The efficient data center has assumed a new, more prominent role as a strategic asset within the organization. Increasing capacity demands and the pressure to support the “always-on” digital business are forcing data centers to adapt, evolve, and respond at an increasingly accelerated rate. Cloud, mobility, IoT, big data – these and other interrelated trends are putting enormous pressure on the modern efficient data center data center. To keep pace, today’s physical infrastructure has become vastly more complex, interconnected, and performance-driven than a decade ago.
To help manage this evolving environment, new ways of thinking about and valuing infrastructure have emerged. Designers now think of physical elements such as power, space, processing, cooling, and network connectivity as variables that can be “adjusted” to meet their specific performance goals while containing costs. Meanwhile, software-based data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions, automated infrastructure management (AIM) tools, and “right sized” prefabricated modular data center options now enable IT and Facilities executives to manage their data centers more holistically.
In this new paradigm, opportunities to boost performance and profitability by increasing efficiency are everywhere; not just in power and cooling, but in capacity planning, asset management, scalability, space utilization (e.g. density), and more. Leveraging these opportunities means embracing a new definition of efficiency reflecting a more holistic approach that encompasses the entire physical ecosystem. This is the Connected and Efficient Data Center.
When it comes to defining and measuring the efficiency of data center physical infrastructure, the traditional discussion has typically begun and ended with power and cooling. This focus on power usage as the primary measure of efficiency is understandable. Energy represents 25 to 40 percent of a data center’s OpEx.1 In the U.S., a 40 percent reduction in data center energy
consumption—about half of what is technically possible—would yield $3.8 billion.2 So power cannot and should not be ignored as a source of efficiency gains.