Back to blog

Data Center Optimization: 8 Ways to Cut Costs and Boost Efficiency

Alon Berger

Product Marketing Manager, Intel Granulate

What Is Data Center Optimization? 

Data center optimization aims to make data centers more efficient, resilient, and effective in delivering the services they are meant for. It includes aspects such as improving the physical infrastructure, the cooling and power systems, and optimizing the software and platforms used. The process involves analyzing current operations, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing strategies to enhance performance.

Primary goals of data center optimization are to minimize redundancy, improve resource utilization, and maximize output. This is achieved by using technologies and methods to streamline data center operations. After implementing these measures, ongoing monitoring is important to ensure that optimization was successful and the data center continues to operate at peak performance.

Get the Big Data Optimization Guide

Another crucial aspect of data center optimization is the focus on sustainability. With the increasing awareness about climate change and the need for green IT solutions, data centers are under pressure to minimize their energy consumption and carbon footprint. Data center optimization plays a vital role in achieving these sustainability goals by implementing energy-efficient systems and practices.

This is part of a series of articles about data center costs.

In this article:

The Need for Data Center Optimization 

Cost Savings and Efficiency

The rising cost of data center operations is a significant concern for businesses. From the initial investment in infrastructure to the ongoing costs of maintenance, power, and cooling, running a data center is a huge investment. Data center optimization can help reduce these costs significantly. By improving the efficiency of the data center, you can maximize the utilization of resources and get more value for your investment.

Additionally, an optimized data center can lead to improved efficiency in terms of processing speed, service delivery, and system reliability. It can help reduce downtime, enhance system performance, and ensure that the data center is capable of meeting the increasing demands of the business.

Environmental Concerns and Sustainability

With the growing concern about climate change and increasing scrutiny of the environmental impact of data centers, sustainability has become a critical aspect of data center operations. Data center optimization can help address these concerns by implementing energy-efficient practices and technologies.

An optimized data center not only reduces energy consumption but also minimizes the emission of greenhouse gasses. It can also lead to a reduction in electronic waste by extending the lifespan of your equipment through regular maintenance and upgrades.

Get the Big Data Optimization Guide

Meeting Increasing Demand for IT Resources

The demand for IT resources is continually increasing. Businesses rely heavily on their IT infrastructure for their operations, and any disruption can cause significant losses. Therefore, it’s essential that your data center is optimized to meet this increasing demand.

Data center optimization ensures that your data center can scale up or down depending on the demand. It also ensures that your data center has the necessary redundancy to prevent any service disruptions.

Enhancing Agility

In today’s fast-paced business environment, agility is increasingly important. An optimized data center can provide the flexibility needed to adapt to changing business needs. Whether it’s expanding your operations, launching new services, or responding to unforeseen events, an optimized data center can adapt to new requirements, providing the agility your business needs.

Strategies and Best Practices for Data Center Optimization 

1. Server and Storage Consolidation

Server and storage consolidation involves reducing the number of physical servers and storage devices in your data center. By doing this, you can decrease the amount of space required, reduce energy consumption, and lower overall operational costs.

In the process of server consolidation, you combine the workloads of several under-utilized servers onto a single, more capable server. This not only reduces the number of physical servers but also improves server utilization, improving efficiency.

Similarly, storage consolidation involves combining data from several storage devices onto a single, high-capacity storage system. This approach reduces the amount of physical storage space required and simplifies data management.

2. Monitor Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)

PUE is a crucial metric for measuring the energy efficiency of a data center. It’s calculated by dividing the total energy consumed by the data center by the energy consumed by the IT equipment. A lower PUE indicates higher efficiency.

By constantly monitoring the PUE, you can identify areas of inefficiency and implement measures to improve them. For instance, you can invest in energy-efficient cooling systems, use virtualization to reduce the number of servers, and implement a power management strategy to minimize idle power consumption.

You can also utilize analytics and machine learning to predict your data center’s PUE based on various factors such as workload, time of day, and outside temperature. This predictive capability can help you take proactive measures to improve energy efficiency.

3. Cooling and Power Optimization

Optimizing cooling and power systems is critical to data center efficiency. Traditional cooling systems often consume large amounts of electricity, while inefficient power distribution can lead to wastage and increased operational costs.

Cooling optimization involves assessing the current cooling infrastructure, identifying inefficiencies, and then making the necessary adjustments. For example, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can be used to model airflow patterns and temperatures within the data center, providing actionable insights for rearranging hardware or modifying cooling systems.

In terms of power, techniques such as intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) can be implemented. These units provide real-time data on power consumption at the rack or device level, enabling precise control over electricity usage. Data gathered from these units can help in formulating a power management strategy to minimize idle power consumption and maximize energy utilization.

Get the Big Data Optimization Guide

4. Software and Platform Optimization

Software and platform optimization aim to maximize the efficiency of the software stack running on data center hardware. This could involve optimizing operating systems, databases, virtualization platforms, and even the applications running on these systems.

Virtualization, for instance, can have a big impact on hardware utilization. By running multiple virtual machines on a single physical server, you increase server utilization rates, allowing for a reduction in the total number of servers needed. This not only conserves space but also reduces energy consumption and cooling needs.

Database optimization, such as query performance tuning or schema optimization, can also contribute to improved performance. Similarly, adopting containerization techniques can isolate applications to optimize resource usage and enable more efficient deployment and scaling.

Management platforms like Kubernetes can be used for orchestrating containerized applications, providing an extra layer of efficiency. These platforms offer automation features like self-healing and auto-scaling, which dynamically allocate resources based on real-time demand, further optimizing software efficiency.

5. Demand Forecasting

Demand forecasting involves predicting the future demand for data center resources based on historical data and trends. This allows you to plan your data center’s capacity and infrastructure more effectively, thereby preventing over-provisioning or under-provisioning of resources.

By accurately forecasting demand, you can ensure that you have enough capacity to meet the future needs without wasting resources on unnecessary infrastructure. Additionally, demand forecasting can also help you plan your data center’s scalability more effectively, thereby optimizing its size and cost.

6. Implement Software-Defined Solutions

Software-defined solutions, such as Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Software-Defined Storage (SDS), can greatly enhance your data center’s efficiency. These solutions allow you to manage and control your data center’s resources through software, eliminating the need for manual intervention.

SDN allows you to control your network infrastructure through a centralized software application, enabling you to manage traffic flow, implement security protocols, and allocate bandwidth more efficiently. Similarly, SDS allows you to manage your storage resources through software, enabling you to allocate storage space, manage data backup, and implement data protection measures more efficiently.

7. Cloud Computing Integration

By integrating cloud computing into your data center, you can leverage the scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness of the cloud to improve your data center’s efficiency.

For instance, you can use the cloud to offload non-critical workloads from your data center, thereby reducing the strain on your data center’s resources. You can also use the cloud for data backup and disaster recovery, ensuring the continuity of your business operations.

Furthermore, by integrating a hybrid cloud model, you can combine the benefits of both private and public clouds. This approach allows you to keep sensitive data in your private data center while using the public cloud for non-sensitive data, optimizing both data security and cost.

8. Implement Automation and Orchestration

Automation and orchestration are vital for achieving data center optimization. Automation involves using software tools to perform repetitive tasks, such as provisioning resources, managing workloads, and monitoring performance. Orchestration, on the other hand, involves coordinating the automated tasks to ensure they work together seamlessly.

By implementing automation, you can reduce manual intervention, minimize human error, and enhance operational efficiency. Similarly, by implementing orchestration, you can ensure that all automated tasks are coordinated effectively, leading to improved workflow, better resource utilization, and optimal efficiency.

Get the Big Data Optimization Guide

Autonomous Optimization Solutions

For the next level of optimizing Databricks workloads, there are autonomous, continuous solutions that can improve speed and reduce costs. Granulate continuously and autonomously optimizes large-scale Databricks workloads for improved data processing performance.

With Granulate’s optimization solution, companies can minimize processing costs across Spark workloads in Databricks environments and allow data engineering teams to improve performance and reduce processing time. 

By continuously adapting resources and runtime environments to application workload patterns, teams can avoid constant monitoring and benchmarking, tuning workload resource capacity specifically for Databricks workloads.

Optimize application performance.

Save on cloud costs.

Start Now
Back to blog