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Sprucing Up the Data Center Makes Dollars and Sense

For many years, green technology and the traditional data center rarely coexisted because energy efficiency didn’t rank very high on the priority lists of data center managers. In most cases, those managers deferred all responsibility for power and cooling to their facilities or maintenance people.

Those days are over. Energy efficiency is part of the national consciousness and everything ‘green’ is cool. In the data center, managers are getting their hands dirty with power and cooling stuff – choosing UPSs, measuring power usage and even comparing the runtimes of batteries.

The green data center has evolved in response to concerns over energy use, but it is also connected to the broader transformation that data centers are undergoing, says Tech Data’s Vice President of Advanced Infrastructure Solutions (AIS) Product Marketing Amy Belcher.

“This transformation encompasses technical innovations, operational improvements, new infrastructure designs and changes in the relationship between IT and business,” she adds. “All of which spells ‘opportunities’ for VARs.”

All VARs should note that the green data center phenomenon is booming. An August 2010 report from Pike Research reveals that investment in greener data centers will grow rapidly over the next few years, increasing from $7.5 billion in global revenue to $41.4 billion by 2015, representing 28 percent of the total data center market.

Increased Focus on Data Center Energy Costs
As the cost of energy was never a concern for IT departments in the past, there was little incentive for them to invest in energy-efficiency improvements, says Jeff Law, senior product manager, Tech Data. “However, now that data center energy costs have become more visible, the financial benefits of moving to greener technology operations are being recognized not just by data managers but by CEOs, CFOs and CIOs,” Law adds. The new, greener data center is not only more energy efficient, it is more virtualized to ensure optimal use of IT resources, space and energy.

At the heart of the new data center are exciting green products that give VARs great opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling other data center technologies, says Michelle Wangler, associate sales engineer for Liebert, Tech Data. Those products include APC’s InfraStruxure, Eaton’s three-phase UPS line and Liebert’s CRV.

APC’s InfraStruxure is a scalable and adaptable architecture for data centers that feature modular, pre-tested components. Suitable for environments of all sizes from network closets to the largest data centers, InfraStruxure integrates power, cooling, racks, security and management components as well as services. APC also provides an online design tool that enables users to make critical decisions early in the process—to determine costs, efficiency and carbon footprint by size, density, redundancy and architecture.

The Eaton E Series DX is a three-phase, double conversion UPS. The series incorporates Eaton’s Energy Saver System technology, which enables large, three-phase UPS systems to operate continually at 99 percent, without sacrificing reliability. Eaton’s Energy Saver System can detect changes in power conditions and transition to the appropriate mode quickly. Eaton UPSs can operate in standard, double-conversion, high alert or storm detection mode to provide flexible, user-controlled functionality on demand.

The Liebert CRV is a rack-sized, precision cooling unit that cools rows of rack equipment of all heat densities. It continually adjusts to changing operating conditions based on real-time temperature and humidity readings, delivering energy-efficient, effective cooling close to the heat source. The unit is available as a stand-alone, air-cooled or water/glycol cooling system or as a chilled-water configuration integrated directly into the building’s existing chilled-water system.

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Tech Data Offers Five Simple, Green Strategies VARs Can Use with SMBs

Ensure the Data Center is Properly Sealed
Recommend that SMBs use a vapor seal—which is fairly inexpensive—as it will control relative humidity, reducing unnecessary humidification and dehumidification.

Optimize the Air Flow
The goal is to move the maximum amount of heat away from the equipment by using the minimum amount of energy. Optimizing air flow involves evaluating the best placement of racks, air conditioners and cables.

Leverage Economizers
Economizers allow outside air to cool the data center during the coldest months, providing virtually free cooling. There are two kinds of economizers: air-side ones and fluid-side ones. Choosing the right one depends on the climate as well as a client’s performance expectations and preference.

Introduce Greener Technologies
Explain the benefits of new technologies such as four-step compressor unloading. This technology works by shutting off the flow of refrigerant to some of the cylinders within a system, thereby minimizing the need to cycle compressors on and off to control capacity.

Bring Cooling Closer to the Heat
Supplemental cooling systems---such as a pumped refrigerant into modules placed directly above or alongside high-density racks—bring cooling closer to the source of heat, reducing the amount of energy required for air movement.

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‘Green’ Advice from Tech Data: Tell ‘em to Go Virtual

Virtualization should be top of mind for all VARs trying to make their clients’ data centers as green as possible. Why? Well, because it’s hotly in demand, a great foot in the door to selling other solutions and potentially lucrative.

VARs should encourage their SMB clients to virtualize as much as possible–especially on x86 servers, says Tech Data’s Vice President and General Manager of AIS Chuck Bartlett.

“The average x86 server is typically under-used but requires a high degree of power to run,” he adds. “If SMBs make those servers work more, they can cut the energy consumption of their data centers and reduce floor space, boosting their overall data center efficiency.”

Research from VMware reveals that for every dollar VARs make by selling virtual servers they get $15 in drag from other products and services. For example, by consolidating five of your customer’s servers into one larger server with a Virtual Machine (VM) layer, you can add SAN or NAS virtual storage to give them unlimited capacity. In addition, such a sale paves the way for a VAR to provide pay-for-use remote managed data monitoring and shared storage that you house for them.

Research firm Gartner estimates that approximately 90 percent of the server market is composed of x86 architecture servers.

However, roughly 80 to 90 percent of the x86 computing capacity is unused at any time, based on a traditional model of one application per server.

Most IT organizations approach server virtualization as a cost-saving measure and find that virtualization does indeed save them money, notes Gartner.

However, organizations that have a mature server virtualization deployment in place are leveraging virtualization for much more: faster deployments, reduced downtime, disaster recovery, variable usage accounting and usage chargeback, holistic capacity planning and more.

Gartner estimates that 1.2 million workloads run in VMware virtual machines, which represents an aggregate power savings of about 8.5 billion kWh—more electricity than is consumed annually in New England for heating, ventilation and cooling.

“Virtualization is a tremendous opportunity for VARs,” says Bartlett. “Moving to or even considering a virtual data center can be intimidating for some SMBs, but it doesn’t have to be. Tech Data offers a plethora of solutions and advice.

VARs can gain access to key data center vendors through a 24/7 virtual environment. They can visit with vendors focused on virtualization, servers, storage, networking, and power and cooling. In addition, they’ll get exclusive invites to virtual summits and webinars throughout the year, as well as receive informative newsletters.

Contact or visit the Data Center Virtual Community at and be a part of the future.

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