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Improve data center energy management with this guide

The revised 2015 version of the E.U.'s best practices guide for data centers provides up-to-date tips on data center energy management for everyone.

Data centers in the European Union have help meeting the energy savings set forth in the E.U. Code of Conduct for Data Centres.

A set of best practices for data center owners, operators and customers -- such as colocation tenants -- published by the European Commission Joint Research Centre's Institute for Energy, Renewable Energies Unit, offers tips on energy management from minimum effort through aggressive energy use reduction.

The measures laid out in the guide aim to improve data center energy use. Examples include audits to remove unused infrastructure capacity, mechanical infrastructure that does not require cooling, segmenting resilience levels within the facility, and adopting ISO 50001 or other business and data center energy management standards as part of data center operations.

Data center energy recommendations

Some best practices highlight involving business, IT and facility staff in reducing energy use:

"Deploy [new IT equipment] using Grid and Virtualisation technologies. Processes should be put in place to require senior business approval for any new service that requires dedicated hardware and will not run on a resource sharing platform. This applies to servers, storage and networking aspects of the service ... Determine the business impact of service incidents for each deployed service and deploy only the level of hardware resilience actually justified."

These energy management recommendations are not one size fits all. "It clearly depends a great deal on what state the site in question is in and what kind of technologies have been installed," said one of the guide's authors. He advises focusing mainly on four general areas when a greenfield build from the ground up isn't an option:

1. Airflow management and the arrangement of the IT equipment, for example in hot and cold aisles, to improve the energy efficiency of cooling;

2. IT equipment updates, and decommissioning and removal of any equipment not in use, to keep the data center architecture at optimal usage;

3. Higher temperature and humidity set points; and

4. Free cooling options.

Download the best practices guide from the European Commission's Renewable Energies Group's website. The guide has been published annually since 2008, and while much has changed as it's grown from 27 to 47 pages, core principles and recommendations remain the same, according to its authors.

The guide's authors include Liam Newcombe of BCS Data Centre Specialist Group, Mark Acton of Norland Managed Services, John Booth of Carbon3 IT, Sophia Flucker of Operational Intelligence and André Rouyer of The Green Grid, with review by operators, vendors, consultants, academics, professional and national bodies.

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This was last published in July 2015

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