As people increasingly transition to digital and IoT solutions to complete everyday tasks, from grocery shopping to banking, the amount of energy needed for cooling the world’s data centers is expected to continually increase, along with costs and environmental impacts.

With COVID-19 catalyzing this digital migration, the need to optimize efficiency across all facets of data center operations has never been more urgent.

The current focus on data center efficiency requires an agile response to changing customer needs, and that means deploying the right monitoring and cooling solutions to provide the following competitive, operational, and cost-saving advantages.

1. Power And Cooling Cost Reductions
As organizations demand more budget efficiency from IT operations, there is a growing need to clearly show how savings were achieved and the insights to understand these savings. Intelligent systems can clearly demonstrate a holistic perspective of data center operations to document the actual efficiency and power reductions that have been implemented.

IT teams that can easily monitor and document power utilization to identify rising power and/or temperature threshold concerns will be better at driving efficiencies and preventing downtime.

2. Improvement in Uptime and Reliability
Ensuring data centers remain fully functional is arguably the single most important aspect of IT operations. Monitoring power, environmental, and connectivity conditions to actively identify rising temperature concerns, unplanned connectivity disruptions, or even unauthorized access to cabinets or network ports are all benefits that can be delivered by an intelligent monitoring solution. 

In addition, cooling control systems that respond to changes in the environment caused by changes in IT load can add substantially to the reliability of the IT equipment.  Cooling control systems should respond to a variety of changes from additional equipment to changes in load due to increased IT processing.

3. Insights to Intelligently Deploy Assets
As new storage, servers, and network equipment are deployed, the question of where to physically locate them becomes a critical consideration to not overload the electrical, network, or cooling capacity, which can all result in unplanned downtime.

Intelligent solutions gather information to allow for faster and more successful hardware installation and provide guidance for patching, resulting in substantial time savings in IT operations.

4. Ability To Reclaim Stranded Capacity
The goal of a modern environmental monitoring system is to simplify the reconciliation of overall asset tracking so that the tool alerts you to changes, not the other way around. Using manual or rudimentary asset tracking solutions often results in inaccurate, outdated information and the need for audits, which can cost up to $40,000.

An intelligent system identifies unused, underutilized, or inefficient devices that could be repurposed or replaced to lower operating costs.  That system also needs to identify peak loads to prevent overprovisioning of IT equipment.

Put simply, deploying intelligent monitoring and cooling optimization platforms into data center infrastructures provides the visibility and control to stay competitive by reducing energy consumption by up to 50%, automating  CRAH/CRAC/DX temperature set points and variable fan speeds, and tracking trends.

In order to attain these benefits, it’s important to understand the ability for intelligent monitoring and cooling systems to optimize operations is a function of deploying the right features and integrations.

While each data center has environmental variables, here are some general system capabilities to consider when choosing what monitoring and cooling optimization solutions will ensure maximum efficiency for a particular site.

1. Monitoring
The latest wireless sensors that offer thermal, thermal with humidity, and pressure nodes are essential elements to achieve and maintain optimization and ROI. For simple, fast, secure, and scalable deployments, these devices should be easily configured on a wireless mesh network.

2. Cooling Optimization
Airflow remediation and floor balancing are the critical components of cooling. This includes the ability to assess airflow metrics and use computational fluid dynamics (CFDs) to allow modeling of environmental scenarios in line with the operator’s goals.

Real-time data analysis and temperature-based automations across the system are also key components to maximizing efficiency. These functions allow the system to maintain optimal airflow management by adjusting fan speed proportionately to the IT load.

3. Cooling Automation
Balancing cooling capacity and IT load should be performed frequently. Responding to increased load to prevent IT equipment failures and reducing cooling to save energy can be done every few minutes to achieve results without constant human intervention.

For IT pros interested in gaining the competitive, financial, and operational benefits of integrating intelligent monitoring and cooling systems into their data center’s infrastructure, there’s no time like the present.

Customer demands, environmental lobbies, and government regulations will keep driving industry innovations in energy use, and the data center operators who implement intelligent systems as a pathway for data assessment and dynamic optimization today, are the ones most likely to still be around tomorrow.