Five lessons from a data centre's crisis of capacity
Hard lessons in disaster recover
By Robert Lemos | CIO US | Published: 14:43, 22 October 2009
4. Accept short-term pain for long-term gain
Management also cannot be shy of spending a little extra to save money down the road.
In order to reduce the energy requirements of his cooling system, Wescott's group evaluated waterside economisers, which use water and the outside temperature to cool racks of servers. While they estimated that using ambient cooling systems would save them money in the long run, the waterside economisers put the price of the cooling units 10 percent over budget. Wescott worked with the vendor, however, to reduce the price to within budgetary limits.
"They have paid for themselves over and over again," he says.
5. Find out what you don't know
In revamping data centres, managers also need to look for places where energy is being consumed with little or no gain. A common flaw in data centres are ghost and rogue servers.
Ghost servers are machines that have been deployed but remain unused. They still eat up energy, but do not help the data centre with its core job. A rogue server is a machine that someone has put in his office, outside of the data centre, to skirt any restrictions that may be enforced by data centre personnel.
Such servers can waste a lot of energy budget, Wescott says.
"Buildings that should have shut down their air conditioning every night were running it to keep their rogue servers going," he says.
While the data centre has only had a single unplanned outage since he started revamping the facility - due to an extremely hot day and a cooling system failure - Wescott knows that he has not finished the job, just pushed off the inevitable.
"We've calculated the wall," he says. "In five years from now, I'm going to run out of room because of storage, and I will probably run out of space in that room."