Critical Power – It’s Time to Start Thinking Big Picture

When you think about Power in the Data Center, what comes to mind? For most site managers, efficiency and reliability are at the top of the list. For those whose jobs encompass company-wide IT issues, growth and integration may be the buzzwords. And if you’re responsible for the company’s budget and bottom line, costs associated with all the above are surely top-of-mind. But it’s the truly effective individual that thinks about ALL these components when addressing the power needs of a data center.

Power is Priority #1

Whether you’re designing a data center from the ground up or looking to improve upon the efficiency of an existing critical environment, strategic power usage planning is a must. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as often as it should. I cannot begin to count the number of times CEG has been brought in to optimize an environment, only to find rack space and room size completely inadequate for that company’s processing needs; homegrown cooling solutions; and no way to track or monitor energy consumption.

Thoughtful organization, from day one and every day after, is key for power efficiency. Location, network size, room design, scalability, security requirements, energy incentives, etc. will all influence electricity use. No matter what stage your critical environment is in, you should always be on the lookout for ways – big and small – to improve upon power usage and capacity planning. For example, CEG has helped clients move from legacy under floor wiring to an overhead busway system. We’ve eliminated localized hot spots in an environment by improving airflow at all levels (rack, row, floor, ceiling). We’ve even identified efficiencies by simply suggesting a change in rack or cabinet setup.

Always be Watching

Because power is now the single largest operational cost in an IT facility, it’s not enough to implement the latest and greatest enhancements. You’ve also got to monitor and measure the effectiveness of your critical power strategies.

IT managers need to be able to detect when higher demand and subsequent higher power draws will occur. Alerting systems that monitor temperature and room environment, such as CEG’s Aurora, are equally vital. In addition to ensuring uptime and maintaining operational efficiencies, the data you collect from monitoring will be key in justifying the company’s investment in data center improvements.

Never Stop Improving

Here’s my takeaway regarding critical power: never stop searching for solutions that improve upon power management. Short-term, you’ll always be ahead of power drains, breakdowns and outages. Longer-term, increases and decreases in power can easily be accommodated thanks to thoughtful, scalable planning.

 

Rob Huttemann, Senior Vice President of Operations