Top 6 Ways to Improve Data Center Efficiency

By: Daniel Bodenski, PE, LEED AP, Director of Strategic Solutions at Electronic Environments Co.

The data center has become a staple of modern society, making the technology that we use every day possible.  Today, everyone from small start-up organizations to multi-billion dollar corporations utilize mission-critical facilities to house their vital data, and as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data continue to proliferate, our demand for more data centers will only increase.

With growing energy costs and data center energy consumption nearly 100 times higher than that of a typical commercial building, data center owners and operators are placing a higher focus on improving energy efficiency within their facilities.  Maintaining energy efficiency is critical to running a reliable, high-capacity, and cost-efficient mission-critical facility.  At Electronic Environments Co. (EEC), we are dedicated to enabling our clients to develop the most efficient and profitable data centers possible, allowing for maximum uptime while minimizing capital and operational costs.

When it comes to data center energy efficiency, there are six key ways you can improve your bottom line while still ensuring total reliability.  Below, we will examine these key strategies and help you answer the question, “How can my data center be more energy efficient?”

  1. Assessments

Performing a detailed assessment of your data center’s operational performance will give you clear and concrete insight into the particular ways your data center can be improved, outlining the individual areas in which current energy efficiency practices may fall short.  Review of airflow management, implementing a detailed PUE analysis, and obtaining real-time data hall temperature measurements, are all important metrics to assess in order to develop a fully strategic plan to lower energy costs. Data center assessment professionals are equipped to provide comprehensive results through in-depth analysis and can provide recommendations for design, installation and maintenance improvements resulting in quick and cost-effective solutions. An assessment can also be used to prepare for external audits, and provide foundational data for developing thorough strategies.

  1. Equipment Upgrades

As society evolves, so too do our technologies, putting increased demand on data center capabilities. Equipment upgrades are necessary to maintain a robust and reliable facility. Moreover, in order to make data centers increasingly efficient, new technologies are continually developed that reduce overall energy consumption, such as ECO mode Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), 380V DC power systems, lighting system retrofits, efficient chillers, and more. By knowing what new technologies exist and understanding the return on investment of many of these upgrades, you may be able to use many to your advantage within your data center’s lifecycle.

  1. Maintenance

If your current equipment is unreliable or beyond its normal lifespan, it could be adding to your operating costs and could pose a serious threat to reliability.  Downtime is the number one critical issue, as it will not only hurt your bottom line, but your reputation as a reliable organization. The Ponemon Institute reports that data center downtime costs an average of $7,900 per minute. Can you afford that? By employing a comprehensive maintenance routine, trained specialists should be engaged to check generator heaters and batteries, test load banks, sample generator coolant, fuel and oil, and regularly exercise overcurrent protective devices. These activities, coupled with implementation of an on-demand Asset Management system, will increase operational efficiency and reduce overall critical system downtime.

  1. Dynamic Cooling Management

Every data center is unique, so its cooling solutions should be as well.  Cooling plays a critical role in the energy efficiency of a data center. Finding the correct model for your individual facility is of capital importance. With a dynamic cooling model that’s easy to deploy, you can see immediate energy savings, more efficient network transformation, and increased network reliability. Instead of zone-level control, fans are individually optimized based on real-time readings, utilizing rack sensors and control modules to collect temperature requirements and Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) airflow and power metrics, resulting in a fully optimized, intelligent cooling system.

  1. Airflow Management

Poor airflow management leads to a lot of undesirable results, including the recirculation of supply air, causing hotspots and reducing the overall effectiveness of the data center’s cooling plant.  By implementing simple airflow management techniques, such as adding floor grommets, implementing partial or full containment, and adding blanking panels, data center operators can see reduced plenum losses, and immediate energy savings. This is a simple, low-cost method to reap instant financial benefits and improve Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).

  1. Baseline Energy Reduction

Sustainable energy sources such as solar, fuel cell and wind power are becoming more and more commonplace within data centers to reduce overall energy use, shrink their carbon footprint and become more energy independent. Not only can sustainable energy sources reduce energy usage, self-contained power plants can also offer data center operators the option to develop a micro-grid, which decreases the reliance on an aging, electrical infrastructure and provides a strategy for modular data center solutions.

To learn more about these six strategies for enhanced energy efficiency, check out our eBook, “6 Ways to Improve Data Center Energy Efficiency”.  If you would like more information about any of these solutions or feel that you could benefit from customized professional assistance, please visit www.eecnet.com or email us at info@eecnet.com.

About the Author:

bodenskiDaniel Bodenski, PE, LEED AP, is Director of Strategic Solutions at Electronic Environments Co. Mr. Bodenski has over 20 years of experience in mechanical systems design and project management for mission critical facilities. He has managed several large design, due diligence, site assessment and commissioning projects for telecommunications, healthcare, financial and retail data center clients. At EEC, he proactively increases facility reliability through implementation of new technology for mission critical facilities.

 Long-Term Benefits of Proactive Data Center Planning

By: Joanna Styczen, Technical Writing Director, iMiller Public Relations

Failing to consider long-term needs during the planning stages of a data center project can result in disastrous consequences in the future.  It is absolutely critical to provide due diligence during the early developmental stages of infrastructure design to avoid potential issues down the road.  Proper planning and management can create an optimum environment encompassing faster, simpler and more efficient processes throughout the data center lifecycle.  Through meticulous custom design, customers can also benefit from ease of installation, growth anticipation, serviceability and flexibility for years to come.

Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC) leverages nearly three decades of experience in mission critical facility design and management to maximize the overall efficiency of clients’ facilities.

Hoping to educate the public using its extensive expertise, EEC has issued a position paper entitled “Key Considerations before Beginning a New Data Center Project”. This paper,written by EEC’s President of Mission Critical Construction Services Kevin O’Brien,offers customers insight into EEC’s unique, holistic view and forward-thinking process for data center design.  EEC helps develop all-inclusive, tested solutions to ensure optimum productivity throughout the entire lifecycle of mission critical facilities.  By proactively eliminating both common and complex issues alike, EEC assists companies in avoiding unnecessary expenses and ensuring continual uptime.

Without proper, experienced guidance and support, data center projects are often ill-conceived and leave companies struggling during inevitable future situations for the sake of lower costs during the early design process.  Real-life examples in “Key Considerations before Beginning a New Data Center Project” illustrate how spending a little extra time and money upfront enables a company to save time, money and manpower while maintaining a positive reputation in the long run.

To read EEC’s latest position paper, ‘Key Considerations before Beginning a New Data Center Project’, visit http://www.eecnet.com/key-considerations-before-beginning-a-new-data-center-project/.

For more information about how your company can appear in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers please email becca@datacenterdiscovery.com

Proactive Preventative Maintenance: The Key to Cost Reductions and Increased Performance in the Data Center

– Jim Lundrigan, VP, Operations, Electronic Environments Corporation

Could your facility benefit from a 42% reduction in emergency service call costs and a 30% reduction in standard service request costs in less then two years?  This is just one example of the cost savings realized by an Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC) telecommunications client leveraging the company’s preventative maintenance solutions.  Unlike many of today’s maintenance solutions providers, to EEC, the foundation of a highly efficient and productive mission-critical facility is proactive preventative maintenance.

Faced with highly competitive pre-qualification and bidding processes, many of today’s preventative maintenance solutions providers are often forced into offering a high-volume, low-cost business model instead of long-term, proactive preventative maintenance solutions.  While these services may be cost-effective for data center operators in the short-term, over time they can result in increased service calls and unexpected costs (time and materials, demand maintenance, and emergency repair expenses).  Without a high-level of attention and care to the unique needs of an infrastructure, these transient solutions can hurt both the company’s bottom line as well as its reputation down the road.

With a strong focus on practical data center solutions and attentiveness towards client needs, EEC believes preventative maintenance is not about low, up-front costs, but instead should focus on investing in long-term, strategic solutions that can ultimately reduce data center costs and increase performance.  In other words, in the short term, this approach will likely require an increase in repair costs – proactive repair costs. However, in the long run, it produces significant cost savings and increased data center performance.  For example, while the aforementioned EEC client had an increase in the cost of preventative maintenance repairs based on EEC’s recommendations, this increased investment produced a ten-fold savings in total service call costs (emergency and standard service calls). By employing EEC to maintain its mission-critical infrastructure, not only did its bottom line and site performance improve, but the new customer was more satisfied than ever.  Other EEC customers agree, as evidenced by the fact that 98% of the company’s 550 nationwide customers renew their service contracts, proving its approach can help a company’s bottom line, increase site performance, and customer satisfaction.

EEC’s preventative maintenance focuses on early detection and resolution of problems affecting Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), battery, DC power system, Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC), generator and Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) equipment and more.   These proactive preventative practices can extend the life of data center equipment and increase the performance of the facility overall.  With over 28 years of experience and extensive equipment performance data gleaned from its asset management platform, Infrastructure Manager, EEC can help customers be more proactive about repairs before problems arise.

If you would like to learn more about how EEC can service your mission-critical facility, please visitwww.eecnet.com or email info@eecnet.com.

For more information about Data Center Discovery and how your company can get listed in our directory please contact becca@datacenterdiscovery.com