The Raritan Blog

Power Management challenges in the federal government

Anthony Bonaventura
November 10, 2010

The federal government has hundreds of data centers that are full of network equipment, cooling apparatus, servers and storage appliances. These data centers account for approximately 10% of the total electricity used by all data centers in the United States. This equates to approximately $700 million in electricity costs per year - enough power to support over 600,000 average households in the United States for a year.

Given the fact that the estimates above are approximations, these figures boldly illustrate the enormous energy consumption in federal data centers and the need for powerful and effective energy management planning and strategies.

Executive Order 13514 “mandates that agencies implement best practices for energy efficient management of federal data centers and servers.” These best practices include metering and measuring IT equipment to determine cost savings derived from energy improvements in the data center. The installation of these metering and measurement tools coupled with a method to collect this data so a systems performance over time can be monitored for improvement or degradation is also a best practice.

Today, there are intelligent power distribution units for data center cabinets and software available to measure and collect the power consumption data for each individual piece of IT equipment and the environmental conditions occurring around that equipment inside of each rack or cabinet in the data center. These powerful products assist greatly in helping data center managers and facilities personnel maximize the finite amount of power they have coming into their data center.