Notes from Mark's most excellent presentation on
datacenter power efficiency issues. Apologies
for typos, etc.
2008.02.18 Energy Efficiency Leadership for
Data Centers and IT
Mark Bramfitt, P.E.
Pacific Gas and Electric
PGE background; one of largest utilities in US,
5 mil electric, 4mil natural gas in Northern CA.
Help pay customers to do energy efficiency
projects; from outside CA, may not sound smart,
but honestly, it's good.
Why is PGE paying customers to use less energy?
What is driving emphasis on energy efficiency in
the IT/datacenter sector
what programs has PGE developed
what strategies should GreenIT take
Why energy efficiency?
Been offering incentives for 30 years now;
customers have grown to expect these programs.
All the customers benefit due to lower rates
some amount of power bought on open market;
costs about 6cents/kw/hr;
if they can pay 3cents/kw/hr to *NOT* use that
power, saves on what they need to buy on the open
PGE benefits financially
There is a return on doing their job financially;
they get rewarded with profit if they reduce usage.
Energy efficiency is cornerstone of their committment
to environmental responsibility and quality.
They are in 3rd year of program, spending 975 mil.
on energy efficiency services and programs over 3
30 years of energy efficiency success.
compares 3 regions.
From 1960 to today, per-capita growth in
california is flat, compared to other 49 states,
which have gone up 50% over the 30 years.
Western Europe is not much below CA
Why focus on high tech?
PGE serves silicon valley; customers face 2 challenges;
1) want to save money
2) want to help environment in their own way
lack of power, space, cooling, capacity planning, etc.
Every high tech company has a presence here, so he can
talk to all of them about efficiency in an easy manner.
total load of 400-500MW (2.5% of total,
compared to 1.2% nationally) estimated based on the
idea of servers sold, based on some work done out of
Enterprise centers are known (stand-alone and colocations)
"corporate" centers are hidden in office buildings
"closets" are invisible
stuffed in closets in law offices, etc.
The key challenge for enterprise and some corporate
datacenters is space, cooling, and power supply constraints,
in the face of...
75MW of new datacenter space, massive colocation space
being built in the bay area.
IT workload growth is going through the work, can be
10x for some sectors (financial, web business)
Google, etc. 50-60% IT growth
Huge growth in data storage (50 to 100% annual growth
PGE has 5 mil electric, 4 mil gas; reading meters once
a month, they are putting automated meters in place, will
read natural gas twice a day, and electric meters at
least twice an hour, so data sets will explode.
When your back is up against the wall, you improvise.
Sun's 20 ft shipping container, they sell them to
customers; they're marketed as instant datacenters
that you just plug in; 250Kw is pretty hefty for it.
Why on earth paint it black!
Data Center offerings pre 2006
audits, incentives that addressed cooling systems only:
high-efficiency equipment (chillers, pumps, fans, etc.)
Air and water-side economizers (free cooling)
having trouble getting people to use outside air for
cooling; need humidity control, can be difficult to
put in an existing datacenter, but the savings are
IMMENSE! Running AC 867,000hours a year.
You can save 6,000 hours/year of compressor time
by doing this.
HP did it, saving $1m/year on their datacenters, PGE
paid half the work to do it.
what they were missing
anything having to do with operations "inside the white
Inside the datacenter, energy use in high-performance
datacenter, best in class, 55% goes to servers.
HVAC takes 30%, Other is 12%, Lighting is 3%.
He was aiming at yellow, but not the blue.
But if he can help with the blue, the yellow goes
down as well.
Incentives for energy-efficient computing equipment
(rip and replace only)
What is the definition of energy efficient computing
equipment? Need specs and rating system from computing
Incentives for virtualization/consolidation
more for consolidation, take underutilized servers out
of your datacenters; some improvements needed in the
Incentives for airflow control systems
IBM, HP dynamix CRAC unit control;
Incentives for high-efficiency UPS and power distribution systems
Good for ATT in east bay
start using DC direct power to servers!
High quality tech services for cooling system evaluation,
retrofit, new construction
80 plus for personal computers (upstream incentive)
start putting much more efficient power supplies in
the computers being sold. Dell and HP are starting
to push the units for them. Change purchase spec for
Premium efficiency LCD monitors (midstream incentive)
long list of LCD monitors that beat energystar by 25%
2007 new initiative
Incentive in MAID (massive array of Idle Disks) data storage
retro-commissioning program for airflow management
rebates for PC network management software
Social networking company is first one to buy this;
if you upload your profile, and it's not popular, it
gets saved and then turned off.
Retrofix, other programs, $15/seat for turning off
Incentives for energy efficient servers (new installs)
80plus/CSCI program for computing equipment
Rebates for virtualization/server consolidation
Incentives/rebates for conversion to thin-client systems
had low expectations last year; was aiming for 1MW, but
got 4MW, but out of 400MW of load, should be able to
knock 25MW/year. Payback of less than 2 years on most,
some as short as 6 months.
Formed a coalition, talked to many other utilities
about adopting similar programs, so that other areas
can get on board with this as well.
Hierarchy of IT Energy Efficiency Motivation
Capacity: Long Term Strategy
Capacity: Short term planning
"O" level is basic operational functionality. As
you move up, you get to emergency capacity planning,
which is buying a black trailer. Try to get better
By the third tier, you're talking about financial rewards
for saving energy, and you have C-level buy-in.
"GreenIT" is where an energy czar can say "make it
run better, regardless of cost"
ClimateSavers Computing Initiative
Spec LCD monitors that exceed Energy Star standards
Consider thin client desktops
Start or accelerate virtualization
consolidate server and storage equipment
Evaluate free cooling options for your datacenters
housekeeping--fix the holes in floor, put blanking
plates in, make sure cold air will do useful work
to make sure air goes in front of device. Half of
cold air doesn't make it to the equipment!
Contact him, MJB9@pge.com, let him know how he's doing,
let him know if you'd like to participate in the programs,
he's out to change the world, and he can only do it with
Goal is to get it together, and get our energy utilization