As Asia continues to be a global driver of economic growth, many organisations have established or consolidated their operations and IT investments, including data centre facilities, in this region to better support their expanding business here as well as to enhance efficiency, cost savings and governance. In addition, as more companies look towards adopting technologies such as cloud computing, the demand for data centre facilities and services are expected to remain strong in the region.
With a strong infocomm infrastructure, highly qualified workforce and a vibrant eco-system of technology partners, Singapore is well-poised to become a data centre hub for businesses here. In fact, according to BroadGroup, Singapore's commercial data centre space is expected to grow by 50 percent over the next five years[i].
However, data centres are extremely energy-intensive facilities and its energy consumption cost account for more than 50 percent of the operating expenditure in a typical DC in Singapore[ii], according to the Infocomm Authority Development of Singapore (IDA). With energy costs continue to remain on the high globally, it is pertinent for companies to proactively look for avenues to reduce energy consumption and drive down the operating costs of their data centres.
In this area, Singapore has also placed heavy emphasis on improving the energy efficiency of data centres and has taken concrete steps to encourage energy efficiency practices among organisations in Singapore, such as the establishment of the Green Data Centre Standards[iii].
To address the data centre energy efficiency challenge, organisations first need to understand the various factors that contribute to it and that the number one cause of inefficiency is over-sizing. As such, right-sizing, which addresses this issue, is the most impacting tactic among the different approaches that enterprises can do to improve energy efficiency.
Over-sizing drives unnecessary capital, maintenance, and energy expenses, which are a substantial fraction of a data centre's overall life-cycle cost. Most users don't realise that there are fixed costs in the power and cooling systems whether or not the IT load is present, and that these losses are usually proportional to the overall power rating of the system. When the data centre physical infrastructure (DCPI) is over-sized, fixed losses become a larger portion of the electrical bill, hence reducing the data centre's overall energy efficiency.
Right-sizing will allow organisations to match the DCPI system to the load and reduce the energy consumption of DCPI equipment. For example, a typical system that is loaded at 30 percent of rating has an electrical cost per kW of IT load of about $2,300 per kW per year. However, if the system were right-sized to the load, the electrical cost per kW of the IT load falls to about $1,440 per kW per year. This is a 38 percent savings in electrical costs alone. These are the potential savings that are driving the industry towards modular and scalable DCPI solutions.
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