. Gartner says many data centers have air handlers with economizer modes, but disabled it in earlier years when energy consumption was not as great an issue as it is today.
  4. Pay attention to floor layouts, not only with respect to hot aisle/cold aisle factors, but with regard to overall air movement. This can reduce workloads on your air handling equipment.
  5. Virtualize as much as possible – especially on x86 equipment. The average x86 server has very low utilization levels, but requires a high degree of its maximum power to run. By pushing these systems to higher utilization levels, power consumption can be reduced and floor space freed.


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