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simplifies IT transformation.

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Go ahead and kill your zombie servers

Posted in: Blog Industry Insight

In a recent piece for National Geographic, Christina Nunez takes a closer look at energy efficiency at US data centers.

She reveals that up to 30 percent of the country’s 12 million servers are actually “zombies”—a spooky term for comatose servers that continue to draw power even though they aren’t actually doing anything at all.

Think about that. Around 3.6 million servers are out there, totally unused and unseen, quietly sucking power that’s costing companies billions.

These are servers that could be yanked right out of server racks with zero impact on data center performance or uptime, because they are literally doing nothing except using electricity.

Just one part of larger problem
Nunez notes that the industry is making great strides in the facility efficiency, especially with cooling, and especially in the case of industry giants like Google, Facebook, eBay, and Microsoft.

But when it comes to the other 95 percent of the data industry, most companies are doing things the same way they did 15 years ago.

One of the reasons why is that the folks managing the data centre are not the same folks who pay the power bill. Another is that there is little incentive from the top to reduce costs. Because of this disconnect, the problem of energy waste goes unnoticed, and executives continue to pay hefty bills without questioning the costs.

The good news: there are excellent non-invasive tools to measure and improve IT efficiency, tools which are designed for even for the most risk-averse data centers.

The savings potential is enormous: “If those facilities were to cut electricity consumption by 40 percent—half of what is possible using the tools now available to improve efficiency—the electricity savings would amount to $3.8 billion and 39 billion kilowatt-hours, according to the report.”

Luckily, zombies are easy to kill
Under-utilized servers tend to stay powered up simply because no one is aware of them, and data center managers tend to be nervous about powering down equipment.

But in the case of zombies, risk-averse data centers are faced with an easy win. On top of running up the power bill, these servers contribute nothing to the performance of the data center. Quite the opposite: they needlessly strain power and cooling infrastructure, and as a result increase the chances of facility failure.

So go ahead and kill your zombies! All you need to get started is the right tools to help you drive them out in your facility.

* Read the full article: “Zombie” Servers and Inefficiency Drive Energy Waste at Data Centers

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