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  1. #1
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    * Saving Power - HE.NET Colo

    Just colocated at HE.NET and the the 15 amp limitation is a challenge. I'm just wondering what tricks there are to reduce power consumption by computer. Maybe people can add their tricks to this thread.

    I'm experimenting at home right now. I got one of those KILL-A-WATT meters. (Egghead $18 - they are GREAT) And I'm measuring power usage with different configurations.

    One thing I noticed is that the bios "cool and quiet" setting make a big difference. At idle current drops from 0.90 amps to 0.67. Of course if the processor is running 100% this probably goes away but if you have a cabinet of server and not all of them are maxed out all the time this should add up.

    I'm using OpenVZ virtualization which allows my to use hardware more efficiently.

    Just wondering if any of you have other tricks that cut electrical usage. Might have to put quad core processors in all my servers for expansion. Wish AMD would get their act together and get high speed quads out there.

    Everything I have has 8 gigs of ram now.

    Any hard drive setting I should know about?
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  2. #2
    The more ram u add the more power it consumes..

    Maybe you should cut back on the ram in the servers.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2004
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    buy the low voltage xeons? I believe they have boards out there that support DDR2 + the low voltage chips.

  4. #4
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    In my tests I removed 2 of the 4 2 gig ram sticks and removing ram wasn't even a measurable power difference. Ram doesn't use much power.
    Marc Perkel
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  5. Quote Originally Posted by mperkel View Post
    In my tests I removed 2 of the 4 2 gig ram sticks and removing ram wasn't even a measurable power difference. Ram doesn't use much power.
    well, single piece of FBDIMM (Fully Buffered DIMM) uses 12~15watt of power! but, it sounds like you are using AMD based servers with DDR2 modules which consume a whole lot less power. I guess that's why you didn't see much difference when you removed some.

    the winner in term of power saving at this point in time is really the platform using low-power Harpertown Xeon (L54xx series; TDP 50watt) on server board based on Intel 5100 chipset which uses standard DDR2 ECC registered modules, not the dreadful FBDIMMs.

    if AMD could ever get their acts together to put the TLB bug-free quad-core Opteron Barcelona low-power (HE version) out on the market, they will have 68-watt TDP which is still not quite as efficient as harpertown L54xx.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2007
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    I'm not sure how much choice there is in the world of servers for this, but as well as using components that consume less power, look into getting the most efficient PSU you can find.

    The difference between a 60% efficient PSU and an 85% efficent PSU is quite a lot, and will give noticeable power savings. it'll also be quite a bit cooler than a regular PSU.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2008
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    Well I don't think that 2 Amps is a lot of power for a server to be utilizing. I think the problem is with he insane cost the DC's charge per month for the power.
    Last edited by rlanham; 03-30-2008 at 12:18 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mperkel View Post
    I'm just wondering what tricks there are to reduce power consumption by computer.
    Look at getting low-voltage processors. Intel and AMD both have lot-voltage editions. We've found that the extra cost for the CPU pays for itself after a few months, since it saves power and allows more servers to go in a rack.

    Quote Originally Posted by mperkel View Post
    One thing I noticed is that the bios "cool and quiet" setting make a big difference. At idle current drops from 0.90 amps to 0.67.
    Using that option in a server environment is dangerous (unless you're doing it for the environment, and still leaving enough power for when the CPUs are at 100% load). If your servers get busy one day, you can blow a fuse.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlanham View Post
    Well I don't think that 2 Amps is a lot of power for a server to be utilizing. I think the problem is with he insane cost the DC's charge per month for the power.
    would it surprise you to know that most DC's barely make any profit on power?

  10. #10
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    I just don't see how 1 20AMP circuit which technically can only be under 80% load is going to cost $350 dollars. I understand that in that cost I have to include the generator and the battery backup that transitions the generator in case of outage. But the cost here in Chicago is just so high. I mean with 2 20AMP circuits im going to be lucky to get 20 servers in a full rack.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFerrier View Post
    would it surprise you to know that most DC's barely make any profit on power?
    This shouldn't be surprising. Datacenters should be breaking even on their power including the cost to build and maintain their infrastructure. Anything more and I hope they're asking their lawyers "is it legal for us to mark up power in this state/county/country?"

    I don't know about federal laws, but I know in several states, including California, 9if you mark up the cost of power beyond reasonable fees for maintenance and recouping your infrastructure costs, then you are acting as a utility. Utilities are highly regulated, and datacenters profiting off of power may very well be breaking local/state/federal laws.

  12. #12
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    I have some 85% power supplies on order. I'm going to runs some tests and see how much I save.
    Marc Perkel
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  13. #13
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    Don't under-estimate a good power supply. There was one system we were testing where just changing to a 80% efficient PSU dropped power usage by over 20%.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlanham View Post
    Well I don't think that 2 Amps is a lot of power for a server to be utilizing. I think the problem is with he insane cost the DC's charge per month for the power.
    Well, consider that places are paying $1000+ to build out space for 2A and then the continued expense is ~$40 a month in many spots for just the power, power conditioning, regular maintenance, etc. That doesn't count staffing, taxes, etc.

    If you think they're charging too much, start your own and charge less. :-)
    Karl Zimmerman - Steadfast: Managed Dedicated Servers and Premium Colocation
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  15. #15
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    I completely understand that the cost of the CRAC is also built into my quote but I think they should break it down and show me that. I also don't think on top of the cost already incurred for the rack should an additional 20 amp circuit cost $350 a month. I just think thats terribly unrealistic when you look up and utilizing an entire rack.

    On the other hand, I am going to looking into more efficient servers / power supplys from now on.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlanham View Post
    I completely understand that the cost of the CRAC is also built into my quote but I think they should break it down and show me that. I also don't think on top of the cost already incurred for the rack should an additional 20 amp circuit cost $350 a month. I just think thats terribly unrealistic when you look up and utilizing an entire rack.

    On the other hand, I am going to looking into more efficient servers / power supplys from now on.
    OK, if you think $350 is unrealistic, then you simply don't understand the costs involved in running a data center and the cost in building and maintaining one... Well, unless you're just asking that people charge more for the cabinet itself and less for power, though either way it ends up the same.

    The primary cost of a data center is relating to power. The number of cabinets you can put in a space is limited by power, not by the amount of space, thus the infrastructure costs are all directly related to power consumption. If someone normally sells 20A per cabinet and you take 60A in one cabinet, that is two less cabinets they can sell... That is exactly why we have based our pricing model almost entirely on power consumption, not cabinet space.

    I don't see how it is unrealistic to charge based on the primary factor for cost, and even with the prices being charged, most data centers need to operate for 5+ years before even reaching the break-even point.

    As I said, if you feel the costs are too high, start your own data center, charge what you feel is fair, and see how that works out for you. I guess you could also host things from your home as well, that'll certainly be cheaper.

    or are you saying it is unrealistic from your side? If you can't find a business plan to make $22 per usable A then you need to find a new line of work...
    Last edited by KarlZimmer; 03-30-2008 at 05:14 AM.
    Karl Zimmerman - Steadfast: Managed Dedicated Servers and Premium Colocation
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  17. Quote Originally Posted by rlanham View Post
    ....On the other hand, I am going to looking into more efficient servers / power supplys from now on.
    http://it.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=3261&p=3
    showcased at CeBIT, the new line of supermicro blade solution (SBE-714D-D28) can do 14x blade modules in 7U blade enclosure with just 1400watt (14amp/110v) redundant power supplies. each blade module can have dual Xeon Harpertown quad-core (low-power), 16G DDR2 ECC regiesterd (not FBDIMM), 2x HDD's. they seems to be a very good candidate for the ever-so typical 20amp/110v (16amp allowable) power feed with room to spare.

    1amp per 8-core/16G server, that's pretty darn power efficient!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    http://it.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=3261&p=3
    showcased at CeBIT, the new line of supermicro blade solution (SBE-714D-D28) can do 14x blade modules in 7U blade enclosure with just 1400watt (14amp/110v) redundant power supplies. each blade module can have dual Xeon Harpertown quad-core (low-power), 16G DDR2 ECC regiesterd (not FBDIMM), 2x HDD's. they seems to be a very good candidate for the ever-so typical 20amp/110v (16amp allowable) power feed with room to spare.

    1amp per 8-core/16G server, that's pretty darn power efficient!
    Is there any idea how much for this kind of blade servers? Can each blade have raid-10 configuration?
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by linktome View Post
    Is there any idea how much for this kind of blade servers? Can each blade have raid-10 configuration?
    RAID 10 requires 4 drives; the blades support 2 drives per blade.
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