When is the Data Center Ready for Energy Management?

August 24, 2009 - 1 Comment

imageA good report was issued last week from The 451 Group, written by Andy Lawerence. They issued another insightful report last year called Eco-Efficient IT and appear to be an analyst body spending some real cycles on digging past the Green veneer. While we’ve not purchased this most recent report “Data Center Management and Energy Efficiency Software“, the executive summary is worth the very simple registration process. Without giving too much away there are a few key points I thought worthy of highlighting:1) There are already as many as 9 distinct approaches to energy management in data centers2) Traditional organizational structures are being challenged3) The business case is already very attractiveOn this last point, there is a lot of room for real financial savings with very little capital expenditure. To simplify for the sake of blog’eese; the way we are assessing it in the team I lead for Energy Management Services is as follows:1) How much total energy does your data center use2) What is the DC’s Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE – meaning the overhead of the building in relation to IT load)3) What is the DC’s Corporate Average Data Center Efficiency (CADE – meaning the PUE juxtaposed with the utilization of the IT load)4) What is IP addressable across facilities and IT infrastructure today5) Of the infrastructure that can be IP addressed or mediated, when and why should we deploy EnergyWiseAs I mentioned, this is a simplified description of an extensive methodology but it is is working. We currently have several large and many smaller companies piloting EnergyWise for data center environments among others. When I say that your reaction might be what do you mean people are using it in the data center! It’s not even across Nexus and UCS yet?!Remember this, a data center is a JAR (just another room) when it comes to energy management. There are already a variety of switching platforms that you probably already have on your networks that can be used to run EnergyWise. Where data centers maybe JAR’s they are not JAO’s (just another operation). The devil in the details with data center will come in how you or we build for you the control policies. Simple time of day policies that completely knock over servers only work for a small subsection of most data centers. However, within the EnergyWise software developers kit (SDK) there will be the ability to put Cisco and non-Cisco assets into different power states. Spin-down versus turn off is just over the horizon.I’m letting you know this because it will very likely take you 6-12 months to pilot and build/structure a team to manage and report on energy management. This team should keep there eyes on the prize which is not simply one data center but the whole enterprise. We are seeing some results in pilots that range from 8-12% reductions in total energy use. These are of course conservative but take that 12% figure and multiply it by what your enterprise paid for energy last year. In Cisco’s case that is $12M USD. That’s the prize and why using the excuse of “the economy” right now to not go Green seems so contradictory if one takes the time to really analyze what is going on around energy use.imageThanks for reading.

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  1. Nice post and very informative thanks Rob