International Energy Agency (IEA) recently estimated that although data-center workloads will triple from 2014 levels by 2020, efficiency gains mean that their electricity demand might rise by just 3 percent. 1 Even a relatively small data center can save tens of thousands of dollars simply through efficient choices in management practices, IT hardware, power, and cooling infrastructure.

Large, privately owned enterprise data center facilities still form the bedrock of corporate IT and are expected to be running half of all workloads by 2021. Striving for the ultra-high efficiencies found at state-of-the-art data centers of large web-based companies is usually not technically or economically feasible for private enterprise data centers. But, in most instances, there are short-term, tactical actions that can provide immediate benefit, yielding significant electric utility cost savings.

New data centers pack higher processing power in a considerably smaller space. However, high-density computing environments can be a huge drain on operating budgets with rising energy demand and power costs.