back to article Symantec: Most data centers are a green tease

The majority of data center operators say they're concerned about power consumption, but when it comes to actually implementing a plan, they haven't the energy. Symantec's latest pollster thermometer prodded 800 data center professionals in a worldwide survey about energy efficiency woes. The firm says 85 per cent of …

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  1. Dunstan Vavasour
    Boffin

    Consolidation vs Virtualisation

    In consolidation you put multiple applications into a single server. In the traditional unix world, that was easily achieved (and still is) because the system is securely segmented.

    In virtualisation, you create virtual environments which imitate what an application would get if it were on its own.

    You can consolidate into a server which is a single operating environment or multiple virtual environments.

    It is all now soooo confusing because of the numerous degrees of separation available: whole server, hard partition, soft/logical partition, hypervisor layer, containerisation and plain old apps sitting next to each other.

  2. JeffyPooh

    Simple as that, is it?

    "...installing catalytic converters on backup generators..."

    So you just wander into the generator shed with a catalytic converter under your arm and screw it onto the exhaust stack of your backup generator, eh? That simple, is it?

    For gasoline engines, no need for stoichiometrically-accurate combustion control, computerized fuel injection, oxygen sensors, lambda feedback, and all that malarkey, eh?

    For diesel engines, no need for Mercedes to have spent several billions scratching their head trying to figure out how to clean up filthy diesel engines so that they could be equipped with similar devices without plugging them solid within a few hours, eh?

    And if you're running your backup generator so much that it matters at all (in the slightest), then get the power grid fixed.

    Seven percent? It appears that those being polled are smarter and/or better informed than the pollsters and/or Symantec.

    But then, we already knew that...

    http://symantec-sucks.blogspot.com/

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Saving power in the data centre is easy

    Don't mock the benefits of server consolidation using, for example, VMWare.

    We are saving tens of MW a year on our data centre power bill by consolidating up to 30 prod servers or up to 60 dev/QA servers at a time onto a single blade server running ESX.

    Migrating over 300 servers a year, many that are space and power inefficient old dungers, is providing real bottom-line benefits to us. We are seeing a reduction in the power required both to run physical machines and to cool them, and in physical cabinet space.

    Our next objective is to remove some of the fixed air processing equipment for further capital and OpEx savings, leading to a lowered data centre infrastructure cost accruing over the next four-to-five years.

    Oh, and not purchase any more servers that run at 3-8% average utilisation.

  4. Jon

    A better solution

    Power efficiency was a hot topic at SC07. Practically all the large research institutes looking to gain efficiencies in one way or another.

    However outside the conference rooms however were the gazillion flashing light of the casinos.

    I very much doubt that all the power savings made by datacentres around the world by any of the systems touted at SC would come close to that of nuking Reno & Vegas from orbit.

    Priorities anyone?

  5. OliverH

    Lights, indeed!

    I completely agree. It always bothers me when I drive past vast retail sites, closed to all but the cleaners, lit up like Christmas trees.

    Car showrooms that burn MW illuminating cars that only the milkman is about to see; Restaurants with their neon signs proudly displaying their names to none but the larks; far too many with the same attitude to energy. Have these people never heard of timeswitches?

  6. Spleen

    Good news

    Nice to hear that some companies consider serving their customers more of a priority than pandering to the neo-apocalyptics. God isn't making the waters rise because we're buying the wrong servers, take your corporate social responsibility and shove it up your Ark.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Use Facility Management Systems, forget time clocks!

    I'm surprised that no one mentioned Building Automation or Facility Management Systems as a way to cut energy costs, and increase security and system reliability. Forget timers! Lighting control is the EASIEST thing that can be done to save energy but there is WAY more that is possible.

    For example the RFID swipe card you use to access the data center tells the FMS to turn on the lights and open the doors all the way to your co-location space but no where else. It has also told the security system to take your picture upon access and record you as you enter and reach your co-lo space. The monitoring and control of the data center temperatures, emergency generator, computer room AC units, and UPS systems by the FMS have prevented data loss, logged voltage and phase issues, triggered preventative maintenance calls all on top of running the data center AC systems at the least possible energy cost. How about Energy optimization strategies like Ice Storage, using least costly power at night to make ice that will provide cooling during the day, or using outside air to provide "free cooling" when OA temps are low enough. Perhaps electrical load shedding could be combined with feedback from processor load info to reduce cooling when server/processor loads are low? Even something as mundane as variable speed drives on chilled water pumps will save energy.

    There are lots of things that can be done to conserve energy but you have to have some idea of what is available. It's kind of funny how computer/IT people go all Luddite when you tell them about building automation. "Oh we could never adjust the Liebert discharge temperatures 10 degrees warmer during low load conditions. The servers could crash." (Not bloody likely between 12:30 am and 6:00 am) Or this is rich... "Oh that system sounds too complicated" (reads as I didn't think of it and I don't get to have absolute control of it.) Or this one, "What do you mean you want to have your automation devices running on MY network? I won't stand for it!"

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