By mapping and monitoring the environmental conditions of the datacenter, RagingWire has been able to identify problem areas and fix them. Adjustments have included installing blanking tiles to improve airflow and balance pressure, hanging curtains at the ends of server aisles to reduce mixing, and taking other steps. As a result, the company has managed to safely increase the CRAC temperature of the facility from 55 degrees to 71 degrees, and adjust the temperature of the chilled water -- used for cooling -- from 44 degrees to 60 degrees. The blanking panels alone have reaped the company a savings of $400,000, according to Kennedy. Increasing the temperature just from 55 to 60 resulted in savings of another $200,000.
Kennedy noted that another selling point of SynapSense is its flexible wireless design. A datacenter -- particular a hosted datacenter facility where equipment is constantly added and moved -- is a dynamic place. Hence, datacenter monitoring tools need to be easy to move and easy to scale. Picking up a wireless sensor and attaching it to a different rack is far easier than uprooting a hardwired piece of hardware and reinstalling it elsewhere.
Carbon regs mean datacenter shifts
These types of tools are essential for monitoring and maintaining the efficiency of a datacenter, helping keep costs low. But it also helps in reducing RagingWire's environmental footprint, a measurement with which datacenter operators in the United States and abroad are becoming increasingly concerned as environmental regulations aimed at reducing GHG emissions continue to evolve and emerge.
For example, the United Kingdom has already embraced a carbon cap-and-trade system; lawmakers in the United States are considering doing so as well. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is working on an Energy Star efficiency standard for datacenters. Moreover, Kennedy told me that RagingWire is in the process of being permitted as a utility by the EPA and California Energy Commission, as it has backup power generators at its location.
The shift toward stricter environmental regulations will have a significant impact on the datacenter industry, Kennedy says. For starters, it will mean higher operating costs for datacenter operators as they'll be essentially paying a carbon tax on their energy consumption. That, in turn, will be passed on to customers.