Toolkit: Calculate datacenter server power usage

Toolkit: Calculate datacenter server power usage

Summary: Determining how much energy a server consumes can be a fine art. Learn how to get started using TechRepublic’s Server Energy Consumption Calculator.

TOPICS: Data Centers

One of the biggest costs for any datacenter is energy usage. And while April 22 is Earth Day this year, it's possible to reduce your carbon footprint and save money every day by choosing energy-efficient servers.

Buying a server is a long-term investment. It's not only the cost of hardware and software that matter, but the power costs to make that server consistently available to users. Add in a fleet of servers in a datacenter operating 24 hours a day, and power costs quickly add up.

Download the full toolkit from ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic: Cost Comparison: Calculating Server Power Usage.

For instance, one server can use between 500 to 1,200 watts per hour, according to If the average use is 850 watts per hour, multiplied by 24 that equals 20,400 watts daily, or 20.4 kilowatts (kWh). Multiply that by 365 days a year for 7,446 kWh per year. According to the US Energy Information Administration (PDF), the average kWh cost for commercial use from January 2012 through January 2013 was 9.83 cents. So that means it would cost $731.94 to power the aforementioned server for one year.

Add in the fact that energy costs vary around the country, with some larger metropolitan areas and remote spots such as Hawaii costing upward of three times the national average, and you can easily see why server energy usage is so crucial to a company's bottom line.

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(Image: Screenshot by Teena Hammond/ZDNet)

You can use the TechRepublic toolkit to calculate server power usage. It includes a spreadsheet that can help provide an average baseline of what you can expect to pay in energy costs for old/existing servers versus new servers. The list includes many common servers available now, with IBM, HP, and Dell among those included, as well as Oracle, Fujitsu, and Cisco.

Avoid common pitfalls in determining server energy usage and download the TechRepublic toolkit on Cost Comparison: Calculating Server Power Usage. This toolkit is available for free to all TechRepublic Pro subscribers.

TechRepublic Pro, ZDNet, and TechRepublic's premium service provide information that IT leaders need to solve today's toughest IT problems and make informed decisions.

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Topic: Data Centers

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  • sucker born every minute

    any competent IT person should be familiar with the actual power dissipation of current or prospective servers. enough so to notice the problems with the screenshot! 10% utilization! 670W for a nearly idle 2s server! new server has twice the cpus, but higher utilization - and only two dimms!
    • To clarify

      1) The screenshot shows 670 watts as the "MAX watts" on the Poweredge 1950. The calculator is not indicating that the server uses 670 watts as configured in the screenshot but rather that 670 watts is the maximum output the PSU can provide.

      2) All of the fields in red (including utilization and DIMMS) can be customized by the user of the spreadsheet depending on the actual servers involved. This is in order to help calculate the energy usage. So, the calculator is not stating that a new server will ONLY contain 2 DIMMs (or 2 hard drives, four CPUs, etc.) - this is dynamic data that the user can change accordingly.