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Google is proud of its energy efficiency.
According to the search and SaaS giant, its servers and data center support infrastructure consume on average about the same amount of energy as the servers of a typical data center alone. What's more, nearly half of the energy used by the typical data center is spent on systems that provide the power and cooling to servers, storage and related equipment, while the cost of Google's data center support equipment is less than 20 percent of its overall energy spend.
Like any cloud-based service provider, energy is among Google's greatest expenses. So it's understandable that the company has always been energy-conscious. But recently it began sharing its data center best practices for lowering utility bills, and the company estimates that if all data centers were as efficient as Google's, the electricity savings in the U.S. alone would be enough to power "every household within the city limits of Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C."
How does Google do it? Google discovered that data center infrastructure -- the power distribution units, battery backups and other data center gear -- wastes as much as 20 percent of the power it is in charge of providing. Further, as much as 70 percent of data center power is spent on keeping things cool. So these were the first areas targeted when Google developed its energy-efficiency plans. In short, it uses evaporative cooling towers to carry away heat at a fraction of the cost of chillers.
Moreover, Google's custom-built servers were designed from the ground up to conserve energy. This is primarily accomplished in three ways: by using more efficient AC/DC power converters and regulators than those in systems costing less; by running fans only as much as necessary to keep temperatures below certain thresholds; and by eliminating graphics chips and other components not necessary for Google applications.
With these changes, Google claims to have saved 500 kWh per server, or about $30 per box, per year when combined with savings related to water usage and carbon emission. Similar savings might be possible for many of your customers, particularly those maintaining large data centers. For the reseller, who is already looked upon as a trusted adviser, the energy audit is not only within your means and ability today, it's also a sure-fire way to lower your customers' utility bills.
So, say a call comes in to your IT department from a customer whose data center is running hot. Your IT manager says that the call is in sync with an e-mail received a few minutes before indicating that temperatures are above critical thresholds. Option 1: Send someone from your staff to the customer's site to take a look. Option 2: Point a browser to the data center's power distribution units to see if anything is out of the ordinary, cycling power as necessary.
Option 2 is only available if you're using one of today's managed power distribution units (PDUs) from companies such as APC by Schneider Electric or Raritan. The CRN Test Center looked at offerings from both companies, and we present a review of the Raritan Dominion PX PDU as well as APC by Schneider Electric's Infrastruxure management software, both of which optimize energy usage through efficient management and reduce consumption by reducing wasted field trips. We'll also suggest some of the power-saving capabilities of Windows 7 that should be built into your standard deployment policies. Finally, we take a look at a new keyboard, video, mouse (KVM) extender from Icron Technologies.
NEXT: Raritan Dominion PX