Cooling represents the single largest component of energy use in most data centers. So why would a cooling vendor craft an energy efficiency analysis that focuses on servers and storage? That's what Emerson Network Power (EMR) has done with its Energy Logic, its new roadmap outlining a prioritized approach to reducing energy use in the data center.
The answer: because dealing with the IT equipment first magnifies the energy efficiency of nearly every other facet of the data center infrastructure. Emerson's analysis of various approaches to optimizing a 5,000 square foot data center found that a 1 watt reduction at the server level results in a savings of 1.84 watts in the power distribution system, UPS and switchgear.
At a time when the data center industry is looking for big new ideas or technologies to address the escalating power usage, the best short-term approach may be to buy energy-efficient servers and storage as the first step in a thorough review of the entire data center. The Energy Logic process defines the steps in that review and quantifies savings and provides an estimated time to return on investment of each recommended action.
"There are all these conflicting big ideas," said Jack Pouchet, the director of energy initiatives for Emerson Network Power. "We figured there had to be a more holistic way to look at this."
Energy Logic centers on what it calls "the cascade effect," in which each watt saved at the processor level amplifies the savings available at each level of equipment:
The key to making the process work is getting the IT and facilities management teams on the same page, a historic challenge within the data center. Pouchet says documenting the energy savings potential of IT equipment is a critical step in that discussion. "One of the things that's core to (Energy Logic) is that it breaks down that wall," said Pouchet.
"Up until now, IT could say 'I need 50 watts' and not be aware of the ramifications of that request," he said. "They're beginning to realize that they have to change that tide. We are seeing a paradigm shift in that IT is realizing that they're partners with facilities."
Andy Lawrence, an analyst at The 451 Group, said the Energy Logic approach "will help solidify Emerson's message in the scramble for eco-efficient datacenter business that is already underway." In a recent report, Lawrence noted the ways Emerson can leverage the Energy First methodology:
Aside from the benefits to its reputation from being associated with practical, leading-edge thinking, Emerson itself will seek to benefit commercially in three ways: First, an energy-efficient datacenter needs responsive cooling systems that can react to changes on the IT