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— Blog

3 Ways to Prioritize Energy Efficiency in the Data Center

Aaron Binkley, Director, Sustainability
November 2, 2017

Our world is changing all the time, in some ways more dramatically than others. I can’t help but notice that two of those rapidly-changing areas are closely intertwined with our business. The first way concerns data centers themselves. Every day, more businesses in more industries are finding ways to elevate their IT strategies using data center services.

The second way the world is changing is with an increased focus on energy efficiency and sustainable practices. At Digital Realty, we are proud to help lead the way towards more sustainable practices, a smaller carbon footprint, and a more responsible data center industry as a whole. Read on to discover some of the things that data center operators can do to prioritize energy efficiency in their facilities.

Server consolidation
You’ve probably heard the terms “virtualization” and “software-defined.” In many ways, these terms encapsulate the innovations that are transforming data centers as we know them. Operators undertake this process at their own pace, but in data center facilities across the world, rows of server racks are being shut down or removed completely. With servers being consolidated and increasingly virtualized, data center operators are able to significantly reduce their power usage and improve energy efficiency.

Cooling technologies
A significant portion of data center power usage comes from technologies that cool the constantly-running server equipment. Using hot aisle or cold aisle containment strategies prevents hot air and cold air from mixing during the cooling process which results in greater efficiency. The consistent use of blanking panels and diligent management of air flow tiles in raised floor systems put cooled air where it needs to be to cool servers, resulting in less wasted energy.

Validating performance
The data center industry widely uses the power utilization efficiency (PUE) metric to measure relative energy efficiency. More data center operators are also using Energy Star Portfolio Manager to benchmark and validate the energy performance of their facilities. Energy Star provides third party recognition for data centers that are in the top 25% of energy efficiency when benchmarked against a comparable peer set, adjusted for location, size, age, and other operational parameters.

We’re proud to lead the way in energy efficiency initiatives in the data center industry and excited to see what progress will be made in the coming years. When it comes to making real progress, it’s clear that setting concrete, reachable goals is important to be able to gauge success and push the envelope. We look forward to sharing more of our initiatives and progress, and encourage other data center operators to do the same. Want to learn more about Digital Realty’s commitment to sustainability? Get started here.

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