How to reduce the costs of a data center?

Reducing cost is a challenge for any data center. What do you need to do to make it viable? We talk about it.

The challenge for data centers today is their ability to deliver reliable data at a low cost. According to Brian Kortendicka representative of JLL, three points should be emphasized: business discipline, ownership of data and control over its management and processing.

Table of contents

Reduce TCO or Total Cost of Ownership

The desire to reduce TCO requires a comprehensive investment in people, technology and data-driven operating systems.

Go through a cost analysis

Data center operators manage from the design of their assets, to the various activities that take place during their function and until the end of life.

Data collection and processing should be used in the future to perform a cost analysis before opening new data centers.

The purpose of acquiring data is to be able to use it wisely but also to be able to predict its scope and performance. This will require data center operators to take a long-term view.

The technology stack: the secret tool for reducing TCO

The technology stack collects the data needed for TCO effectiveness. In percentage terms, the use of a technology stack will save up to 10 of operating costs. It regulates the work flow and maintains the various equipment more durably by preventing breakdowns and repairs.

When data reliability and equipment performance are wisely monitored, a better return on investment can take place. Well-processed data and active equipment maintenance prevents repairs that exacerbate initial expenses.

Optimizing personnel

To get through data processing and make better decisions, data centers need to invest in skilled and knowledgeable engineers.

To reduce construction costs: Opt for minimal infrastructure

Peter Sacco of PTS expounds on the subject. Data centers must be self-disciplined if they want to save on construction costs.

12 million/megawatt is what it costs to build the average data center. The only way to reduce that figure is to provide minimal infrastructure.

That’s what SaccoCEO of PTS Data Center Solutions. According to him, 25% of the expenses can be restricted by simplifying the design. The desire of everyone who wants to create data centers comes down to the same thing. As inexpensive as possible but as efficient as possible to get started quickly. Sacco insists that one must then arrange to minimize the supporting infrastructure while keeping those data center operating capabilities. This will keep costs down.

Designing minimally shouldn’t be frowned upon, according to Sacco. It simplifies the design drawings as well as the calculation of the interconnections that must be there. Minimal interconnectivity also reduces labor requirements.

Sacco’s second tip is to emphasize modularity without alternating its availability. And finally, reducing the environmental footprint through a PUE not exceeding 1.1.

Depending on the operators’ wishes, data center designs will be built quickly and adapted on a case-by-case basis.

Experience-based reductions

During a webinar done with Bloom Energy, Sacco argues that it is possible to reduce the first digit of the cost of a Tier II data center to 6.5 million.

His long experience with data center construction allows him to see a correlation of approximately 35 % à 45 % between operation and investment. He also sums up the dilemma of traditional construction in one sentence: too much expense mobilized to get it going.

For a Tier III data center, Sacco lays out the cost advantages. A design of 6.5 million per megawatt, failure resistant, operational at all levels, and maintainable.

A reduction in cost, however, will not affect the requirement for safety and backup systems. He proposes the use of Bloom solid oxide fuel cells to augment the power sources.

Ensuring electrical system reliability through a different approach than the traditional one

This involves joining all electrical infrastructure in a single tier. This approach will save up to 15 % of the traditional infrastructure that drew power directly from the grid.

These less expensive data centers should also opt for a power source that does not require the installation or maintenance of legacy components (batteries, generators, etc.).

The more flexible design of this type of data center will have the potential to scale up to multiple levels. Sacco states 35 % à 45 % less capital and operational expense and capacity to achieve greater megawatt range.

Edge extensions should not be forgotten, however, when discussing data center construction costs. “Edge” means at the cutting edge. Economically built data centers must also be able to provide the fundamentals: data generation, processing, backup and security. All this in order to be able to make a significant contribution to the expansion of the edge.

All these considerations must be taken into account by data center operators. Because this sector is constantly growing. A solution must be found to reduce construction costs while maintaining the quality of data and its processing. That’s why Sacco insists on minimizing data center designs. In other words, data centers that are more economical in terms of cost but can be activated quickly.

Rethinking the environmental footprint of data centers by reducing energy consumption

Data centers consume an enormous amount of energy to support their needs. In a global environment alarmed by accelerating climate change issues, data center managers must respond quickly. They need to find an efficient way to reduce the environmental footprint of their infrastructure and digital operations.

1% of global electricity demand is occupied by data centers. Yet this small percentage contributes to a carbon dioxide emission of 0.3%. But within ten years, data center energy consumption in some regions will increase by 15 to 30 percent, depending on Eric Masanet and Nuoa Lei.

Acting on the temperature

A data center uses 40% of its energy for cooling needs. Fifty percent will be attributed to servers and network cables. Data center managers should be able to find a way to reduce this cooling energy by increasing and controlling the heat in the server rooms.

Environmental responsibility reminds us that every effort must be made to reduce the heat generated by IT infrastructures. For a cybersecurity company, a controlled increase in room heat of 3°C demonstrated a 25% decrease in cooling expenses over the year.

The effectiveness of the cloud, however, has been questioned for various reasons. Asaf EzraAsaf Ezra, CEO of Granulate, believes that clouds are energy-intensive and yet neglected by their users. Unfortunately, they generate a very large amount of carbon dioxide and abundant expenses to service operators.

As a solution, power, heat and server activity monitoring systems allow to regulate all these expenses within the data centers. For the benefit of data centers, the actual data generated will guide decisions to reduce this intense energy consumption and environmental concern.

Accessing useful, actionable data remains a priority

The demand for data and data processing continues to abound at data centers. This growth is strongly linked to the explosion of internet usage around the world. And this kind of demand never abates.

In response to this ongoing demand, perhaps existing servers should be mobilized instead of inaugurating new ones. Accompanying this demand for data, requesters are also demanding data quality.

Data centers have already offered workload and operator management solutions. This allows medium-utilized systems to be shut down at the root and thus prevent them from consuming energy unnecessarily.

Promote out-of-band management

Out-of-band management, or keeping an eye on the server without attacking the operating system, is one of the solutions for data center management. It allows for general server monitoring, but also the ability to provide useful and immediate data to business departments.

The goal of both out-of-band management and cooling cost reduction is to kill several birds with one stone. The goal of both out-of-band management and cooling cost reduction is to kill two birds with one stone: to collect real, usable data; to eliminate unused digital services that overload servers; and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for an increasingly planet-friendly enterprise.

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