How You Work with
Data centers are filled with sleek, sophisticated technol- ogy designed by sharp minds to operate smoothly and con- sistently. The facilities that
house these centers should be run with
the same level of smarts.
to it, especially if they don’t see the power bill.”
Steve Ryan, program lead for data center and IT
efficiency outreach at EPA’s ENERGY STAR program,
views collaboration between IT and FM as essential.
“If those groups don’t combine forces, the efficiency
measures won’t be implemented in the data center.
They have to work together to reap the benefits of
reducing the operating budget,” says Ryan.
His associate, Robert Huang, senior associate
at consulting firm Cadmus, agrees that strained or
nonexistent communication between groups can
be a huge obstacle for both parties, but sees ways
to work around it. Rather than pointing fingers, the
groups need to recognize their lack of communication and address it proactively.
“We had a situation where monitoring turned
out to be very important for this relationship. The
Don’t let common obstacles and energy-sucking practices get in the way of
your plan to reduce energy and cut costs. Recognize the challenges that block
efficiency in data centers and outthink them.
Obstacles to Efficiency
While outdated servers or airflow problems might seem like the most obvious culprits, inefficiency in data centers can often be blamed on the relationship between facilities and IT departments. Lack of communication and split
incentives among stakeholders can thwart efficiency, turning what should be a
sounding board into a brick wall.
“The biggest problem I see is resistance to change,” says David Seger, principal
mechanical technologist at Englewood, CO-based CH2M Hill/IDC Architects.
“Facility managers can propose changes, like increasing air temperatures, that
might be able to improve energy efficiency, but the IT people may not be as open
Managing energy costs in data centers
requires coordination between FM and IT
BY JENNA AKER