8 Ways To Reduce Server Power Consumption
Servers gorge on watts and create enough heat to burn your budget. By following the 8 steps in this how-to guide you'll learn strategies to help reduce power drain and boost your bottom line.
A server can draw as much electricity as two or more old-style 100-watt incandescent light bulbs -- and generate as much heat, too. And because a server will malfunction within hours if its internal temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Centigrade), maintaining sufficient air-conditioning and air circulation to keep that from happening bumps up the power bill even more.
In fact, the power that servers consume indirectly (air conditioning, etc.) pretty much equals their direct power consumption. With their endless rows of server racks, today's data centers are so hard to air-condition that pundits joke about building future data centers in Iceland or Siberia, where the chilled air is free.
Power consumption costs and hassles are less intense for small and midsize businesses that don't operate hundreds or even thousands of servers; yet managing power consumption remains a worthwhile investment of time and resources for any company with servers. Fortunately, these 8 steps can help small and midsize organizations reduce server power consumption and its associated costs.
Step 1: Flip The Off Switch
Once upon a time, conventional wisdom held that you should never shut off servers, because restarting them caused thermal stresses in the circuit boards that could reduce their useful lives. However, on-off cycles have no significant impact on today's sturdier servers.
Consequently, if there is no need for a server to be on, turn it off at the end of the workday. Obviously, this rule doesn't apply to Web or e-mail servers, which must be available at all times, but servers used by developers don't need to be on when the developers go home. Likewise, servers supporting such back-office applications as accounting, resource planning, and relationship management do not need to be on after the people performing those functions go home. Security bonus: when a server is turned off, it can't be hacked.
Step 2: Ditch the Slackers
Take an inventory of all your servers, and then identify what business purpose each one serves. If multiple people have been making periodic changes to the network over time, you're likely to find machines that really aren't being used for anything except spare disk space. After moving any needed files to another machine, pull the plug.