Markley Group’s Session at the Fall 2013 7×24 Exchange

Posted on January 06, 2014 by Adam Burnham

On November 20, Markley’s very own director of design, Chris McLean, led an extremely detailed and helpful session on “Who is Responsible for Energy Efficiency” at the 7×24 Exchange in San Antonio, TX. Chris, who is an electrical engineer, spoke to other engineers and data center managers about how to drive efficiency in the data center while still maintaining reliability and agility.

The aim of his presentation was to help attendees answer the oft-repeated questions: “Should the data center look to spec energy efficient equipment on the infrastructure side?” and “Is it up to cloud architects to try to influence server and power supply manufacturers to affect the bigger global goal of conservation and energy efficiency?”

Data centers are often plagued with trying to balance business need and the desire to be as efficient as possible in the use of energy. Chris shared his views on what data centers can do in the short term to positively affect global energy efficiency, while still staying ahead of the competition. He discussed how to work best within the grid with the servers, cabinets and containers available to you – and how specific steps can be taken to reach realistic efficiency goals and set the stage for long term success and to achieve business goals for efficiency.

Chris structured his presentation by presenting considerations and best practices to three constituents involved in data center efficiency decision-making and management – data center designers, data center operators and IT professionals. Chris covered the gamut on how data centers can move ahead of the competition in terms of efficiency and positively affect global efficiency throughout the industry:

  • Data center designers can make a big impact on data center efficiency. For one, they can start to take action by finessing electrical device usage and IT equipment to better control their stake in the total load and actually decrease stress to the grid. Chris suggested that designers divide the energy usage up and flip the norm to better influence the load and decrease Power usage effectiveness (PUE), and provided technical steps for getting there. The HVAC should account for 35 percent and Electrical and all IT equipment should be 65 percent of PUE, just to start.
  • Data center operators often take the brunt of not being efficient, and Chris suggested they spread the load out over more units, create hot /cold aisles, 1-3 percent aisle containment and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) practices to see 20-30 percent estimated savings.
  • IT professionals need to work in tandem with data center operators to make each others’ lives easier, and just one way to do that is by getting rid of ghost servers that are taking up energy from the grid but not doing anything for the business.

Were you at the Fall 2013 7×24 Exchange in San Antonio? What did you think of Chris’ panel? If you want view the entire hour-long session, you can find the video here on the third tab to the right:

We look forward to your thoughts. Are you implementing any of these strategies, or, do you need a team that can help you achieve efficiency goals? Let us know!