How to Do More with Less Using Deployed Power Analysis

It’s obvious that computer servers use a lot of energy within the data center. But did you know you can optimize your data center to help increase its performance with fewer servers by calculating how much work your servers can perform for a given amount of energy input, in aggregate? 

The Answer: Deployed Power Analysis 

Deployed power analysis allows you to determine how specific server configurations within your data center scale up based on purchasing decisions at the component and operating system level. You can also calculate deployed power analysis at different utilization levels to better fit your data center’s unique workloads. 

Reducing the number of servers needed for a given amount of work can lead to the following benefits: 

  • Reduced server energy use with higher utilizations 
  • Increased density of IT equipment in the data center, which can lead to additional HVAC system savings 
  • Reduction in computer server operating system and software licensing fees  
  • Reduction in utility bill costs 
  • Potential reduction in square footage needed for data center space  

The following four steps - when applied sequentially - can be most effective in determining the total energy resources needed to support computer server purchasing decisions:  

STEP 1:  Determine the Target Performance of your Data Center 

Use an internal or external resource (e.g. measured in your data center or from vendor provided information) to determine how much computing or performance you need to support the daily workload(s) in your data center. This calculation should factor in worst-case scenarios with the highest performance demands required and may also account for additional performance needs in the future.  

STEP 2:  Identify the Number of Deployed Servers 

Using any available performance data for the specific computer server under consideration for use in your data center (e.g. measured internally or from product specification sheets), calculate how many of these servers it would take to reliably meet the overall target performance of your data center.  

STEP 3:  Apply the Server Energy Demand  

If you have visibility into the utilization and energy use data of the computer servers you are considering for use in your data center,  apply that information to determine how much energy each server is expected to consume during regular operation for your specific workload(s).  

STEP 4:  Calculate the Deployed Power  

Multiply the number of deployed servers by the server energy demand to estimate what the overall deployed server power will be in your data center. Making changes to the computer server under consideration and/or your target workload utilizations will impact this result.  

By following these four steps, you can compare different computer servers, using data provided on the ENERGY STAR computer server product finder or from vendors directly, to determine which servers can give you the biggest bang for your buck when you are considering larger server installations or refreshes.  

Looking for more detail on how to calculate deployed power for your computer servers?

Check out the latest Green Grid guidance on using publicly available SERT data to determine which ENERGY STAR certified servers are right for you. You can find more information on SERT and how products obtain an efficiency score on the ENERGY STAR Computer Server webpage. Or click on the links if you are interested in more about SERT or how to maximize your power management savings.

Author: Ryan Fogle