Camfil Software

Reducing The Big Costs Of Big Data

9 minutes to read

Camfil data center customers have reported annual energy savings in the six-figure range.

In the industrial age, companies built warehouses. They needed ever more space to store the results of their massive product manufacturing operations. In today’s information age, companies build data centers. The idea is basically the same, it’s just that the product and storage facility have evolved. Information is the product, and data centers are the warehouses where the product is stored.

Everything Is On The Internet

There is very little that hasn’t been pushed onto the Internet somehow. Unfathomable amounts of information and communication zip through wires and bounce between cellular towers and satellites, all to bring us the instant gratification that we’ve become so accustomed to. The network is vast, and its storage needs are mind-boggling.

Big Data Requires Big Storage

It is estimated that there are over 300 million data centers in the U.S. alone. Some may not be much bigger than a storage closet, housing just a few computers to keep a small business running. Others sprawl out, covering millions of square feet, providing a home for thousands of high tech machines that never power down.

Just imagine how much data needs to be stored, and instantly accessible, to keep a company like FedEx running, with all of the packages they track and deliver, worldwide, in just one day. Then think about how many other companies exist that require this type of data storage and retrieval — Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc. It is data centers that make all of this possible.

Keeping It Clean And Cool

In order for data centers to function and perform at optimal levels, there are strict environmental conditions that must be maintained. The two biggest enemies of all data centers, large and small, are heat and dust. High temperatures and dust particles in the air cannot only cause performance problems, they can cause complete failure of computer parts and systems.

We’ve all had enough basic experience with personal computers to understand that cleanliness and heat can have a big impact on their performance. Think about how hot the bottom of your laptop sometimes gets when it’s sitting on your lap, and imagine what that kind of heat generation would add up to in a room with one thousand, or even one hundred thousand, computers running. Keeping free of dust and eliminating heat from data center rooms is an absolute top priority. Failure to do either means (a possibly catastrophic) failure of the systems housed within the data center.

Big Data Means Big Power

The only thing that might be more important than air filtration and cooling in a data center environment is making sure the electricity never runs out. Between the computers themselves and the air conditioning equipment needed to maintain the environment, data centers use a massive amount of power.

Estimates say that approximately 2% of all the power consumed in the U.S. is used by data centers, with an astounding 32% of that being drawn by their air conditioning systems.

All Up In The Air

Most computer systems built today are already as power-saving friendly as they can be. Moving parts are constantly being reduced, and unused peripherals are shut down until they’re needed again, keeping power usage at a minimum. This means that the only viable way for a data center to cut down on power usage, and costs, is to work with their air conditioning systems. They’re obviously not going to start turning off computers.

With more than 30% of power consumption going to the air conditioning systems, adjustments here can make a big difference in performance and costs. Of course, having systems installed that are as energy efficient as possible is a big step, but there is another small, and not so obvious, adjustment that can be made to achieve big results.

Small Parts Have Big Effects

Air filters installed in the A/C systems are somewhat of a double-edged sword. They are necessary to filter dust particles from the air, but they also inhibit the airflow, creating more work for fans in the system, ultimately driving power costs up and efficiency down.

Poor quality and badly maintained air filters in a data center ventilation system can cause as much as a 30% variance in the efficiency of the entire system. It really is simple. If it’s hard for the system to push air through the filters because they are improperly constructed, or overused and clogged, the system will consume more power and take longer to achieve the same result as a system running with high quality, clean filters.

By choosing filters that are properly made for the environment and system in use, and making sure they are properly changed and maintained, a data center can cut down on a significant portion of their power usage and, ultimately, operating costs. It’s one of the simplest and easiest changes to make, and it can produce real and measurable benefits.

Camfil offers a variety of air filtration solutions that will meet the needs of any data center, large or small. Both medium and high efficiency air filters are available, with the ability to filter out particles down to the sub-micron particle level.

All air filter products have a 5-Star Energy Cost Index (ECI) Rating — the highest rating available. The filters also offer the longest life and lowest average pressure drop over the life of the filter, guaranteed.

Camfil air filters can reduce energy expenditures by as much as 40% when compared to competitive products. Illustrating the tremendous benefits that can be achieved by simply choosing the right air filters, some Camfil data center customers have reported annual energy savings in the six-figure range.