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Help Customers Save by Eliminating Idle Servers from Their Data CentersHelp Customers Save by Eliminating Idle Servers from Their Data Centers

Gain control of power use and help sustainability efforts by managing at the outlet level.

November 24, 2021

4 Min Read
Network servers in data center

By Prabhakar Muthuswamy

Raritan's Prabhakar Muthuswamy

Raritan’s Prabhakar Muthuswamy

In theory, a client’s data center should be a well-orchestrated entity where a certain technological harmony is achieved. Unfortunately, data center managers can easily lose track of servers that become idle over time.

According to a previous survey by the Uptime Institute, approximately 30% of global data center servers are either underutilized or idle. To avoid this, we must first identify why idle servers exist.

Make Sure Your Customers Know What Idle Servers Are

Idle servers, also known as hung servers, are practically comatose. These are the servers that don’t deliver information or computing services. It’s like a tenant that is utilizing your space and utilities without paying rent. This tenant must be identified, eliminated, or put back to useful work.

To be clear, an idle server isn’t to be confused with a server that is experiencing downtime. As a rule of thumb, if the server hasn’t relayed information or computing services within the last six months, then it should be considered idle.

Help Clients Save Money, Free Up Budget Dollars

Idle servers are troublesome for any company because they’re not efficient and are a budget drain. Identifying and eliminating these “freeloading servers” frees up more budget for customers. Here’s an example you can use that applies to almost every data center: a non-Energy Star five-year-old server that is idle can consume an impressive 175 watts per hour, or 0.175 kW. Let’s extrapolate this problem by saying that 10% of the servers in a 1,000-server data center are idle. Let’s also assume that the electricity cost is $0.15/kWh, and that each idle server is using 175 watts. Using these figures, we can estimate that this hypothetical data center is losing $23,000 per year (24*365 = 8,760 hours) paying for unnecessary idle servers. *Based on 2019 energy costs

Selling an intelligent power distribution unit (PDU), with the ability to meter and manage at the outlet level, helps customers monitor for idle servers. Through remote power on / off capabilities and real-time data insights, intelligent PDUs give the information that data center customers need to gain complete control of their power usage, while simultaneously reducing costs through the elimination of idle power-consuming servers.

Taking the sale one step further, rectifying an idle server is made easier when customers use a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution. The DCIM solution will give them real-time insights into their data center’s assets. From owners to location, application information to power utilization trends, the DCIM puts all of the latter information into a secure and searchable database. By using the DCIM, your customers can easily identify where they have an idle server.

Give Your Customers Insight into the Entire Data Center

Now that you have customers focused on excess power consumption and cost savings, get them interested in maximum efficiency — the top-to-bottom insights on power consumption levels at every server:

  • Through power metering they can gain vital insights into the server’s overall power usage and availability at the rack level.

  • Through outlet metering, customers can better understand how a specific server (or device) is consuming power, allowing them to identify and shut down inactive servers until they are needed.

  • Through detailed power consumption metering, customers can not only effectively monitor usage, but they can ultimately reduce their costs throughout the entire year.

Reducing energy consumption within the data center is the top of many customers’ sustainability and corporate social responsibility agendas, especially if they are to reach President Joe Biden’s climate change goals of net zero carbon emissions in the United States by 2050. You can help them avoid the costs and energy waste associated with idle servers, while enhancing their bottom line. Positioning the intelligent PDU and DCIM combination will give them real-time insights needed to identify idle servers, adjust power consumption needs, power off idle servers and create an optimized IT environment more efficiently. Selling these solutions into your customers’ data centers can provide them a significant ROI you can leverage for future product positioning.

Prabhakar Muthuswamy is senior product manager at Raritan, a brand of Legrand. He has over 15 years of experience as a data center power product leader, responsible for defining solutions that help customers achieve business-critical missions. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @Raritan on Twitter.

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