Manager of the Enterprise Technical Specialist team in EMEA, for Intel.
Intel is very serious about power consumption. We are looking at this issue from several aspects. Some of these are more high level, and will address the issue over the long term, others address the issue straight away and still others come from collaboration with independent software vendors (ISV's).
Intel's foundation for its policy on addressing data centre energy efficiency is our continued pursuit of the tick-tock cadence model. A Tick delivers a new processor technology and a Tock is an entirely new microarchitecture. Continued focus on microprocessor innovation assures that processor performance will continue to improve, providing increased processing per watt of power consumed.
Tick tock also allows us to drive increased energy efficiency in our micro architecture design, as most recently evidenced by the 50% average lower server idle power in Intel® Xeon® 5500 processor series based systems, compared to the previous generation.
One energy efficiency feature - Intel® Intelligent Power Technology - puts power management in all platform components, including the processor, chipset, and memory. This enables operating systems to put processor power and memory into the lowest available states needed to support current workloads without compromising performance, and allows individual cores to be idled independent of the others.
With these new advantages, customers are seeing incredible payback from the deployment of new servers in replacement of servers four years old (as little as 9 months) with much of this savings coming from decreased energy bills. Intel’s server refresh ROI tool helps determine payback periods for specific environments. Through Intel innovation, we continue to work with ISV’s to increase the scalability of virtualised environments which will allow higher virtualisation ratios per server and will continue to free up additional power budget.
Intel is also working on technologies like server power capping, featuring technologies like Intel® Intelligent Power Node Manager and Intel® Data Center Manager. IT managers are able to set very sophisticated policies to control power use within a single system, at the rack level, or even manage the entire datacentre. These policies allow a higher rack density level based on regulating the power usage of Intel servers.
Further information and a whitepaper describing a proof of concept study at BMW can be found here
All good, common sense
Having gone through much of the process described, I can say that the comments are all good. OK, so we're definitely in the 'small' category with three racks and about 10kW of load, but the process is the same.
A year ago, we had an unmanaged and unmanagable setup - multiple small UPSs (all on their limit), no proper power system, no cable management, and what could best be described as a mess. We now have an expanded server room, with 3 new 47U racks, a single large modular UPS, and proper power distribution and network cable management. We get load data from the UPS, so we have graphs of that, plus graphs of air temperatures (we use just airflow for cooling).
ONe thing not mentioned, servers do indeed increase their power consumption according to environmental conditions. Overall, our power consumption varies by around 5% with inlet air temperature once it goes above about 20˚C. Since not all the servers actually have any power management (eg variable fan speeds), I suspect that some of the servers vary their loads by more than 5%.
The big challenge now is persuading the boss that we do need to upgrade the ventilation/cooling system - we only just managed last June, and at times we had servers raising over-temp alarms. I suspect that now it's cooled down, the boss will decide we don't need to do anything, and it will be too late when it turns hot again.