For those of you planning to be in the Bay Area Thursday April 12th, I will be participating as a panel member at the Northern California Data Center Summit. This event takes place in the Santa Clara Convention Center. The agenda looks quite interesting with a strong focus on technology, business,… Continue reading
Last week while making the rounds of Oracle Open World 2011 I happened across a very interesting display at the Samsung booth. One that caught my interest almost immediately as it fit right in with the time-proven principles of Energy Logic and looked to be a … Continue reading
There may be a “smart” meter in your home and even your data center in the very near future. We just got word that our home will be receiving a smart meter, compliments of Southern California Edison and a very nice 1.6% permanent rate increase. But don’t worry, be happy – all the “smarts” that come with the meter will help you save energy!
Well that really depends. If you are starting with an ENERGY STAR® for existing homes (beta only) home, one that is already consuming 25% less total annual energy than the lowest rated ENERGY STAR Bin category, your savings from access to a “smart” meter are not likely to be significant if any. However, if your home (and Data Center) is much like the vast majority in North America, merely having access to timely information may bring about behavioral, operational, and purchasing decisions that will ultimately reduce total energy consumption.
Of course so will reading your monthly utility bill and paying it on an actual-use basis, not some artificial 12-month-average plan. Average data only leads to average results. And we are all about driving for efficiency without compromise – not “average”.
Data Centers are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the type of real-time data and control algorithms for energy efficiency optimization that can come from integrated smart meters. Meters that can be installed today at the individual circuit level. There is no need to wait for the utility and their ensuing rate increase! (Note: at the home level real-time energy management will likely cost you more in a dedicated server, internet gateway, Wi-Fi, and related ZigBee controls, both in net new energy consumption and total capital costs, than you will save over their lifetime.)
A quick look at the cost/benefit of integrating smart meters with the data center infrastructure and IT suite, especially in concert with a sophisticated DCIM package, indicates a very favorable return on investment. One can envision little more than a few dedicated virtual servers (running on two or more physical servers and on different busses), one or more smart meters (depending upon the degree of data granularity), a few smart monitoring and control interfaces to your power and cooling infrastructure (a simple retrofit), and a real-time DCIM system that identifies and manages workflow across IT assets and you are off and running in almost any data center.
The costs, energy, and manpower overheads are minimal and the payback, assuming you do no more than throttle back a few HVAC units and free-up a couple power feeds from a UPS will easily be recouped in less than one year. And once your utility lands a real smart meter at your service entrance you will be glad you already started down the path towards integrated energy management controls. That new meter will likely provide a host of new data from real-time energy pricing to availability, source energy emissions (service market dependent), and even request for peak load shedding. All of which will change the way you manage your critical power and cooling infrastructure and may even change your generator test protocols to take advantage of new utility incentives.
A recent survey indicates there may be some confusion about integrating energy management and analysis software and systems. Hence the need to get out front with a strategy that brings facilities and IT management together towards a common goal of improved data center energy efficiency. DCIM and intelligent infrastructure with ‘smart’ interfaces will be vital to the success of your plans. Better to include those interfaces and controls in your design specifications today so you will be ready for a ‘smart grid’ future.
Send me an email, or look for me at Oracle Open World (@oracleopenworld) on Monday October 3 at the Avocent booth and we can discuss applying ‘smart grid’ technologies to your data center. @JackPouchet
“Green” data centers are the current media rage. However typically all we find behind the marketing hype, and talk of reducing climate change, is some sort of engineering study indicating a ridiculously low PUE and, on rare occasions, an honest to goodness USGBCLEED … Continue reading
If only I could get paid a dollar for every time I heard someone announce another ‘green’ data center project! I wouldn’t be rich but well on my way to buying that Vespa scooter I’ve been eyeing. It seems everyone is trying … Continue reading