Is there a blueprint for energy efficient data centers? Perhaps there’s some sort of roadmap companies can follow to make all their energy efficiency hopes and dreams come true. Given the ongoing challenges many are facing to meet data center optimization goals, the answer should be “no.”  But Facebook would disagree.

Recently, the company made an unprecedented move to share its secrets to a greener data center.  Facebook released specifics for the Open Compute Project – which outlines its roadmap for making the company’s Prineville, Oregon data center one of the most efficient in the world.  Says an article in Benzinga.com:

“Social media giant Facebook has recently launched a major new initiative designed to share its server and data center designs with rivals. The company claims that its data center innovations could save enough money to power more than 100,000 homes.”

According to Mark Zuckerberg, the new facility uses 38% less power and costs 24% less to run than existing server farms.  Zuckerberg claimed the open project will foster ecosystems that will build greener, more energy efficient data centers globally. Sounds great, right? The market’s energy issues are solved.  Not so fast.

The cost of energy inefficiency in the data center is staggering.  As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the numbers to back it up. Their report indicated energy used to power data centers is as high as 60 billion kilowatt hours. This is equal to 1.5% of all power used in the United States.  In terms of costs, total data center power and electricity consumption for the world was estimated to cost $7.2 billion annually.

Even Facebook, with their blueprint to energy efficiency success, is not immune. Recent reports claim the social media giant is spending as much as $1 million per month on power costs for their data center.  The problem is so bad that the environmental advocate group Greenpeace identified the world’s most inefficient data centers in an attempt to create a “call to action” and solve the problem of dirty data centers.

“Greenpeace on Thursday released a study that gave several top Internet companies low marks for the energy efficiency of their various data centers.  While Google and Yahoo got some praise for their efforts, others like Apple, Facebook, and Twitter did not fare as well. Apple got the worst score for its ‘coal intensity’ with 54.5 percent.  Facebook was a close second at 52.8 percent.”

With all this negative attention, companies are exploring any and all avenues to make dramatic improvements in both data center efficiency and power efficiency. As a matter of fact, analyst firm Pike Research pegs investments in green data centers to grow significantly over the next four years. The firm estimates that, by 2015, green data center investments will hit $41.4 billion – growing from $7.5 billion in 2010.  That’s 28% of the total data center marketplace!

So what’s the roadmap to a green data center? Many feel that full visibility into actual energy used is core to cutting costs: According to the Gartner report, “Data center managers must have the information they need to make informed decisions for effective planning and management of data center assets and physical infrastructure to ensure the service levels the company expects. They also must have the insight needed to properly plan and forecast future data center capacities, including space, power, and cooling and network connection.”

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) is a needed element to achieve a green data center.  (DCIM) is enterprise data center technology that combines information technology and facility management to enable the centralized monitoring, management, and intelligent capacity planning of the data center’s critical systems. DCIM’s platform conducts real-time monitoring and management across IT and facility infrastructures – helping companies maximize data center ROI and achieve greater levels of data center efficiency and power efficiency.

A recent article in Datacenterknowledge predicts the DCIM market is set to explode:  “From established solutions to new entries, the Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) market is moving fast, as data center managers demand greater insight into the complex environments they manage. Last year (2010) Gartner predicted a 60 percent market penetration of DCIM by 2014, driven by increased power and heat density, data center consolidation, virtualization and cloud computing.”

The team at FieldView Solutions is helping companies across the globe realize the full power of DCIM.  Since 2003, FieldView technology has been at work in some of the largest data centers across the US, Europe and Asia.  FieldView’s ongoing success with Fortune 100 companies in the financial, technology, pharmaceutical, healthcare and commercial real estate sectors has catapulted our reputation as the industry’s leading provider of DCIM.

The FieldView platform is a web-based enterprise data center technology designed to meet the most stringent data security, application resiliency and bandwidth requirements of corporate IT networks. The FieldView platform includes a powerful real-time data collection engine that helps data center operators manage IT assets and the supporting infrastructure to maximize resource utilization and energy efficiency. The intuitive front-end enables immediate access to vast amounts of real-time data to make informed decisions on the core data that affects your businesses, including energy utilization and efficiency.

Many companies like Facebook claim to hold the key to energy efficiency in the data center.  The company’s Open Compute Project claims to be the “Holy Grail” for a greener data center and the company hopes to lead the way for industry-wide adoption of its blueprint. But be careful. Before you “friend” the Facebook blueprint, give some serious thought to DCIM. To truly power the next-generation energy efficient data center, you need the right tools providing insight into energy resources and how they can be optimized.  But there’s really no time to waste.  Energy prices are at an all-time high and companies like Greenpeace are putting pressure on companies to comply with new standards.

So, are you going to be the next target?  Check out DCIM. It may very well hold the answer to your problems.

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