The Raritan Blog

Idle Server; What Does This Mean For Your Data Center?

Jessica Ciesla
July 2, 2019

In theory, a data center should be a well-orchestrated entity where a certain technological harmony is achieved. Unfortunately, much like a seven-year-old learning to play Frère Jacques on their new recorder, data centers can easily become a disconcerted mess of idle servers. According to a recent survey by the Uptime Institute, approximately 30 percent of global data center servers are either underutilized or completely idle. To move beyond Frère Jacques to a beautiful symphony, data center managers must first identify why idle servers exist.

What Is An Idle or Hung Server?

An idle server is practically comatose. Idle or hung servers are not delivering information or computing services. To be clear, an idle server is not to be confused with a server that is experiencing downtime. As a rule of thumb, if the server hasn't relayed information or computing services within the last six months, then it should be considered idle. 

Why Are Idle Servers Troublesome?

Idle servers are troublesome for the simple fact that they are a) not efficient and b) expensive. Take for example a non ENERGY STAR® five-year-old server that is idle. This server can consume an impressive 175 watts when it is idle. Let's extrapolate this problem by saying that 10 percent of the servers in a 1,000-server data center are idle. Let's also assume that the electricity cost is $0.15/kwh, and that each idle server is using 175 watts. Using these figures, we can estimate that this hypothetical data center is losing $23,000 paying for unnecessary idle servers. 

How Do You Locate And Remediate Idle Servers?

Locating and correcting an idle server is made easier when you use a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution. The DCIM solution will give you real-time insights into your data center's assets. From owners to location, application information to power utilization trends, the DCIM puts all of the latter information into a secure and searchable database. By using the DCIM you can easily identify where you have an idle server.

An Intelligent PDU can help you to monitor your previously idle servers. Through remote power on / off capabilities and real-time data insights, intelligent PDUs give you the insights that you need to gain complete control of your power usage, and thus create a more energy and cost-efficient IT environment. 

Raritan Can Help You Avoid Costly Idle Servers 

According to a recent Stanford University study, one out of three servers might be hung or idle in your data center at any given point. To help you avoid the costs associated with idle servers, the Raritan team is here to provide you with trusted DCIM and Intelligent PDU solutions. Together, a DCIM and Intelligent PDU can give you the real-time insights that you need to more efficiently identify idle servers, adjust power consumption needs, power off idle servers, and create an optimized IT environment.

To learn more about how you can avoid the costly idle server challenge, check out our website here