Among one of the largest users of electricity in the world, data centers use approximately 1.5-2% of the world’s electricity. As more data centers will continue to built in the future, it is imperative for the IT industry to look at innovative green technologies that will save energy costs. Siemens which has extensive experience in engineering and commissioning critical infrastructure and industrial projects, is using its expertise in green technologies to create highly efficient data centers.
Dataquest spoke to Ripunjay Parikh, Marketing Head, Data Centers, Siemens, who shares with his perspective of how organizations can reduce their carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption in their data centers.
Some edited excerpts:
1. You have said that traditionally, only approximately 50% of data center energy consumption is used for direct IT operations. What is the scenario in India? Is it more than the global average?
The measure of efficiency in a data center is PUE (power usage effectiveness), which is the ratio of total power to the IT power. India has a diverse set of facilities, where the PUE varies from 1.4 to 3 (lower PUE means more efficient facility). As per DCD, The most significant concern for data center operators in India is the energy cost, and reducing the operating cost is one of the key investment driver for India. One of the key element that can help reduce the energy cost is the use of intelligent automation system, which not only monitors the energy costs, but also controls it.
2. If you look at energy consumption for a typical data center, which are the areas in your view, where power consumption can be significantly reduced, without impacting user experience or performance?
Of the non IT loads in data center, the major portion of the power goes in to cooling the Server rooms. Modern data centers use the principle of hot isle / cold isle to reduce the cooling required for server rooms. However, since the servers have different loading levels at different times, depending on the usage of applications, it results into lot of hot spots or cold spots within the server rooms. While from a operational reliability perspective, it is important to avoid hot spots, from an efficiency perspective, it is important to avoid cold spots. Other areas which offer potential energy savings, are the reduction in the losses in power distribution system as well as the critical power and optimizing the lighting systems.
3. Compared to the traditional way of power management in data centers, how different is your approach, and what does this approach translate to?
Our approach is to not only help in continually optimizing a building’s performance but also to monitor and analyze energy data over the building’s entire life cycle. This can help save energy, minimize costs and reduce carbon emissions. The building performance approach enables the implementation of these concepts independently of the installed systems in your data center. The patented and proven demand flow solution optimizes all energy consuming components of the chilled water system, holistically, and does not sacrifice reliable and safe operation for energy savings.
4. If we assume that your technology or similar technologies are used in data centers, what could be proposed reduction in electricity consumption?
Reduction in energy consumption depends on a number of factors and the potential for savings can vary based on them. We offer professional services that includes analyzing the Data Center facility and to suggest various measures for reducing the wastage of energy with demonstrated ROI. Globally there are examples where customers have been able to realize savings in double digit percentages, in their energy consumption.
Another important tool is DCIM (data center infrastructure management)which links the building management systems with the IT management systems. This not only gives you a complete overview of the data center operations, but also help you anticipate and plan the future requirements. We offer innovative DCIM solution which has unique computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling with virtually resolves all air flow and heat transfer in the facility and determines the most energy efficient configuration before implementation or upgrades, thereby ensuring efficient, reliable and safe operation of data centers.
5. Are a majority of data centers considering green technologies in India? How do you see the India opportunity?
As mentioned earlier, ‘reduction in operating costs’ and to have more ‘greener and sustainable’ facilities are some of the key investment drivers for data center operators in India. Higher efficiencies can be achieved with bigger data centers and use of advance automation system for monitoring and control of the data center. Use of energy efficient products and solution is no longer a privilege, but a need for all modern data centers. As per DCD intelligence, this can be clearly seen with a trend of greater outsourcing for services to co-location data center facilities, which offer cost advantages due to the use of sustainable technologies and offer a safe and reliable operations