SAN Power Usage In Data Center Applications


Datacenter electricity is a crucial component. Like everything else that uses energy, data centers rely on it for almost everything. There is no data center if there is no power.

To ensure that everything in the data center operates smoothly, facility managers must ensure that crucial equipment has a continual source of new, uninterrupted electricity while keeping the monthly utility expenses low.

Power Infrastructure in a Data Center

Usage impact on data center electricity needs: A system dynamic forecasting model - ScienceDirect

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The majority of data centers derive their principal power from the local grid. The plant will then use one or more transformers to take in power while guaranteeing that the voltage and kind of power coming in are correct.

Some data centers use on-site electrical generation equipment, such as stand-alone generators or alternative energy sources like solar photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, to augment their energy from the grid or fully eliminate the need for it.

The energy is subsequently distributed to Main Circuit Board (MDBs).

A UPS helps to “clean up” the energy rushing through it by ensuring that problems like surges don’t affect equipment, but it also supplies power to a variety of breakers. In a typical data center, no more than 7 – 8 servers are linked to a single breaker; however, this number varies depending on the breaker’s capacity and the server’s efficiency.

In a power failure or other problem, UPS systems can also function as an initial backup. A basic UPS can power servers and switches for up to 5 minutes, giving you ample time to start a backup generator in a power loss or other difficulty with the larger system.

In data centers, backup power is essential.

Most data centers include a backup source of power on-site or near to maintain uninterrupted uptime and avoid disruptions as much as feasible. Typically, backup power is provided by a fuel generator powered by petrol or diesel.

What is meant by Energy Consumption of a Data Center?

Optimizing energy consumption for data centers - ScienceDirect

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Managers must spend a lot of electricity to keep data centers running continually and without interruption. According to one estimate, the data center business consumes more than 90 billion kWh of energy each year, and this is roughly similar to the output of 34 coal-fired power units.

Data centers consume 3% of all electricity consumed globally, and there is much more power in these 416 terawatts.

There are several reasons why energy consumption in data centers is so high – and continues to rise. Servers and other important pieces of IT equipment and other supporting equipment require more energy to operate. Lights, cooling systems, screens, humidifiers, and other electrical devices all use electricity, leading to higher energy expenses.

Efficiency in Power Consumption (PUE)

The PUE Metric

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A Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) rating evaluates how much electricity is used on servers vs. non-equipment in a data center. A score of 1 indicates that every bit of energy in a data center is directed solely toward servers, while a score of 2 indicates that ancillary equipment consumes just as much.

According to the Uptime Institute’s most recent survey, a data center’s average PUE is 1.58. Between 2007 (when this was 2.5) and 2013, this statistic progressively fell. The typical PUE for just a Google data center is 1.12, but for the last three months of 2018, its Oklahoma facility had a rating of just 1.08.

What Is the Power Consumption of a Server Rack?

The Problem of Power Consumption in Servers

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According to the Uptime Institute’s newest report, one out of every five racks has a concentration of 30 kilowatt-hours (kW) or above, showing that high-density computing is becoming more prevalent. The current rack density for half of the respondents was around 10 and 29 kW. The majority of servers are configured on a per-server basis.

Efficiency in Power Consumption (PUE)

Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) is a poor data center metric - GreenMonk: the blog

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Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) rating evaluates how much electricity is used on servers vs. non-equipment in a data center. A score of 1 indicates that every iota of power in a data center is directed solely toward servers. In contrast, a score of 2 indicates that ancillary equipment consumes the same electricity as data centers and other IT components.

Data centers are vital for storing and processing massive amounts of data, and power consumption plays a significant role in their operations. Within data centers, Storage Area Networks (SANs) are critical components that require careful attention to power usage. In this article, we will explore various aspects of SAN power usage in data center applications, including SAN power efficiency, optimizing performance while minimizing power usage, power monitoring and management, power redundancy and backup solutions, energy-efficient SAN cooling strategies, Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) in SAN data centers, SAN power usage in virtualized environments, renewable energy integration, and power efficiency standards and best practices for SAN deployments.

SAN Power Efficiency: Reducing Energy Consumption:

SAN power efficiency focuses on reducing energy consumption without compromising performance. This involves deploying energy-efficient SAN components, such as power-efficient disk drives and controllers. It also entails implementing power management features, such as disk spin-down and intelligent power management algorithms, to minimize power usage during periods of low activity. By optimizing power efficiency, data centers can reduce operational costs and environmental impact.

Optimizing SAN Performance while Minimizing Power Usage:

Achieving optimal SAN performance while minimizing power usage requires a balanced approach. It involves using performance tuning techniques to maximize data throughput and minimize latency, which can result in more efficient power usage. Technologies such as storage tiering and data caching help improve performance while reducing power consumption by intelligently allocating resources based on workload requirements.

Power Monitoring and Management in SAN Environments:

Power monitoring and management tools are essential for tracking and controlling power usage in SAN environments. These tools provide insights into power consumption patterns, allowing data center administrators to identify power-hungry components and optimize power distribution. Real-time power monitoring helps in load balancing and resource allocation, ensuring efficient power usage across the SAN infrastructure.

SAN Power Redundancy and Backup Solutions:

To maintain high availability and prevent data loss, SANs employ power redundancy and backup solutions. Redundant power supplies and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems ensure continuous operation even during power outages. Backup power solutions, such as backup generators, provide further protection and help sustain SAN functionality during extended power disruptions.

Energy-Efficient SAN Cooling Strategies:

Cooling data centers is a significant contributor to overall power consumption. Implementing energy-efficient SAN cooling strategies, such as hot and cold aisle containment, efficient airflow management, and advanced cooling technologies like liquid cooling, helps optimize cooling efficiency while reducing power requirements. Proper temperature and humidity controls ensure optimal performance and equipment longevity.

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) in SAN Data Centers:

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is a widely-used metric to evaluate the energy efficiency of data centers. It measures the ratio of total facility power consumption to the power consumed by IT equipment, including SANs. By monitoring and optimizing PUE, data center operators can identify areas of improvement, implement energy-saving measures, and track the impact of their efforts to reduce power usage in SAN deployments.

SAN Power Usage in Virtualized Environments:

Virtualized environments leverage SAN technology to provide efficient storage for virtual machines (VMs). SAN power usage in virtualized environments can be optimized through techniques such as thin provisioning, deduplication, and storage virtualization. These techniques reduce the physical storage footprint and improve resource utilization, resulting in lower power requirements for SAN infrastructure.

Renewable Energy Integration in SAN Data Centers:

To achieve sustainability, data centers are increasingly integrating renewable energy sources into their power infrastructure. SAN data centers can leverage renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, to reduce their carbon footprint and reliance on non-renewable resources. Integration of renewable energy sources requires careful planning and coordination to ensure a consistent and reliable power supply for SAN operations.

FAQs on SAN Power Usage in Data Center Applications

What is SAN (Storage Area Network) and why is it important in data centers?

SAN is a specialized high-speed network that connects servers to storage devices, providing block-level storage access. It’s crucial in data centers as it allows for centralized storage management, data sharing, and scalability, enhancing performance and reliability.

How does SAN power usage compare to traditional storage solutions?

SAN typically consumes more power than direct-attached storage (DAS) due to additional networking equipment like switches and routers. However, it can be more power-efficient in terms of storage utilization and scalability, leading to overall energy savings in larger deployments.

What factors influence power consumption in a SAN environment?

Key factors include the number and type of storage devices, networking equipment, utilization levels, redundancy configurations, cooling systems, and environmental conditions in the data center.

Are there ways to optimize SAN power usage?

Yes, several strategies can help minimize power consumption:

    • Consolidation: Reducing the number of physical storage devices through virtualization and thin provisioning.
    • Efficient Hardware Selection: Choosing energy-efficient storage arrays, switches, and other components.
    • Power Management Features: Utilizing power-saving features available in SAN devices, such as spinning down idle disks or adjusting fan speeds.
    • Temperature Control: Optimizing cooling systems to maintain optimal temperature levels without overcooling, which can waste energy.
    • Workload Management: Balancing workloads across storage devices to avoid overloading and unnecessary power consumption.

How does SAN power usage impact overall data center operations?

High power consumption in SAN environments can lead to increased operating costs, greater cooling requirements, and environmental concerns such as carbon emissions. However, efficient SAN design and management can mitigate these impacts, contributing to overall data center efficiency and sustainability.

What are the trends in SAN power efficiency?

The industry is continually evolving to develop more energy-efficient SAN solutions. Trends include the adoption of solid-state drives (SSDs) for lower power consumption, advancements in storage virtualization and deduplication techniques to optimize resource utilization, and the integration of power management features into SAN hardware and software.

How do I calculate the power usage of my SAN infrastructure?

Power usage can be calculated by summing the power consumption of all components in the SAN, including storage arrays, switches, routers, and associated cooling systems. Manufacturers typically provide power consumption ratings for their devices, which can be used for estimation.

Are there regulatory requirements or standards regarding SAN power usage?

While there are no specific regulations governing SAN power consumption, data centers may need to comply with energy efficiency standards such as those outlined by organizations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the European Union’s Code of Conduct for Data Centres. Compliance with these standards can promote energy efficiency and sustainability practices in SAN deployments.

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