Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to perform the same task, that is, eliminating energy waste. Energy efficiency brings a variety of benefits: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing demand for energy imports, and lowering our costs on a household and economy-wide level.
The useless wasting of energy is truly bad for the environment. Many of the energy sources we depend on, for over 70% of our power generation, like coal and natural gas, can not be replaced and once we use them all up, they are gone forever. However, there is a much bigger problem than just running out of fossil fuels and that is that most forms of fossil fuel energy are the leading cause of climate change, which is causing global warming. The more we waste the more the climate is affected. It is no easy task to solve these problems, but they are the most important ones we are facing and threaten our very existence on Earth. The Problem that data centers must address, is the amount of energy consumed.
A good example of an issue that’s continuing to grow is Big Data. In order for big data to be useful, the ability to process and analyze all the information that takes place in data centers must be fast and have a 99.999% uptime. Unless DC’s become more energy-efficient and flexible, the big data trend of consuming more power will end up negating the
innovation that’s currently taking place in the sector. Information that’s stored in
DC’s is mostly dependent on using fossil fuel-based energy. Cloud-based data centers have a great potential for helping reduce wasted energy but need to put steps in place now to avoid any corresponding increase in energy waste that results from increases in storage.
The way energy efficiency is measured in the data center sector
The PUE Measurement
The PUE ratio indicates how much energy gets applied to computing tasks and information technology (IT) assets are measured by power usage effectiveness. (PUE) ratio. An ideal PUE, one where all the energy was applied to computing tasks, would be 1.0. Studies on the average PUE of data centers have varied, but we know that despite well-publicized PUE’s at a few data centers of barely above 1.0, the average is likely closer to 1.8, meaning that there is considerable room for improvement in data center energy efficiency. On average, with companies and individuals alike, users will access less than ten percent (10%) of the digital information that’s actively stored, in reality much less. When you give thought to the files you have saved over the past 5 years ask yourself how much of that information you saved will ever get re-opened? For the purpose of your discovery, it’s important to note that we refer to data that is being saved off-premises via The Cloud.
data uses more power than disclosed
The Problem With PUE
The PUE ratio was adopted by the storage hardware manufacturers as the best way to show consumption due in part to the limited nature of what is included in the measurement. While there have been very few technological advancements to storage technology in fifteen years. Drives have gotten bigger and allow one machine to hold more and this density along with measuring less of the total usage is how data center operators can claim to use less power today than ten years ago.
DC’s continue to increase in size daily. With some Hyperscale DC’s currently being built over 1 million sq. ft. However many are composed of a mix of new and older equipment and lack the innovation required in the storage sector. The industry has solved the perception issue of using “way too much power” by only counting 1/3 of what’s actually used. Current standards are based on flawed calculations and have helped the problem of overconsumption explode.
DC’s in the U.S. used more than 160 Billion Kilo Watt Hours (KWh) of electricity in 2019 roughly equivalent to 51 power plants each with a capacity of 500 Mega Watts (MW’s). A typical Data Center in the U.S., which is on average between 10,000 and 30,000 sq. ft., much smaller than the new DC’s in the several hundred thousand sq. ft. range, may consume as much energy in a year as forty thousand U.S. households and use 100x to 200x the energy of a standard three-story office building.
While only using 1/3 of the total DC energy consumption to show the consumers you are being energy efficient is, what we like to call “greenwashing”. Since cooling, servers, other IT, lighting, and HVAC account for 70% of DC’s total power usage. How can they measure energy consumption without including “ALL POWER CONSUMED” by a Data Center?
Our approach at amigodata for managing data is radically different. How we determine whether a Data Center is energy efficient or an energy hog is simple. We base efficiency on “Total Watts” consumed, divided by “Total Terabytes Available” for storing data. The lower the number, the more efficient the DC is. This works regardless of the size of the Data Center, since you can then further break it down based on a per sq. ft. basis. Using this model allows for true comparative data points from one DC to another on efficiency in DC’s and includes “ALL ENERGY USED”, without making the math complex and in our humble opinion is quite hard to challenge.
Measure Of Energy Use By amigodata
Data center electrical distribution equipment is the backbone of the data center, as it provides the power to all of its IT equipment and supporting infrastructure. Many existing data centers rely on power distribution architecture that was developed for previous generations of IT equipment, often exceeding 10 years in age and typically consisting of power cabling, transformers, panelboards, power distribution units (PDUs) and
automatic transfer switches (ATS), etc. Today’s electrical distribution designs are rapidly evolving, driven by needs such as increasing power densities, energy-efficiency, flexibility, and the benefits of minimizing maintenance while retaining reliability. Dramatic changes, such as DC distribution systems, have been explored, but there are some practical and affordable options to significantly improve a vintage data center.
“By polluting the oceans, not mitigating CO2 emissions, and destroying our biodiversity, we are killing our planet. Let us face it, there is no planet B.”
Emanuel Macron – President of France – Speech in April 2018 to U.S. Congress