Rightsizing of Datacenters - A Vital Cog in the Wheel to Save Energy Costs

By Sunil Khanna, Managing Director, Emerson Network Power India

The spending on Data Centers and related infrastructure is growing and how! In September 2015, Microsoft announced that it will be investing to create local data centers across Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu while, Amazon made a commitment to opening up cloud data centers in India in 2016. Undoubtedly the movement towards cloud and the rise of numerous content-guzzling applications have contributed to the rapid growth of the datacenter segment in India. The rise in the numbers of data-hungry customers, the optimism around cloud and the inclusion of big data, has majority of CIOs always looking for new places where massive amounts of data can be stored and utilized with efficiency and security. 

Echoing global trends, the Indian data center market is buoyed by the positive sentiments in the economy and the strong resurgence of growth-related projects across verticals such as banking, insurance, telecom and undoubtedly the focus of the Indian government on digitization. Case in point: research firm Gartner, predicts that the Indian data center infrastructure market, comprising of server, storage and networking equipment, will see a 5.2 percent increase to $2.00 billion in 2016. What aids this scenario in India is the burgeoning number of start-ups, SMBs and SMEs that are all based out of tier 2 and tier 3 cities, all of which face a problem of scarce energy supply. For businesses to function in an organized and efficient manner, 24x7 continuous energy supply is imperative. With companies looking at datacenters to store and manage data, they have to balance rising energy and operational costs with space limitations.

Datacenters are undergoing unprecedented change as new technologies such as virtualization, cloud computing and voice over IP help lower operating cost, conserve floor space and simplify management. This is why, companies are looking at dynamic rightsizing to make their datacenters power proportional and efficient and determining the right size of a datacenter becomes paramount.

Importance of Rightsizing Datacenters and Smart Solutions to Indian Businesses 
In today’s digital world, money saved is money earned. Therefore, rightsizing of a datacenter is as important as upgrading a datacenter. When companies look at minimizing operational costs- Power, cooling and space requirements, all play a huge role within datacenters in bringing them down and keeping them to a minimum. With all of the above components, being subject to both dynamic and static variations in load, they must be taken into consideration right from day one. With SMEs and SMBs generating huge volumes of data, it is but natural that their datacenter needs are expected to grow and fluctuate at the same time owing to colocation or cloud based services. Uncertainty in the required power and cooling infrastructure can lead to over specifying and unnecessary capital investment by businesses; not to mention disproportionate operational costs that may be observed, as much of the power is used to maintain excess service capacity during periods of low load. 

This is why businesses today must look to right size their datacenters to ensure that enough power cooling and space are made available to meet both operational and business goals and most importantly minimize energy costs. But with capacity provision being a complicated process in the face of dynamically changing loads, more often than not, it leads to over sizing to provide sufficient headroom for scalability. Therefore organizations are increasingly looking at sophisticated power and cooling equipment for their data centers that are efficient even at low load levels and offers the flexibility to grow even as the data center expands.

Advantages of Rightsizing Datacenters 
Datacenters today, are witnessing sweeping changes driven by dependability of devices, automation and effective systems management. Quite frequently, over-sizing is the number one cause of inefficiency and therefore results in higher than necessary TCO in the datacenter. Understandably, companies today have to keep a lot in mind while planning out datacenters, as inefficient datacenters cost more. Right-sizing is by far the most cost effective solution to the problem.

Over-sizing drives unnecessary capital, maintenance, and energy expenses which is a substantial fraction of a data center’s overall life-cycle cost. What IT managers don’t realize is that there are fixed costs in the power and cooling systems whether or not the IT load is present. For example - a typical system that is loaded at 30 percent of rating has an electrical cost per kW of IT load of approximately $2,300 per kW per year. However, if the system were right-sized, the electrical cost per kW of IT load falls to approximately $1,440 per kW per year. This is a whopping 38 percent savings in electrical costs alone! 

Rightsizing –as a smart solution
As virtualization and modern cooling technologies are transforming datacenters, IT departments in companies too have move with times and acquire new skills. All of this has introduced simplification, when it comes to managing the day to day operations, a result of automation, which may even result in reduced number of staff required to maintain datacenters leading to increased efficiency.

Some CIOs may see this move towards automation as a dilution of their roles, however the overall consensus is that rightsizing of data centers will bring about the much needed fillip, required for innovation and will in essence, bring the role of the CIO to the center of the enterprise by making them more effective. 

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