Huge Gains in Efficiency for Data Centers, According to New Report

Last week, a study released by Northwestern University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Koomey Analytics noted that, despite a six-fold increase in compute, the Data Center industry’s power demands rose just six percent. There’s no doubt as to what has contributed to this welcome news: increased attention to energy efficient designs in new Data Centers and to energy-efficiency retrofits for legacy Data Centers. Additionally, over the last fifteen years or so, it has been impossible to attend an industry event without the topic of energy on the agenda, as well as opportunities for Data Center operators to share best practices with each other.

Still More Progress to Be Made

Even with this great news, the study’s lead author Eric Masanet said in a Data Center Dynamics article, “While the historical efficiency progress made by Data Centers is remarkable, our findings do not mean that the IT industry and policymakers can rest on their laurels. We think there is enough remaining efficiency potential to last several more years. But ever-growing demand for data means that everyone – including policymakers, Data Center operators, equipment manufacturers, and data consumers – must intensify efforts to avoid a possible sharp rise in energy use later this decade.”

Recommendations for Moving Forward

The study includes a number of suggestions for moving forward and how the industry can maintain its efficiency:

  • Extend the life of current efficiency trends by strengthening IT energy standards such as ENERGY STAR, providing financial incentives, and disseminating best energy efficiency practices
  • Increase R&D investments in next-generation computing, storage, and heat removal technologies to mitigate future energy use, while incentivizing renewable energy procurement to mitigate carbon emissions in parallel
  • Invest in data collection, modeling, and monitoring activities to eliminate blind spots and enable more robust Data Center energy policy decisions

If you’re looking for new Data Center options, or have a current facility that could benefit from a retrofit, please reach out to one of the professionals at Data Specialties Inc. To read the full study, visit Science Magazine.