Albert Einstein once said that knowledge is defined as a practical understanding of a subject, the same apply to operating and upkeeping a data centre. Center of Expertise for Energy Efficiency in Data Centres (CoE) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBLN) led by U.S. Department of Energy provides technical support, tools and technologies intended to optimise and reduce energy use in data centre. This is where novices and grizzled veterans seek options for maximising new construction or retrofit results.

Knowing what you don’t know.

CoE has designed a data centre profiling tool – DC Pro to help data centre operators diagnosing how energy is being used and determining ways to save energy. Combining with management information such as energy use and environmental sensing data, DC Pro can provide data centre operators estimated PUE and potential energy saving through its web based, self -guided menu driven interface. Essentially, instead of telling you what you already know, it tells you what you don’t know or yet to know.

What improvement can we expect?

We tried it with one of our candidate data centre with the PUE of 1.5, DC Pro estimates that there is a potential of improving it to a PUE of 1.2, a 0.3 point improvement. It looks into energy use distribution and referencing its comprehensive set of databases and algorithms and derives key action plans that will impact energy use significantly. For example, part of the report produced by DC Pro after analysing our candidate site shows that the key issues in the candidate site are cable congestion in raised floor plenums and the lack of air flow management and aisle containment. It is estimated that if we implement proper air flow management, hot/cold aisle containment and cable management, we could reduce the portion of cooling energy use in relation to total site energy use by up to 21% and increasing IT power utilisation by 20%. Higher proportion of IT energy use means that we are spending on what drives the business instead of compensating for unnecessary losses.

Keeping it cool and know your power.

With the help of tools like DC Pro, informed management is no longer something that only specialised energy consultant could do. Data centre operator’s goal should be keeping its facility cool and at the same time know where the energy costs are attributed to. Implementing air flow management and containment systems can be very rewarding in long run and knowing your power will also go a long way.