Bad data center cooling costing IRS millions

How much can organizations save by doing some spring cleaning in the server room? A few million bucks, in the case of this federal agency.

According to a recent report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS could save $3.2 million over the next four years by fixing some bad configuration in two of its data centers.

Some of the problems pointed out in the report:

  • Airflow was blocked by junk such as old furniture and computer equipment that was being stored in old server rooms
  • Missing floor tiles allowed hot and cold air to mix
  • Server racks weren’t aligned properly keep hot and cold air separate, and
  • One data center had three server rooms, which were each only half full, resulting in energy being wasted on cooling empty space.

The report did acknowledge that the savings estimate doesn’t take into account the cost of implement the fixes, and the IRS disagrees with the figures in the report.

But the lesson for businesses is clear: Uncovering configuration problems in the data center can lead to significant energy savings.

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