Articles

The quality of a datacenter is related to its power consumption optimization

Even if operators defend, the increase in electricity tariffs handed ‘flat’ traditional operation of data centers.

Originally for reasons of deadlines for placing on the market and economy of investment, the concept of the datacenter was modelled on that of the computer rooms. Investments were focused on technical equipment : air conditioners, electrical transformers, UPS… and their back-ups. For buildings, the model was the rehabilitation of space « offices »..

This approach has for some years exceeded its limits, and this for several reasons :

Too low electrical performance of these facilities

Recall here the requirements of a datacenter in electric power. To deliver power from 1kVA to hosted servers, It took additional 1kVA for air conditioning and double for each of their security system. Therefore a Bay of 10 kVA implied availability of 40 kVA.

The cost of this electric energy

Initially this cost was insignificant, but now a few years we are seeing an increase in annual and continuous between 5 and 7 % of this energy in the world : that is, in 4 years price per Kilowatt «took» more 25 % increase, and everything suggests that this escalation will continue (Source Reuters).

Quality of service guarantee in time

By definition, hosting servers is an approach that fits in the duration. For a Datacenter operator it means it must calculate its operating budget for several years, While most large amount was entirely outside its control : the cost of Kilowatt.
In this context, to maintain in operational condition their offerings, datacenter operators have only two solutions: either they regularly increase their rates to absorb this inflation, either they « are cutting back » on other expenses by agreeing to degrade the quality of their hosting services. The first approach is generally contractually impossible, It is only the second. It is ironic that it was precisely to prevent this degradation of the quality of the environment of its servers that the client has chosen to outsource its servers in a professional data center.
Let us not defeatist, because not only solutions exist and they are already marketed. Their implementations to generate substantial energy savings for a same accommodation capacity thanks to :

  1. The redesign of the cooling processes of data centers with the use of less expensive resources, natural resources as ambient air with free-cooling
  2. The use of inverters to inertia instead of batteries (less consumer of electric power for their maintenance in operational condition)
  3. An optimization of the use of certain equipment by the pooling of their function for the data center

In summary, We can consider that for a client the guarantee of the quality of a data center is its ability to optimize the use of electric power for computer servers hosting.

François Barre
Ingénieur Commercial Datacenter CELESTE