How to Improve Data Center Efficiency (and Why You Should)

Data centers are indispensable for millions of businesses, but many data centers operate inefficiently, wasting resources, costing extra money, and presenting long-term problems. What steps can you take to improve the efficiency of your data centers? And why is data center optimization so important in the first place?

How to Improve Data Center Efficiency (and Why You Should)

The Value of Data Center Efficiency

In the context of data centers, “efficiency” can refer to a few different, yet related concepts.

First, there’s efficiency as it relates to data center networking. If you use your equipment efficiently, and design your data center optimally, you usually require less hardware and less complex network connections. This can improve performance while simultaneously making your data center simpler and easier to manage.

Second, there’s raw energy efficiency. Data centers use a surprising amount of energy, powering racks of computer hardware and advanced cooling systems at the same time. The more efficient your data center is, the less power it’s going to use.

These effects and others lead to several benefits of data center efficiency:

Reduce costs. Data center efficiency can reduce costs in several ways. You’ll need less hardware and less space when operating efficiently, you’ll use less energy, which should reduce the cost of your utility bills, and because your data center is simpler, it will require less maintenance and cause fewer issues, reducing labor costs associated with it. If you maximize the efficiency of your data center, you can get it running cheaply.

Improve performance. At the same time, increasing the efficiency of your data center should improve its performance. You’ll be able to do more with less, maximizing your capabilities without requiring additional investment.

Simplify maintenance. Simpler data center systems are typically easier to maintain. Issues are more predictable, easily preventable, and relatively easy to identify. And because simpler systems are usually intuitive, training new people on maintenance is usually easy as well.

Streamline troubleshooting. In line with this, if there are any issues with your efficient data center, they should be easy to pinpoint. Troubleshooting is much simpler with a simply and intelligently designed system.

Lower utility consumption (and emissions). Don’t forget that efficient data centers use less energy. This means your entire operation will consume less electricity, thus reducing your utility bills and saving your business money.

How to Improve Data Center Efficiency (and Why You Should)

So what steps can you take to improve the efficiency of your data center?

Work with an experienced partner. First, consider working with an experienced partner in the IT industry. IT consultants are experts at data center planning and IT infrastructure optimization; they can help you decide what type of equipment to purchase, how to design your data center, how to optimize your current assets, and how to approach ongoing monitoring.

Plan strategically. The earlier you plan, the better. If you’re building a data center from scratch, focus on keeping your designs compact, yet scalable, covering all your needs without any unnecessary investments.

Make scaling easy. Simultaneously, you have to think about the future. This data center isn’t exclusively dedicated to serving your present needs; it’s also supposed to serve your future needs. The easier it is to expand, the simpler and more efficient your expansion will be when the time comes.

Rely on virtualization. Virtualization helps you make the most of the physical space available to you. It also improves your scalability.

Invest in modern cooling. Data center cooling technology has come a long way, with modern systems offering much more robust cooling capacity with less required equipment and lower operating costs. If your cooling systems are out of date, now might be the right time to investigate a possible upgrade. If you’re building a new data center, don’t be afraid to splurge here. Cooling is one of the biggest expenses associated with managing a data center.

Ensure solid airflow. If you want to make your cooling even more efficient, ensure solid airflow throughout the building. Adding more space between units allows for more air circulation, expediting the cooling process.

Incorporate performance monitoring. Use performance monitoring to evaluate how your data center is performing. It’s the best way to identify hot spots, bottlenecks, and other potential issues proactively. When you notice an instance of inefficiency, try to address it.

Identify stranded power capacity. Finally, identify stranded power capacity in your data center. In other words, look for any equipment currently consuming power without providing functional utility; these instances demonstrate inefficient power usage and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Data centers aren’t efficient by default. But with proper planning, virtualization, better cooling and air flow, and regular attention to your performance, you can gradually make the changes necessary to save money and improve performance.