It goes without saying that organizations are increasingly challenged to achieve effective and efficient data center implementations — addressing energy consumption is at the top of the list. However, many organizations face roadblocks on their way to achieving efficient energy usage. Some of the most common roadblocks are:

Infrastructure complexity

• Rapidly changing IT requirements

• Rapidly changing technology

• Budget restrictions

• Limited management resources

• Regulatory compliance

• SLA commitments

Taking this one step further, a recent survey of data center managers to find out what methods they are currently using to address energy concerns, resulted in some very note worthy responses.

When asked, “Which of the following server energy reduction initiatives has your company implemented?” The top three responses were: consolidating servers (79%); replace hardware with more power efficient platforms (73%) and virtualization (69%).

When asked, “How much of a reduction in power costs has been achieved since your company has implemented data center energy management solutions?” The majority of those polled achieved 6% to 10% reduction in power costs.

At first, that might not seem like much, but when applied to a real-world case study of a media/information company participating in the survey, it was noteworthy:

• Of roughly 1000 servers, 80% are only using 10 to 15% of CPU capacity

• Through consolidation, the number of servers could be reduced to about 600

Assuming an average energy consumption of .5 kWh per server growing to .7 kWh due to increased load, this translates into an approximate annual savings of 700,000kWh or $84,096 in energy costs and a C02 reduction of 815 metric tons.

In addition, the same survey proved that operational and energy costs can be further reduced with holistic monitoring and historical tracking using data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools. These tools help reduce equipment maintenance and repair costs, eliminate unnecessary equipment replacements pertinent for performance assurance and to minimize administrator tasks for quality assurance and compliance auditing of critical components.

The value of DCIM was also underscored in the aforementioned survey, within a case study focusing on an international financial institution:

• The company initially introduced DCIM to assist with a large data center expansion project

• In the process, the organization achieved roughly 15% in energy reduction that they directly attribute to infrastructure details they were able to identify through the DCIM solution.

The net result from using the DCIM solution was an annual energy cost saving of over $600,000.

By no means should any company’s data center be associated with a game show. However, if faced with the question, “Name the top five ways to reduce energy consumption in the data center?” You can be assured that survey says…DCIM is at the top of the list.