More data center owners and operators are paying attention to energy efficiency than in the past. However, many have made changes and upgrades and may not be as focused on pushing for better efficiency and improvements, month to month or year to year. The operating costs are rising and data center prioritize the energy savings measures, especially when they are wildly inconsistent or rising. These priorities carry over to data center equipment designers and manufacturers for performance monitoring so that the managers can understand if there are peaks that may explain higher costs.
Whenever a data center management team is working to determine the energy source from local providers, enterprises are supportive in finding ways to save in many different ways. Equipment power use can be a big factor in those reductions, and replacing with more sophisticated versions can allow increased data handling and closer management. PDUs are an example of this, where metering at the inlet, outlet, branch circuit, and rack PDU circuit breaker can tell you a lot about that granular detail when it may be needed. Full-featured USB ports allow for easier setup up, upgrades, cascading (daisy-chaining), and other support. There are more sophisticated displays at the rack which can show information such as alerts in a more meaningful way to more quickly determine critical and non-critical alarms. Because there are losses associated with stepping power up or down through transformers, there are 480V configurations to avoid those step losses.
Smaller data centers had been known to lack some of the same tools for monitoring that larger data center operators may take for granted. This includes temperature monitoring, which has led to those smaller data centers to overcool the rooms in order to prevent a few localized hot spots from getting out of control. Small portable sensors are more prevalent and can be moved around a data center to record and analyze the data in real time. In many data centers the temperature can be raised without impacting the performance and every 1 degree in temperature increase can save up to 4% on the overall energy use. Raising the temperatures slowly can then determine how the systems react along with the peak conditions.
Although sophisticated equipment like full-featured PDUs might be aimed for large data center use, the smaller data centers can make the most use out of such equipment since they can help collocate their equipment and avoid the trouble, expense, and human resource drain of creating specialized rooms, rows, or areas. Add in that the controls can allow for remote reboot of the equipment, metering of devices to determine if capacity limits are being reached, and monitoring of environmental conditions. Coupled with a DCIM solution, the systems can create simple reports with compiled data to understand the trends and capacity limits as well as how actual power consumption compares to set fees colocations providers often pass along.
For investing in renewable energy, most data centers are reliant on the local electrical service providers. Data centers that are aiming to operate 24/7 on renewable power sources are connected to the electrical grid in order to make sure they can purchase that renewable for their offsets even though nighttime operation may be through fossil-fuel generation by the utility at that time.