Greening the data center : the simplest thing you can do …

Do you know what all the servers in your data center are doing? According to this article, most don’t and it costs.

With all the discussion about the merits and application of various green data center techniques (free air cooling, DC power, etc), sometimes the simplest things get lost in the mix. Getting rid of zombie servers is one of the easiest things to accomplish (if you’re angling for great PUE or EUE numbers, if you care about the bottom line, they need to go!).

What is a zombie server? Basically it’s a server that consumes resources without producing a significant amount of useful work. Remember, the true measure of data center efficiency is energy consumed vs useful work out.

So, where do zombie servers come from? Well, since we’re approaching Halloween, you might expect the server graveyard. In reality, zombie servers can be the result of retiring obsolete applications, hot spares that really have no need to be hot (or even spare), rogue servers, or just plain poor utilization planning. Note too that zombie servers can also lead to other zombie equipment such as NASs or now unused networking equipment, all of which consumes space and power in the data center.

So, how do you de-zombie-fy? You must get an accurate picture of the utilization of every piece of equipment in the data center. Start with pulling the plug on the complete zombies. Next, combine functions to decrease the amount of running equipment required. I know that people can have an emotional attachment to their servers, but this will provide a nice bump for the bottom line without impacting the users at all.

Do your part and boot the zombie freeloaders out of your data center today!

Vern, SwiftWater Telecom

server co-location and data center


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