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Energy-Efficient Server Racks

If you are trying to go green, you may find that your server racks are holding you back. Server racks are often the culprit when it comes to ineffective energy usage, because ordinary racks not only waste energy, but also you need a lot of them.

Jonathan Koomey, data center energy expert, said, ?The main reason for focusing on servers is that they represent the largest portion of the IT energy load [estimated at between 50% and 75%]. Servers deliver the service. They?re the heart and brains of the whole enterprise?the thing that drives the end result.?

It costs an average $114 annually to operate a server rack for the typical IT company. This gives you an opportunity to make your server racks more efficient, to save money and help the environment at the same time. You can do this by choosing servers with fans and efficient power supplies and processors.

To make sure you have energy efficient server racks, first you will want to check your power supply. Look at the AC and DC power to see if the conversion is inefficient. Typically, lower end server racks only convert at 60 to 70 percent. Choose a manufacturer who provides efficient server racks, as the CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute Amory Lovins stated, ?When customers realize that saving a watt in the data center is around $20 to $30, at 6 cents a kilowatt-hour, they will tend to favor manufacturers with efficient equipment.?

The next thing to look at for energy efficient server racks is to check the power supply certification in the body. Depending on your server rack, you could be saving up to 301 kWh per machine every year, rather than wasting all that energy and money. If you really want to commit to saving energy, consider joining the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI), which means a commitment to 89% or higher efficiency in 20% of your server racks.

The CSCI will guide you towards servers that qualify for their specifications, and they provide you with an entire catalogue of energy efficient server racks that fit their requirements. Another way to find energy efficient server products is to find products with the Energy Star rating, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Every little bit helps when trying to conserve energy with server racks. As it stands today, about 95% efficiency is the most for which you could hope. ?Companies may push above CSCI?s Gold level, which means 92% efficient supply, and you may see the industry push one more step beyond that. But I don?t think the economics will justify any increased focus beyond that point,? said Javier Izquierdo, director of power supply development for the Industry Standard Servers Division at HP. After this level of energy efficiency, server racks are about as good as it can get.

When choosing server racks, be sure to choose ones that are energy efficient, which will save you money and hassle down the road. As an added bonus to the financial benefits, you can conserve energy and go green at the same time.


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