Data centers are the humming engines that power today's globalized, tech-centric economy. But as IT managers are keenly aware, there is a cost to this valuable service, both in terms of the money required to keep up with capacity demand and in terms of data centers' ever-expanding carbon footprints.

Looking ahead, digital content will only increase — doubling every 18 months, according to market research firm IDC — and power consumption will continue to be a hot-button issue as nonrenewable energy resources dwindle and electricity costs rise. In this environment, you need real solutions to ensure that growing data demands do not jeopardize business continuity, tie up your budgets, hamstring innovation and increase pollution.

Get More Value Out of What You Already Have

The prospect of building a new data center is costly — both for the enterprise and for the environment. Thankfully, huge opportunities exist to squeeze more work out of your current infrastructure. In particular, capacity utilization and power and cooling are areas that can be significantly improved through high-performance hardware, power management tools, smart data center design, and containment and power delivery strategies. At Dell, we know this from firsthand experience because we've done it ourselves, doubling our computing capacity in 2009 and avoiding having to build a new data center.

The Efficient Data Center Lowers Costs, Risks and Environmental Impacts

Our approach is called the Efficient Data Center, and it can help you free up some 50 percent of your IT budget while also lowering your carbon footprint. Built on virtualization, automation and consolidation, this strategy yields open, robust and cost-effective solutions that help you optimize your current center, virtualize in a time frame that makes sense for your business and leverage cloud technologies where appropriate.

In addition, the Efficient Data Center improves business continuity. Downtime costs money, drains resources and can harm a company's reputation. With an infrastructure that's virtual ready, you can recover from server failure rapidly and without having to rebuild from scratch. Within minutes the functions performed by the failed server — whether it's virtual or physical — can be retargeted to an available spare server so that the applications are backed up.

Simplify With Intelligent Infrastructure and Systems Management

A new generation of smart server, storage and networking products are designed to use power more efficiently, automate frequent tasks, rapidly respond to change requests, and help you both anticipate and address potential trouble spots. For example, our ultradense PowerEdge™ C servers are specially designed for cloud/cluster application environments. And our high-density PowerEdge M-Series blade servers offer ease of management along with high capacity, a small footprint and lower power consumption. In fact, a 2010 study found that Dell blades can consume up to 20 percent less power per blade server than identically configured competitive offerings, while also delivering demonstrated performance-per-watt advantages*.

Streamline your application and workload management with flexible sourcing, self-service workload deployment and advanced monitoring. 

Make Storage an Asset, Not a Burden

We can help you take control of data management by delivering nearly limitless scalability and seamless management. Leveraging scale-out architectures, our customers can grow capacity on demand and avoid the need to overprovision. Since capacity and demand can be closely matched, this is a highly efficient way to manage resources, including powering and cooling. A broad array of services and products — including virtualized EqualLogic™ storage area networks (SANs) with built-in automation, cost-effective and capable PowerVault™ products and flexible Dell/EMC arrays with advanced data management features — can help you make smart choices about where, how and at what cost to store your data.

To tie all these offerings together, Dell is bringing a new set of services to our customers called Intelligent Data Management (IDM). IDM is designed to encompass growth planning and analysis, data protection, archiving, discovery and compliance, and optimization of server and storage resources in the data center. These services are enhanced with our acquisition of Ocarina Networks. Ocarina's powerful, content-aware deduplication and compression technology has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of hardware required to store typical data sets so we foresee even more efficiency gains ahead.

Take the First Step

Our free Data Center Capacity Planner provides power, cooling and airflow estimates for server centers. And consultants from the Dell Data Center Practice can help you determine how to get the most out of your power efficiency and data center architectural choices.

A good first step toward realizing the benefits of the Efficient Data Center is to attend the Dell IT Consulting Efficient Architecture Workshop. This half-day, Dell-facilitated engagement addresses your key technology and related business challenges. Working collaboratively with Dell consultants, you can determine potential solution or technology areas that can yield measurable results toward your enterprise efficiency.

*Based on SPECpower_ssj2008 benchmark testing performed by Dell labs in July 2010 and reported in a white paper entitled, 'Power Efficiency Comparison of Enterprise-Class Blade Servers and Enclosures,' http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/pedge/en/BladePowerStudyWhitePaper_08112010_final.pdf, comparing a Dell M1000e enclosure fully populated with 16 M610 blade servers against both the IBM® BladeCenter H enclosure fully populated with 14 HS22 blade servers and the Hewlett-Packard® C7000 enclosure fully populated with 16 BL460C G6 blade servers. Actual results/performance will vary based on configuration, usage and manufacturing variability.