Energy monitoring for greater efficiency in the data center and beyond
Karl Helbig 270001N2U6 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  energy energy-monitoring green green-and-beyond ibm green-infrastructure energy-management energy-efficiency monitoring tivoli green-it management ibm-energy-management maximo sustainability green-data-center meo 1 Comment 2,687 Visits
Effective monitoring of IT, data center and facility assets can bring positive savings to companies that are paying attention to it. Based on a survey I read recently, decreased energy use (or greater energy efficiency) and increased cooling efficiency were mentioned as the biggest benefits that data center and facility managers are seeing from their green efforts. In reality, these companies should probably also realize that, in most cases, they may have to invest a little in technology to see real benefits. Easier said than done in today's economic climate, but worth investigating.
Where can a company get started on a path toward a more energy efficient IT infrastructure? Start by gaining thorough visibility in to (or discovering) your actual IT (servers, etc.), data center (CRAC units, etc.) and facility assets, and how they are being used. Once you can see your assets and how they are performing, you can begin to take the necessary actions required to optimize those assets. This might come in the form of simply using your technology assets to their fullest capacity, or even a simple understanding of where your assets might require less cooling when they are idle. A better utilized, better performing asset should likewise be a more energy efficient asset. Let me put it like this: see what you have, understand how it is being (or not being) used, and adjust accordingly.
What should an energy monitoring solution provide?
As I said, visibility into energy consumption is key. Energy monitoring software should act as the "collector" if you will of sensor data from IT, data center and facility equipment. It should provide visibility to help manage the data center environment (think back to what I mentioned about "discovering" earlier). It should help you gain insight into energy and thermal information for such equipment and infrastructure and should enable the optimization of the monitored environment from a centralized point of control. It should allow information to be stored in real-time to leverage historic, and trending energy and thermal metrics in a common repository to help you make better informed decisions around energy management. Lastly, it should allow the collected data to be used by other solutions such as thermal visualization, dashboard, and applications that help you understand your costs and track, allocate and invoice by multiple criteria.
You may not have to have a huge budget to better monitor your assets. And you may not even need extra people either. Before you make the decision NOT to invest, do your homework. Look for the criteria outlined above. Explore solutions that monitor IT, data center and facility assets. Understand the full scope of what you might need to do. You might be surprised to find out that it's not as big of an undertaking as you may think. And the rewards are many fold.
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