New research analyzing the actual cooling performance within live data centers for many of the world’s leading brands suggests that data center operators are missing out on proven ways of cutting cooling energy consumption by up to 30%.
The analysis, conducted by EkkoSense – the world-leading provider of software-driven data center thermal optimization solutions – assessed cooling performance across a sample of some 133 data center halls with analysis of over 33,000 IT racks. The results showed that the current average data center cooling utilization level is only 40%. EkkoSense’s research also identified that implementing an effective thermal optimisation programme has collectively secured a cumulative 10MW+ cooling power saving – equivalent to a minimum $10 million cooling energy cost saving since deployment. In carbon terms, this equates to a cumulative saving of around 20,000 tonnes CO2eq emissions reduction[i].
This level of performance optimization applied to the broader global estate of 22,474 midsize, enterprise and larger hyperscale data centers[ii] suggests that potential worldwide cooling energy savings of over $1.7 billion are realizable. Additionally, an overall carbon emissions reduction of some 3.38 million tonnes CO2 -eq worldwide can be secured simply by applying the systematic and synchronized application of data center cooling optimisation best practices on a global basis.
“With data centers already established as one of the world’s highest collective consumers of energy, it’s imperative that IT operations teams do everything they can to deliver the quick carbon reduction wins that will help organisations to deliver on their net zero commitments,” commented Mark Acton, a leading data center technical and standards consultant and an EkkoSense Non-Executive Director.
“The good news is that with the latest generation of software-driven data centre optimization solutions there’s a real opportunity for organisations to achieve significant carbon reductions. Indeed, EkkoSense’s in-depth analysis of data center thermal performance shows that it’s now possible to secure cooling energy consumption reductions of around a third simply by following current thermal optimization best practices”.
“With data centers already established as one of the world’s highest collective consumers of energy, it’s imperative that IT operations teams do everything they can to deliver the quick carbon reduction wins that will help organisations to deliver on their net zero commitments,” Mark Acton.
“Data center operators also need to recognise that optimizing thermal performance positively impacts data center risk management – however it’s difficult to ask the right questions if you don’t actually have any granular visibility into how your individual racks and cooling equipment are performing,” added Anuraag Saxena, Data Center Optimisation Manager at EkkoSense.
“From our research we know that only 5% of data center M&E teams currently monitor and report equipment temperature actively on an individual rack-by-rack basis – and even less collect real-time cooling duty information or conduct any formal cooling resilience tests. So, it’s perhaps hardly surprising that our initial analysis showed that – at any given time – around 10-15% of data center racks were actually well out of ASHRAE thermal compliance.”
“..it’s perhaps hardly surprising that our initial analysis showed that – at any given time – around 10-15% of data center racks were actually well out of ASHRAE thermal compliance,” Anuraag Saxena, EkkoSense.
Given that the typical response of many organisations facing IT cooling challenges is to further invest in more expensive cooling equipment, EkkoSense’s findings show that the underlying cause of poor data center thermal compliance is clearly not a lack of cooling capacity. Instead, facility teams and other technical stakeholders should be focused on optimizing their data centers’ thermal performance and using their investment in existing cooling systems more efficiently. This not only results in reduced cooling costs year-on-year but also eliminates, or defers, the need for capital investment.
A copy of the research is available for download here Optimizing data center thermal performance with EkkoSense With its powerful EkkoSoft Critical monitoring, 3D visualization and analytics platform, EkkoSense is making it even easier for data center operations teams to collect granular real-time data, visualize airflow management improvements, manage complex capacity decisions, and quickly highlight any worrying trends in cooling performance. The key difference with EkkoSense is that the solutions not only pick up the problems or underlying negative trends but also suggest best practice solutions based on EkkoSoft Critical’s extensive knowledge base and deep analytics capability. This effectively removes data center thermal risks and provides 100% rack-level ASHRAE thermal compliance. All this comes at a fraction of the cost of more expensive and complex legacy data center DCIM or CFD solutions and offers a genuine ROI in less that 12 months in most cases.
EkkoSense has already helped its clients to reduce their cooling power carbon emissions by around 20,000 tonnes CO2, eq, and these totals are being added to on a daily basis. For data center operators this kind of performance optimization is a win/win proposition – reducing their cooling energy usage by 30%, presenting them with a clear carbon emissions saving that will support their net zero emissions programmes, and also delivering a net cut in their overall data center cooling energy spending, as well as potentially eliminating additional capital investment.
EkkoSense’s distinctive software optimization approach allows data center operations teams to gather and visualize cooling, power and space data at a granular level. Customers can analyze multiple complex data sets simply and quickly in an easy-to-interpret 3D environment, and then apply AI and machine learning analytics techniques to secure actionable performance improvements. Once actioned, these processes can be repeated and measured for continuous 24×365 optimization.
EkkoSense solutions are available directly, or through the company’s expanding network of international partners across North and South America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
[i] Based on UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for company reporting
[ii] Based on Garter Forecast Analysis: Data Center Sites Worldwide – 11 September 2020 – based on global numbers for midsize, enterprise and hyperscale data centers