IBM J. Res. Dev

Uncovering energy-efficiency opportunities in data centers

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The combination of rapidly increasing energy use of data centers (DCs), which is triggered by dramatic increases in IT (information technology) demands, and increases in energy costs and limited energy supplies has made the energy efficiency of DCs a central concern from both a cost and a sustainability perspective. This paper describes three important technology components that address the energy consumption in DCs. First, we present a mobile measurement technology (MMT) for optimizing the space and energy efficiency of DCs. The technology encompasses the interworking of an advanced metrology technique for rapid data collection at high spatial resolution and measurement-driven modeling techniques, enabling optimal adjustments of a DC environment within a target thermal envelope. Specific example data demonstrating the effectiveness of MMT is shown. Second, the static MMT measurements obtained at high spatial resolution are complemented by and integrated with a real-time sensor network. The requirements and suitable architectures for wired and wireless sensor solutions are discussed. Third, an energy and thermal model analysis for a DC is presented that exploits both the high-spatial-resolution (but static) MMT data and the high-time-resolved (but sparse) sensor data. The combination of these two data types (static and dynamic), in conjunction with innovative modeling techniques, provides the basis for extending the MMT concept toward an interactive energy management solution. © 2009 IBM.