Opinion

Data Centre manager learns to be less reliant on CRAC

chris Smith on365.jpgThis is Chris Smith, a man who has seen what CRAC can do to an operations manager's budget. Now he's doing everything he can in the war on CRAC. 

Many data centre managers are reliant on CRAC in order to function. Chris Smith, sales and marketing director at on365, has some tips on weaning yourself off this expensive, energy sapping habit.

From a large co-location server hosting company, located somewhere within the M25, he offers his tips on how to come clean on energy.

Smith's tough love regime includes:
An energy monitoring and server rack reconfiguration enabling:

  • Stable temperatures maintained within the client's existing SLA.
  • Only six out of the original nine Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units being retained to maintain stable air and rack temperatures after the project completed.

It wasn't easy and there were challenges at first.

"Air from the cooling aisle floor grills was mixing with the hot air from the servers, meaning that on reaching the air conditioning units, the air temperature was significantly higher than the CRAC unit was designed to cope with, using extra power to support this," he says. There was a lot of peer pressure too, which Smith had to take into consideration. The company was also under pressure to conform to increasing compliance, in particular the Carbon Reduction Commitment.

Smith's solution provided the client with environmental monitoring capabilities throughout its data centre and the complete separation of the cold aisle to prevent the hot and cold air mixing.

But you cannot expect overnight success. Smith claims the company will see a return on investment in less than two years.

It will be worth it when it comes, however. Smith predicts proven savings of over 15 per cent of the initial 151kW IT load every year and over 15 per cent of the ACU power demand for the same load. Which could be a further five to eight per cent this year.

Provided, of course, the patient sticks to the programme and lapse into bad habits. It sounds like this client was in a bad place, but thank goodness for oN365 which has taken the client in and is providing care.

This was first published in January 2011

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