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The High Cost of In-House IT Infrastructure


Got servers? Do you know exactly how much it costs to cool and run them?

For any healthcare, enterprise IT, or other organization with 10+ racks of servers, beware:
if you’re running them yourself, you may be wasting upwards of $36,000 a year in excess power costs.

And that’s not even the worst part.

If IT is running the servers and Facilities Management is paying the electric bill, you may be wasting those tens of thousands of dollars a year without even knowing it.

Running your servers at a purpose-built data center facility could save you a lot of money in three ways:

1. Building design – Substantial efficiency differences in a facility purpose-built for cooling IT loads vs. a typical office building.

2. Containment – Purpose-built data centers with multi-tenant capabilities are aiming to be FULL. When a data center fills up, the use of containment strategies (hot aisle, cold aisle, plenum spaces) is an effective approach to energy management.

3. Electricity rates – Residential, commercial and industrial rates vary widely, with industrial rates often the lowest because of cost of service. Few residences hold 10+ racks, but many office buildings do hold that many racks and are subject to commercial service.

Involta has demonstrated experience with hot- and cold-aisle containment – it’s our business to build, manage and protect not only our customers’ equipment and data, as well as our own. Involta data centers are purpose-built facilities – located in geologic safe zones, with multiple layers of security, power and connectivity, and building construction conducive to a low Power Utilization Effectiveness ratio (PUE).

PUE is the energy used to cool and run the data center servers divided by the energy used just to run the servers. Involta measures PUE. We logged our record PUE of 1.37 at our Duluth, Minnesota facility on a beautiful October day in the “air-conditioned city”. Involta’s oldest facilities average about 1.8 as a PUE. The newest facilities in the fleet can achieve 1.5 to 1.7 PUE, depending on an ever-increasing critical load.

Office buildings and other spaces not designed as data centers, by contrast, commonly have PUEs of 2.5 to 3.0.

If you have a rack of servers in an office building closet with a PUE of 2.5, that means it takes 1.5 times as much electricity to cool the servers as it does to run them.

Involta uses containment to reduce monthly electrical usage at its facilities by about 10%. Non-data center locations with server setups may not be designed to implement containment.

Then there’s the rate differential. A commercial office building will pay a commercial utility rate. At Involta data centers, due to volume and consistency of electricity usage, we qualify for a significantly better rate.

We also work with our customers to reduce energy use through EnergyStar servers, processors with sleep modes, reduction of spinning disk, use of blanking panels in cabinets, and moving workload from “older” equipment to Involta’s managed service equipment.

Those differences add up in a big way.

“All in” refers to usage rate, riders, taxes, franchise fees, energy adjustment clause, etc. Involta qualifies for a better rate because of the level of use and the consistency of the use (like a big toaster that’s always on, our energy use is very predictable).

Consider 10 racks using a total of 25 kilowatts of electricity (continuous average). The cost amounts to the Usage x Monthly Hours x PUE x Rate.

At Involta – 25 kw x 730 hours x 1.8 x .06 c/kwh = $1,971/month

At Other – 25 kw x 730 hours x 2.5 x .11 c/kwh = $5,019/month

Cost difference: $36,600/year

Any reduction in actual energy use has a cascading effect and is good for the environment and the bottom line.

Want to know if your organization is wasting money running servers? Click on the button below to speak with one of our containment experts.

No pressure, no obligation.

Just the facts so you can make the most fiscally responsible I.T. management decisions.

Contact Involta

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