Power Assure Works with Facebook on Data Server Savings

power assure website image

Power Assure is an energy-savvy start-up that has figured out how to reduce power costs for data centers though targeted throttling of servers, networking equipment and cooling systems. The company’s system is able to identify and power down equipment that isn’t needed right then, and transfer workloads to data centers in places or time zones where energy may be cheaper at that moment.

Power Assure is already putting their new technology to good use by working with Facebook to monitor and eventually minimize its energy use. Facebook is quickly growing and is adding servers to meet demand. And with over 10 billion images hosted on its servers, and millions of users accessing it at any one time, the popular social networking site uses a whole lot of energy. Minimizing its costs, however is a priority.

Up to 80 percent of the power going to data centers is wasted because it's not being used in an optimal fashion, said CEO Donnie Foster, adding that Power Assure's software can save on average 50 percent of the electricity cost. For a 10,000 square-foot data center, that comes to around $500,000 per year.

That is some serious savings. Facebook as a whole underscores the fact that something that seems so light-footed as having a profile on a social networking site actually has a huge impact when it is used on a large scale. Some groups are advocating that Facebook switch to better servers or use renewable energy. Utilizing software from Power Assure will help appease those groups as well as lighten its environmental load.

Here is how Power Assure's software works: It runs detailed energy-use analyses of a company's data centers that figure out how efficient each server is at running applications. It also determines when those servers, networking devices and heating-and-cooling systems run at full capacity and when they are mostly sitting idle. It then devises a plan to automatically shut down the equipment that isn't doing much while being fed expensive power at different times of the day.

To make sure a data center can respond to any unexpected demand for computing power, Power Assure's software would leave a certain number of servers on as a buffer. Generally, even the busiest data centers, such as those run by Web service providers, need less than 10 percent of the servers for the buffer, Foster said.

We talk a lot here on TreeHugger about the progress data centers are making to minimize energy use, and tech advances that make servers more energy efficient. Software like this that shifts loads around to give that extra boost are also becoming an important part of the online equation.

Via Greentech Media
More on Server Efficiency:
Saving Energy in Data Centers with Smart Sensors and Algorithms
Chime In on EPA Server Efficiency Standard
Designing Radically Efficient and Profitable Data Centers

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