EnergIT: A Methodology for the Incremental Green Design of Data Centers

EnergIT: A Methodology for the Incremental Green Design of Data Centers

Eugenio Capra (Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy), Paolo Cremonesi (Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy), Chiara Francalanci (Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy), Francesco Merlo (Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy) and Nicola Parolini (Dipartimento di Matematica, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/jgc.2013010106
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Abstract

Researches on green data centers have defined guidelines and end-to-end methodologies to increase energy efficiency. Most of these approaches require a disrupting reengineering of the infrastructure and significant upfront investments. Smaller data centers need to reach green objectives with a more incremental approach. The EnergIT project proposes a methodology and related tools that support the incremental redesign of data centers toward greater energy efficiency based on three main levers: 1) physical repositioning of servers to optimize air flow circulation and cooling, enabling higher set temperatures of the cooling system; 2) replacement of server models; and 3) virtualization. This paper describes the approach and provides evidence on the effectiveness of the methodology by showing how the combined effect of the three levers has led to 62% reduction of energy consumption in a real case study.
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Introduction

Research on Green ICT has been active for over a decade and is currently structured as a multi-disciplinary research area offering consolidated end-to-end methodologies (cf. Schultz, 2009; Patel et al., 2002; Bash & Foreman, 2007; Shah et al., 2008; Brown & Reams, 2010) and numerous in-depth systematic studies (cf. Li et al., 2007; Patel et al., 2002). Within the Green ICT area, the green data center research stream is particularly active, with a correspondingly broad array of market solutions. Hardware vendors have included energy efficiency among their base set of target parameters, and are constantly benchmarked against their performance-to-power ratio (cf. www.vmware.com). Whether accounting for these benefits when assessing the payoffs of green is questionable. Large green projects are often justified on the basis of all possible economic returns, including the cost reductions from virtualization. However, part of these benefits can be obtained by applying virtualization to legacy servers without investing in new expensive green hardware, such as high-performance blade servers and enclosures or dedicated precision cooling infrastructures. In this case, addressing small data centers needs means assessing the gap between these benefits and the maximum possible returns involving investments in the newest and most efficient hardware.

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