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Server Rack Strategies for Energy Efficient Data Centers

Many data centers historically didn’t put much more thought into their deployment of server racks beyond basic functionality, air flow, and the upfront costs of the rack itself. These days, the widespread adoption of hi-density applications are causing major hot spot concerns and capacity issues. These factors, along with the high costs of energy, require a sound understanding of how closely tied your server rack deployment is to overall server room and data center efficiency strategy.


IDC (International Data Corporation) estimates for every $1.00 spent on new data center hardware, an additional $0.50 is spent on power and cooling. Keeping operating costs down is a key concern of all CTOs and Data Center Managers. The biggest energy costs in running a data center is in cooling, so having a sound server rack strategy is critical to your overall data center energy consumption and operating costs. Over the coming years, most medium to larger organizations will be adopting virtualization and higher density servers. As energy costs continue to rise and as your data center grows and expands, companies will look to their facilities and data center managers for sound strategies on how best to address those rising energy costs.


In a survey conducted by the Uptime Institute, enterprise data center managers responded that 39% of them expected that their data centers would run out of cooling capacity in the next 12-24 months and 21% claimed they would run out of cooling capacity in 12-60 months. The power required to cool IT equipment in your data center far exceeds the power required to run that equipment and because of this, overall power in the data center is fast reaching capacity. In the same Uptime survey, 42% of these data center managers expected to run out of power capacity within 12-24 months and another 23% claimed that they would run out of power capacity in 24-60 months. Greater attention to energy efficiency and consumption is critical.


The server enclosure is a staple of the data center. Despite many different manufacturers, the makeup of a server enclosure remains consistent: folded and welded steel, configured to secure servers, switches, and connectivity- the lifeblood of any on-demand organization. The enclosure comes in a variety of dimensions (height x width x depth) and is often customizable to a user’s individual needs with provisions for cable management and PDU installation. For common 42U server rack dimensions, see:


At the simplest level, the server enclosure is a well-engineered box. Perhaps no accessory in the data center is more important because of the equipment it holds and the data it safeguards. Though it consumes no electricity and contains no moving parts, the enclosure orientation has a significant impact on a data center’s ability to become an energy efficient enterprise.





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