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How HP Plans to Reduce Data Center Energy Use

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday June 6th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Data centers need a considerable amount of energy to operate and that number is rising rapidly. They are likely to use 19 percent more energy this year than last year, according to a report released last fall by Datacenter Dynamics. The biggest energy increases are expected in markets where facility growth is expected to increase, which includes major markets in the U.S.

HP wants to reduce the amount of energy used by data centers. Research by HP Labs, the company’s research arm, found that organizations can cut total power use by 30 percent, reduce dependence on grid power and cut costs by over 80 percent. The company presented the findings last in a research paper titled, “Towards the Design and Operation of Net-Zero Energy Data Centers” at IEEE’s 13th annual Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electrical Systems. The company is showcasing the HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center architecture at HP Discover, the company’s premier client event from June 4 through 7 in Las Vegas.

HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center integrates energy and cooling supply from local renewable energy sources and combines it with a “demand-management approach” that allows IT workloads scheduling based on resource availability and performance requirement. An example cited by HP Labs is that non-critical workloads could be scheduled during the day to coincide with solar power supply.

The HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center saves energy by using modules that do the following:

  • Leverage powerful predictive analytics software to forecast the availability and cost of critical resources, like renewable energy, and IT workload demand
  • Employ a novel optimization algorithm to schedule workloads based on resource availability
  • Manage workload and energy consumption in real-time according to performance requirements and data center operational objectives
  • Use verification and reporting to ensure plan accuracy

“Information technology has the power to be an equalizer across societies globally, but the cost of IT services, and by extension the cost of energy, is prohibitive and inhibits widespread adoption,” said Cullen Bash, interim director, Sustainable Ecosystems Research Group, HP Labs. “The HP Net-Zero Energy Data Center not only aims to minimize the environmental impact of computing, but also has a goal of reducing energy costs associated with data-center operations to extend the reach of IT accessibility globally.”

Google claims its data center is 50 percent more efficient

HP is not the only company seeking to reduce its energy use. A few months Google claimed in a report that its data centers are 50 percent more efficient than the data centers of other companies. Venture Beat points out that the power-usage effectiveness (PUE) of most other data centers, using Energy Star data, is 2.0. Google claims to have a 12 month average PUE of 1.14 last year, a decrease from 1.16 in 2010. As Venture Beat puts it, it’s “not exactly 50 percent less energy than its competitors, but close.”

Photo: Flickr user, HPnews


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