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Data centre energy efficiency drives must be tailored to the building or can cost more than they save

Mon, 06/03/2013 - 18:36 -- Ruth Williams

A whitepaper released by Future Facilities suggests that upgrades based on commonly held data centre management assumptions can be more costly for operators than the total savings if not fully analysed before deployment.data centre racks

Future Facilities is a specialist in simulation CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) for data centre design and their operational management. It has released the paper called “An energy efficiency drive that can cost more than it saves”, which shows how some energy efficient strategies can be costly if the full impact across the data centre as a whole is not rigorously viewed via modelling.

Using the example of installing Electrically Commutated fans as a cooling system is a 'standard' energy saving tactic employed at data centres but these change the performance of the whole centre.

Dave King, author of the paper said: “Any upgrade that changes the airflows within the facility changes the overall behaviour of the data centre and may bring new problems as a result. Only modelling also allows you to clearly assess the full impact of an upgrade to the facility including future capacity planning and deployment implications that could lead to lost or stranded capacity. Only modelling can show you if an upgrade will create new hotspots and enable you to calculate the full costs related to a possible deployment including all secondary costs, which are the ones that can really hurt you." 

Without full analysis the changes can create new problems that outweigh the benefits. The paper concludes that because each facility has a unique thermal environment any changes must be tailored to the building rather than assuming an off-the-shelf energy and cost saving technique would be appropriate.

The full whitepaper: “An energy efficiency drive that can cost more than it saves” can be read at http://www.futurefacilities.com/media/info.php?id=181