Time to Alter the Ways of Power Generation at Data Centers

Jul 27,2021 by Manoj Yadav
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Modern computing infrastructures cannot even think to operate in the absence of data centers. But it’s not just about cloud computing, with the emerge of so many kinds of computing and multiple infrastructures demand for the data centers have hiked. As services like colocation, reseller, etc. more and more people are turning up for cloud services. This is easing out their workload but increasing the demand for data center services in terms of both number and quality. The traditional data centers which used to operate years ago would not be able to handle the kind of variable demands now pop up.

The data center energy usage is not going to deplete any time soon and simultaneously going up the demand for renewable energy resources. As the deteriorating situation of the environment is known to each, utilizing renewable resources is the demand of the year.

The importance of data center services is no less as it covers communication services, energy systems, transport, and health services. The problem now lies not only in how the power is consumed but also how it is generated. Even a small data center can save tons of energy and can also be responsible for wasting dollars on the wrong ways in which energy is consumed or generated. The management at a data center India should carry out tasks as per the right practice that is sustainable both for the data center specifically and also for the environment.

Addressing this situation is the need of the hour. Industries need to implement energy-efficient as well as energy effective data centers to fight this issue. Many of us may be unaware of the fact that data centers contribute a lot in utilizing the current electrical loads of the overall electricity infrastructures. The electrical systems are so already overloaded that even the idea of opening up a new data centers gets into the nerves of the electrical engineers.

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Any data center should have an adequate system for the main power supply and further cooling that is required. Data centers mostly operate at their maximum capacity and thus no additional strain can be imagined by the concerned electricity provider.

If we see the energy consumption statistics for the data centers, then the percent increase is quite dramatic. But why is it so that data centers India require so much of energy consumption? The major reason is that the way the data center has been designed is not optimally efficient and thus big chunk of the cooling capacity does not even reach the actual racks of the data centers.

But the picture is not that bad, many changes have been made lately that have helped in bringing down the power consumption by approximately 80%. Let’s see what are these ways through which power consumption can be reduced to a considerable level-

1. Replacing diesel generators – Diesel has been used as a first preference as a fuel for the generators. But using diesel generators for a long period is not a good choice at all. There are two main reasons for it, one is cost and the other is sustainability. The costs involved in the logistics and other fuel management strategy is very bulky and troublesome in the case of the diesel due to security reasons. One other major issue is that you cannot think of regular refueling when working with diesel as a fuel. Hence, it became necessary to replace diesel as it emits both Carbon Dioxide and other particulates. Fuel cells proved to be a good alternative that it is very close to the qualities of diesel-like good energy density, reliability, and rendering continuous power. Apart from fuel cells, on-site renewable energy resource is also a very favorable option. As it is fuel cells cost a lot more and it comes with design implications that make extra power already been generated at the data center. The heat coming out of the cooling system is as it is going into waste so why not using it some other way and make data centers more sustainable. This has a much lower greenhouse gas emission than what results out from the conventional power station generation. 

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2. Elastic data centers– A data center’s resilience should be top-notch and should surpass the average market standards. Although the data centers are designed in a way to keep the level of resilience high by minimizing the redundancy. This should count failure in the generators and power outages into account. Also, the infrastructure of any data center should be redundant enough to achieve the Tier IV data center tag. With this achieving, the bar of 99.995 % of uptime seems to be easily achievable. Gas-powered data centers are always at the desired state of redundancy level similar to a Tier IV of 2N+1. 

3. Eliminating zombie servers– Many assets within the fully-functional data center infrastructure might not be utilized not even a single bit. But with the fast-moving pace of the business, experts very often overlook such factors. Those non-working parts are still receiving power and intentionally or unintentionally are utilizing a very big chunk of the energy. According to a general study, in most of the data centers, 25% of the physical servers and 30% of the virtual servers lay down in the dormant state. To avoid this, properly working and efficient monitoring tools should be put into use. They will bring indirect oversight and will make the servers mission-critical. 

4. Standalone gas supply– When the gas generators are not connected to any electricity grid then it becomes more suitable for the data center sites. Hence, when data centers have their standalone gas supply generators they can utilize them more effectively. Standalone gas supply makes the power supply continuous and thus lesser energy goes into waste. 

5. Best in the market supplier– A good camaraderie with your energy supplier can abridge your energy expenses surprisingly. It is the supplier only that can help you in saving a lot of energy and would suggest you the best and efficient fuel. Your energy supplier can also help through other dimensions like saving time to research on energy issues so that you can focus things related to core business.       

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Tackling data power issues is not a one-day thing but with the right approach and determination can be curbed before time. Alternatives of diesel, like liquid and compressed natural gas, can seem to be costly initially. But give it some time and trust me it will turn out to be very beneficial. Also, it’s not just a matter of cost, keeping our environment safe and sound is also one of our major responsibilities. With the right set of plan and decision making, you are all set to go.

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