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Data centre electrical costs are skyrocketing: Raritan

AvantiKumar | April 21, 2010
Metrics is first step to cost containment, says power management firm
KUALA LUMPUR,  21 APRIL 2010 -- It is an open secret that electrical costs of data centres are skyrocketing, says power management firm Raritan, which recommends better measurement strategies as the first step to better cost containment.

"Though the price of servers has come down, the cost of power is rising incrementally; about 31 per cent according to data from the independent organisation Green Grid," said Raritan vice president, Asia Pacific and Japan sales and marketing, Chris McPherson, speaking in Malaysia recently.

Adopting a green infrastructure approach does make immediate cost savings as well as give certain corporate brand positioning advantages, said McPherson. However, the ability to measure energy efficiency is the real first step to managing power costs.

In Asia, metrics of energy efficiency is very much at early infancy stage, he said, adding that companies in the financial and insurance industry were early adopters. We are beginning to see companies in the telecommunications sector take serious interest in data centre power usage effectiveness [PUE].

The founder of Raritan, which was established in 1985, Dr Ching-I Hsu, is considered as the founder of KVM (to allow control of multiple computers) switches, PDUs (power distribution units) and infrastructure technology."


 Use PUE to minimise power wastage

PUE, which is the total facility's power, divided by total IT equipment power, expressed in KwH [kilowatts per hour], was developed by the Green Grid, and has started to receive a lot of attention worldwide, McPherson said. For example, a data centre PUE rating of 2.75 would be high, whereas a PUE of 1.4 would be very low.

Taking a data centre from 2.75 to 1.4 PUE would amount to power savings of about US$2.7 million, he said, adding that Raritan's intelligent KVM solutions would help data centre managers with better power management. 

Virtualisation does bring about better efficiency and better cost containment, which is why this is the main approach being used by data centre managers, McPherson said. However, there are various other actions that would maximise data centre utilisation, brought down to the level of even buying equipment within a holistic green architectural approach.

A significant cost of the data centre is the actual IT equipment and not just the power to cool your data centre, he said. Intelligent PDUs would allow you to see the load on every server.

According to Frost & Sullivan's February 2010 study, the Asia Pacific data centre market will grow at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 14.7 per cent in 2010 and 16.4 per cent in 2011, by which point its size will reach US$10.68 million, which makes power management an issue that will head the agenda in this sector, said McPherson.