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GCN : November 2013
67 CDWG.com | 800.808.4239 Take advantage of close-coupled cooling. e concept is simple: For best results, IT managers should place the cooling source as close as possible to equipment that needs protection from overheating. It's an alternative to spending excessively to keep the whole data center as cold as a meat locker. Carlini advises combining this approach with environmental sensors in server racks that monitor how hard servers are working. "So when the heat goes up, the fan speeds and the output from the cooling devices increase, too," he says. Look for self-contained, close- coupled cooling systems that the IT department can install without having to hire contractors and don't require new plumbing, air ducts or other expensive alterations, Watkins says. Be safe about using outside air. It's tempting to pipe in cool air from the outdoors to reduce the load on cooling systems, but experts advise data center managers to tread carefully. Industry insiders say that poor air quality, from high humidity levels and pollution, can cause problems for sensitive computing equipment if the air isn't filtered properly. "If there is pollution or a brush fire at a distant location, contaminants can be carried downstream and cause problems in data centers," Pouchet explains. "It's best to install ion sensors that can shut air dampers to reduce the flow of outside air if there are high levels of contaminants." Filtering screens and humidifiers are additional ways of assuring outside air is safe for IT operations, he adds. Send power and cooling challenges to the cloud. Offloading workloads to cloud providers means CIOs can reduce their on-premises computing requirements and the energy demands that go along with them. is helps explain why 62 percent of IT professionals identified cloud computing as a factor in energy efficiency in the CDW•G 2012 Energy Efficient IT Report. Only 47 percent of the respondents made that connection in the previous report. "Cloud data centers are highly virtualized environments and cloud providers try to get the biggest bang from their energy investments," analyst King notes. "So there's a likelihood that energy is being managed more efficiently than in many traditional data centers." Look for power-saving opportunities outside the data center. When shopping for PCs, notebooks, printers and other essential hardware, IT managers should look for energy- saving innovations that can help reduce power consumption throughout the organization. For example, computers that boot up quickly, such as those with solid-state hard drivers, enable users to shut them down during inactivity rather than keeping them running and drawing power. For other types of computers, install power management software that can put devices in low-power sleep mode to save energy when appropriate. Similar innovations apply to other types of equipment, such as multifunction and stand-alone printers. IT managers should confirm that power-management features are engaged in these units to reduce power draws between print jobs. Drill into detailed data. Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions help IT administrators closely manage energy usage by gathering essential information about power and cooling systems and measure energy consumption by individual computing devices. ese solutions, such as Emerson Electric's Trellis platform, help organizations proactively manage energy usage and automatically enforce internal policies designed to reduce operational costs. DCIM is poised for solid growth in the years ahead, according to IT market researcher IDC. In 2011, the market for DCIM software and services totaled $247.1 million. By 2016, the DCIM market will grow to $690 million, for an annual growth rate of 22.8 percent. Educate end users. Vigilant IT and facilities managers can use social media, blogs, e-newsletters and other readily accessible tools to encourage staff to conserve energy. Turning off unused equipment and unnecessary lighting throughout an organization can provide a money-saving complement to the formal strategies CIOs use to keep data centers running as efficiently as possible.