How to Make the IT Case for Energy Efficiency

While data centers are the backbone of your operation, they consume a great deal of energy and can cost tens of thousands, to millions of dollars to operate. Yet IT Managers are often reluctant to travel far from their tried and true method, even if it is not an efficient way to operate. The good news is, there are tremendous savings to be uncovered without compromising performance and reliability, that will free up funds to extend your facilities and IT budgets.  

When it comes to energy efficiency, most organizations face common issues. Facilities and sustainability teams have misaligned interests with their IT departments when it comes to metrics for success, and do not interface very often. In addition, energy efficiency may not be mission-critical, or it is not common knowledge what the organization is paying on its utility bills. However, as data needs continue to rise, it is increasingly important that everyone pays attention to the energy consumption of the data center. Luckily there are some easy ways to save energy.  

The simplest decision is to purchase ENERGY STAR certified computer servers, which: 

  •  consume 30% less energy than standard servers, 

  •  saves on average over 650 kWh/year with power management enabled.  

While it is better to engage power management fully, you can also tune your server to ensure that you get energy savings, and maintain performance requirements and uptime. However, this is just the use phase. ENERGY STAR servers are designed to do more work using less energy, and can help you reduce the number of servers needed in your data center, regardless of its size. This saves money, directly from your IT department’s budget on servers purchased, as well as on licensing and other support fees.  

For example, a 1-socket and a 2-socket server, could potentially save in the range of $8,500 to nearly $13,000 for every server that is not needed. If the increased performance per watt in your facility allows you to use 100 fewer 2-socket servers for your workload, this would accrue to nearly $1.3 million dollars in cost savings, in addition to the energy bill savings that each server is providing. Fewer, more efficient servers mean less need for renewable energy credits, more space to complete additional IT functions, and energy savings that contribute to corporate sustainability goals.   

ENERGY STAR provides resources that can help you determine the number of servers you need for your data center. If you have already switched your fleet of servers to ENERGY STAR, visit our data center page for more ideas on how to align your organization’s interest to help the environment and your bottom line. 

Author: Ryan Fogle, ENERGY STAR Certified Products