Data Center Efficiency: Why It Matters More Than You Think

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By: Becky Lawlor|

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Here’s a frightening statistic: As many as 30 percent of data center servers are “zombies,” according to a study by the Anthesis Group and Stanford University. Like the of zombies in horror movies, data centers are filled with servers that are, more or less, undead — no longer doing anything useful but still running.

If these data center zombies don’t scare you, they should. Finding and eliminating them will lead to increased data center efficiency, which can create big savings and free up resources for new business applications.

The High Cost of Zombie Servers

Dealing with comatose servers is a challenge, especially given the recent increase in line-of-business managers who can add applications for their own purposes but then move on without decommissioning these applications. Under these circumstances, it can be tough for data center managers to identify and recommission these servers. But although the task might seem as daunting as fending off a zombie attack, doing nothing may be even more costly in the long run.

According to InformationWeek, an increase in data center efficiency could result in millions of dollars in savings while avoiding additional big-ticket costs, such as the need to build a new facility when a data center that keeps expanding rather than consolidating its footprint runs out of space. It’s also important to note that the costs data centers incur from zombie servers aren’t just from higher energy bills: Server licenses and maintenance expenses also contribute to the cost of keeping a zombie server alive.

Finally, there’s the opportunity cost of leaving inactive servers running. The savings that come from eliminating zombie servers can go toward investing in new systems to create a more modern, greener data center with new applications that will help the business innovate.

Improve Data Center Efficiency

To identify and eliminate zombie servers, IT teams should conduct an audit of their data center to identify where the undead are lurking. There are tools available that can monitor every server and identify those that are inactive, using criteria such as total power consumption and power fluctuation levels. Once servers are identified as possible zombies, IT staff can evaluate the next steps and take a holistic approach to optimizing the data center, which may involve server reprovisioning, consolidation or virtualization.

Rooting the walking dead out of your data center won’t happen overnight, but having a vision of success is the first step in improving data center efficiency.

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About The Author

Becky Lawlor

Freelance Writer

Becky Lawlor is a freelance technology writer. She develops and writes content on topics such as mobility, cloud services, unified communications, managed services and more.

Articles by Becky Lawlor
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