Data Centre Energy Efficiency
– Now a Prerequisite for South Africa
Data centre power management is fast becoming a key differentiator in the data centre market. Against the backdrop of power outages and the risk of continued future load shedding, efficient power management and utilising renewable energy are now essential says Brendan Dysel, Head of Infrastructure Management at Teraco.
“With an influx of international organisations deploying in South Africa, green and renewable energies are deemed the norm. Finding greener designs to reduce mechanical energy is an absolute prerequisite in today’s South African data centre designs. With the proposed National Energy Regulator (NERSA) power increases over the next three years, these green designs will escalate the ROI of the capital equipment and provide data centre operators with better efficiencies, thus reducing the burden on clients with increased electricity prices,” says Dysel.
Data Centre & Power Uptime
In this highly connected world, the uptime of applications is paramount to the functioning of any enterprise.
Data centres are a real solution to an unreliable power supply as colocation providers will provide SLA guarantees linked to the services offered. Data centres deploy resilient power infrastructure that allows the facility to continue operating in the absence of utility power, thereby providing environments suitable for crucial applications requiring 100% uptime. World-class data centre facility operators provide uptime guarantees of 99.999%, which equates to some 5min, 15 seconds of allowable downtime per year.
South African Data Centre Landscape
He adds that issues of power uncertainty coupled with the entrance of international organisations have led to a noticeable shift in the South African data centre landscape over the past two years. “Data centre designs have also moved towards accommodating hyperscale clients, but remaining flexible enough, however, to still cater to the retail co-location environment.
The hyperscale trend is progressing in South Africa. Read more about Hyperscale Key Benefits and Risks.
With ongoing load shedding, voltage fluctuations are becoming more frequent and can have disastrous effects on legacy data centre builds, specifically on the refrigerant cooling systems in terms of predicted life spans.” In addition to greener and more efficient energy solutions, data centre power management provides a useful tool to understand where losses are generated within the system allowing for better future designs and power optimisation to reduce losses linked to IT usage rather than end-state design parameters.
Dysel says this ultimately provides vendor-neutral co-location providers with a toolset to monitor and manage power usage and losses within the electrical and mechanical facility as co-location providers do not have control over clients’ IT environment, which is one of several advantages of vendor-neutral data centres.
“The advantage of a true vendor-neutral data centre is that the provider is purely focused on critical engineering infrastructure, physical security and interconnections between clients and the ecosystem. This enables dedicated skill sets to focus on the heart of the data centre, ensuring excellent service and quality in maintaining the uptime and SLAs,” says Deysel.
Read more about 9 Data Centre Trends Driving Digital Transformation in Africa.
Current Infrastructure Cost
The biggest unknown surprisingly is power usage. Hybrid cloud is now widely accepted as the predominant trend in cloud deployments. Moving from an on-premise data centre to an outsourced/cloud architecture means knowing how much power is currently being used in the legacy kit, which unfortunately has also been managed and monitored in a legacy way.
Most companies have no idea exactly how much power they are using in the IT systems and often reflect the plated power value as the expected draw. This plate value is in fact the maximum start-up load and overstates the normal operating load by over 50%. Being able to understand what power costs are currently being incurred and how these will reduce in new private cloud deployments are an important part of infrastructure cost analysis.
With new technology comes higher power densities, which in effect means less equipment space in data centre racks. The relationship of power to space is an important factor in understanding the costs of future deployments. The cloud is only as good as the network and the cost of connectivity should be assessed to determine legacy in addition to an infrastructure cost audit, the cost of being left behind in a Jurassic digital era has massive implications. The cost of not being able to reinvent one’s business along digital lines can be massively costly.
Find out more about Teraco Cape Town 2 (CT2) new 30MW hyperscale data centre facility.