Posts Tagged Data Center Over-Sizing

Don’s Corner: “Right-Sizing Versus Over-Sizing: Efficiency In The Data Center”

Posted by on February 29, 2012  |  No Comments

Don Melchert, Critical Facility Specialist


Forecasting and measuring the total cost of ownership (TCO) for Data Center Physical Infrastructure (DCPI) is essential for return-on-investment (ROI) analysis. Oversizing is the main contributor to excess TCO. Oversizing creates inefficiencies in the data center including excess capital cost, operating cost, and specifically energy cost. The average data center operator can achieve the highest return investment in relation to DCPI through rightsizing.  Right-sizing the DCPI system to the load is the key to optimizing TCO and has the most impact on DCPI electrical consumption.  Right-sizing can potentially eliminate up to 50% of the electrical bill in real-world scenarios.  For example, potential electricity cost savings for a typical 1 MW data center  has been shown to be $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 over a typical 10-year life of the facility.  Data center efficiency is key to controlling your energy costs  and should be a topic of significant importance to all data center operators.

The single largest avoidable cost associated with typical data center and network room infrastructure is oversizing.  To learn more about how you can prevent this unnecessary cost, “Right-Sizing Versus Over-Sizing: Efficiency In The Data Center” is available for your organization via our unique “Breakfast and Learn” Educational Series For Data Center Professionals.  This series provides the education that will lay the critical foundation for your organization to run an efficient data center. Please feel free to contact me for further information at or 918-760-8236. Additional resources pertaining to this topic are presented below for your reference.

Avoiding Costs from Oversizing Data Center and Network Room Infrastructure (White Paper #37) Overview:

Executive Summary:

The physical and power infrastructure of data centers and network rooms is typically oversized by more than 100%. Statistics related to oversizing are presented. The costs associated with oversizing are quantified. The fundamental reasons why oversizing occurs are discussed. An architecture and method for avoiding oversizing is described.


  • TCO cost drivers and opportunities to control TCO.
  • Information and statistics related to over-sizing.
  • Practical advantages of right-sizing.
  • Energy consumption reduction in DCPI equipment.
  • Examine key reasons why the industry is moving toward modular, scalable DCPI solutions.


Data centers and network rooms are routinely oversized to three times their required capacity. Oversizing drives excessive capital and maintenance expenses, which are a substantial fraction of the overall lifecycle cost. Most of this excess cost can be recovered by implementing a method and architecture that can adapt to changing requirements in a cost- effective manner while at the same time providing high availability.


Implementing Energy Efficient Data Centers (White Paper #114) Overview:

Executive Summary:

Electricity usage costs have become an increasing fraction of the total cost of ownership (TCO) for data centers. It is possible to dramatically reduce the electrical consumption of typical data centers through appropriate design of the data center physical infra- structure and through the design of the IT architecture. This paper explains how to quantify the electricity savings and provides examples of methods that can greatly reduce electrical power consumption.


The cost of electricity for data centers is a substantial operating cost that can and should be managed. A data center designed for reduced power consumption also saves other costs such as capital and operating costs associated with power and cooling systems, as well as saving space.

Electrical consumption of existing data centers can be reduced through various low cost methods but primarily via migration to more energy efficient computing platforms. For new data centers, there are additional options both in the IT architecture and in the DCPI architec- ture that can gain much greater savings.

The electrical power consumption is typically shared evenly between the IT loads and DCPI devices. Any rational approach to reduction in electrical usage must treat the combined IT / DCPI design as a system in order to maximize the benefit.

Some equipment providers offer complete standardized data center designs specifically engineered for efficiency, and energy efficiency audit services are available for users desiring to reduce power consumption in existing data centers.

The cost savings opportunities have been shown to be very large yet the investment required to achieve them is small or even zero in some cases, when compared with legacy approaches to data center design.


Determining Total Cost of Ownership for Data Center and Network Room Infrastructure (White Paper #6) Overview:

Executive Summary:

An improved method for measuring total cost of ownership (TCO) of data center and network room physical infrastructure and relating these costs to the overall Information Technology infrastructure is described, with examples. The cost drivers of TCO are quantified. The largest cost driver is shown to be unnecessary unabsorbed costs resulting from the oversizing of the infrastructure.


Expressing TCO for data center and network room physical infrastructure on a per-rack basis normalizes the measurement of TCO, providing a metric that can be used to compare data centers/ network rooms and to compare different approaches to design.

The use of a TCO calculation tool and method was described. This tool permits the evaluation of cost control strategies, and can estimate TCO for specific installations.

The per rack lifetime TCO of a high availability data center is approximately $120K. The oversizing of infrastructure is a major contributor to this cost, and on average 30% cost savings can be obtained by implementing practical design techniques using modular scalable data center infrastructure.