Three Ways to Drive Down Data Center Energy Cost

Make data center energy bills less daunting with Dell’s resources to improve sustainability and reduce energy consumption and costs.

As increased wholesale prices and global current events drive energy prices to record highs, energy efficiency has become a popular conversation among data center managers. I am often asked what can be done to drive down power requirements and lower energy cost. My answer is that energy efficiency is a multi-pronged approach and consideration should be given to everything from efficient hardware to overall infrastructure such as cooling, consolidation, among others. In addition to a holistic strategy around data center energy reduction, here are three actions which can influence an efficient outcome and lower energy bill:

Enable Power Management

At Dell Technologies, we integrate industry standard and vendor specific power management features into how we design our PowerEdge portfolio to help reduce energy consumption. With the Dell BIOS and integrated Dell remote access controller (iDRAC), you have control over the server’s power consumption. These built-in features help:

    • Reduce power consumption at run-time via demand-based power management where performance is balanced to workload. An example of this is CPU Performance States (P-States).
    • Minimize power consumption during IDLE period when there is no active workload, such as CPU C-states and DDR5 self-refresh.
    • Save energy costs as power consumption is reduced over time when there are opportunities.

Minimize Stranded Power  

Power and cooling equipment are significant investments in a data center and not fully utilizing their capacity is a poor return on investment. To make matters worse, cooling systems are less efficient when not highly utilized. Dell offers online tools and features integrated into platforms to help you rescue power stranded in your data center.

    • PSU portfolio, with wide range of capacities, enables PSU Right Sizing to avoid stranding power in your server, as many data centers allocate power based on PSU label rating.
    • Fault Tolerant Redundancy enables more aggressive PSU Right Sizing by utilizing the capacity of the redundant PSU during normal operation.
    • Dell iDRAC provides input power and current limiting features to enable PSU Right Sizing based on typical instead of worst-case workload while being protected if any unexpected excursions occur.
    • Open Manage Enterprise (OME) Power Manager Plug-in (PMP) supports group level input power and current (future release) limiting to maximize compute density within the data center’s rack power limit thus minimizing stranded power at the rack level.

Eliminate Zombies and Ghosts

The ghost servers can create unintentional electricity consumption as they sit on the rack unused but still connected. Further, there is the matter of the space that they take up. The problem is that administrators are not compelled to check for energy use at the individual server level, so they are not always aware that zombie servers exist. Dell OME PMP can help identify both unused and underused servers and create immediate relief to the energy bill.

    • OME PMP monitors power and compute utilization and identifies lost ghost servers that are consuming power but providing little to no value to your business.
    • Dell sales utilize Live Optics technology to find the zombies consuming power in the data center. A Dell sales proposal will include high efficiency next generation servers to replace the zombie servers found.

Most data center managers are eager to reduce high energy bills and take a hard look at how to lower their overall carbon footprint. These tips can be a quick win in the race towards greater energy efficiency, but the ultimate strategy includes proper management including visibility, monitoring and action is the key to managing energy efficiently. With the right Dell software and solutions activated, you can have visibility and control over your energy use and put those overwhelming energy bills behind you.

For more information on Dell’s commitment to advancing sustainability please visit our Advancing Sustainability page.

John Jenne

About the Author: John Jenne

John Jenne is a Distinguished Engineer in the Dell EMC Infrastructure Solutions Group focused on Power and Sustainability Use Phase Strategy across the Dell EMC server, storage, and networking portfolio. John has previously held positions with Compaq, MaXXan Systems, and Newisys. He has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Clemson University, an M.E.E. from the University of Houston and currently holds 71 patents.