InteropNet: Inside A Power-Saving Experiment - InformationWeek

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Aaron Rallo
Aaron Rallo
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InteropNet: Inside A Power-Saving Experiment

How efficiently can you run the infrastructure powering the Interop conference? We'll use tools from TSO Logic to find out.

Tens of thousands of data centers exist to support the global explosion of digital information, and almost all of them are designed to meet peak application workloads at all costs. Even when application demand is low, most of the application servers in data centers are left running at full capacity. That’s kind of like leaving your car’s engine running all day long, just in case you have to drive somewhere.

No wonder that McKinsey and Company reports that on average, data centers are only using 6% to 12% of electricity powering servers to perform actual computations.

When you consider that digital warehouses worldwide use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly the equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants, it’s clear that power consumption is a significant issue. 

Why aren’t data centers more vigilant about power usage? The truth is, they focus more of their efficiency efforts on the energy consumption of the facility itself -- primarily the server cooling infrastructure -- rather than the efficiency of individual components.

Additionally, most data centers have bought into the widespread perception that servers need to be operated at full power and readiness to maintain critical uptime.

Data centers that operate this way miss a significant opportunity that will not only improve efficiencies on the server level, but also throughout the facility itself. For example, Emerson Network Power’s Energy Logic model shows that for every watt saved at the server level, 2.84 watts can be saved across the entire power chain of the data center. When you’re dealing with large-scale data centers, those savings add up quickly.

InteropNet To Measure Power Consumption

InteropNet, the production network that supports exhibitors and attendees at Interop Las Vegas, is taking a closer look at its own power consumption in an effort to promote greater energy efficiency. In partnership with TSO Logic, InteropNet operators will examine power savings opportunities when server power usage is aligned with fluctuations in workload demand. For instance, some servers could be idled after show hours and then brought up to full capacity as demands increase during the day.

TSO Logic, an InteropNet Premier Provider, will measure workload and power usage across the network, including servers and applications. These metrics show where power is used at the different layers of the infrastructure and the associated energy costs.

Attendees can see these metrics first-hand at the show in the Network Operations Center or TSO Logic’s booth #2345 in the New Innovators Pavilion. It’s a practical example of how this type of insight can be used to improve operational and energy efficiency in data centers.

Aaron Rallo is the founder and CEO of TSO Logic, a company that provides software for monitoring and reducing energy consumption in datacenters. He has spent the last 15 years building and managing global datacenters to support major retailers. In 2010, he was recognized in ... View Full Bio

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