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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

APC director advises on energy efficiency

Regional director for Africa, Indian Ocean Islands and South Caribbean at APC by Schneider Electric, Mr. Carl Kleynhans, has advised on steps towards achieving energy efficient in virtualization.

He said that the rise in energy costs over the past few years has drawn attention of companies and commentators not just on the amount of energy being used by Information Technology (IT), but more importantly, on the amount being wasted.

This situation, he said, together with high profile campaigns by governments and other institutions addressing data centre energy efficiency, has driven a large number of data-centric companies to implement virtualisation strategies to reduce the energy consumption and increase the efficiency of the facilities under their control.

“The continued adoption of virtualisation technology shows no sign of abating and rightly so, for the industry has to take steps to maximise its productive use of energy. The simple fact is that companies have not been able to realise the full financial benefits of virtualisation and in many cases have seen the energy efficiency of their facilities dramatically worsened,” he said.

As said by him, this situation could be avoided at an early stage, hence, APC suggests a simple five-stage approach to planning for virtualisation.

First of all, he said, a company should understand the ways that energy is usefully and wastefully employed in its data centre to power, cool and protect the IT equipment.

“The EU Code of Conduct on Data Centres Energy Efficiency states that the data centre should be treated systematically in order to produce Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) near to ideal,” he said.

Mr. Kleynhans also said that a great deal of written material in the public domain gives the impression that consolidating physical servers onto virtual machines is the silver bullet for solving IT energy efficiency woes.

He stressed that if reduction of the number of servers in a given data centre by 90 per cent, companies will cut energy costs.

“But if you fail to address the physical infrastructure – the power and cooling – which provisions the servers, the efficiency of the system will actually be reduced and energy wastage will increase proportionally,” Kleynhans said.

Secondly, he said that it has become useful for an organisation to have an idea of its eventual destination, so as to help those planning for change in their data centres, and with the number of simple and free to use TradeOff Tools like that published on the APC website, a mileage is expected.

He explained that Virtualization Energy Cost Calculator allows users to compare pre- and post-virtualisation environments and see how energy costs are reduced.

The tool, he said, breaks out of the impact of virtualisation on the energy cost of the whole facility, physical infrastructure cost, total IT and servers.

In addition, he said, users could see the effect of various data centre ‘improvements’ on energy use, including the use of blanking panels, rightsizing of infrastructure equipment, use of high efficiency equipment and the introduction of precision cooling.

By making use of the TradeOff Tools, he said, data centre managers and other interested parties could make fundamental decisions in order to maximize efficiency and savings from the virtualised environment.

“Another important consideration is that virtualisation projects often result in the deployment of a cluster of high density or blade servers within an existing environment,” Kleynhans said.

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