We have data center running more than 2000 servers. We are planning to shutdown the servers on a weekend for cost cutting purpose. How can we calculate which servers are consuming more power in the data center so that we can shutdown those many servers only . What is the best way to determine power saving on hourly/daily/weekly basis.


You can get amp meters to measure the power. or you could take meter readings from your electric meter.

The best way to get good readings is to do this for 24 hours. Not just a few hours. (You mentioned the weekend) and that obviously is a good time. But if you are able to get 2000 servers available for downtime at a weekend, do you need all of those servers?

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    +1 Also, many LOM modules report power usage. And, Kill-A-Watt – Chris S Jan 10 '12 at 19:26
  • Yea I know the datacenter we use, measure the amp use of every server. – Lucas Kauffman Jan 10 '12 at 19:47
  • Thanks for your comments. I wanted to shutdown only highly power consuming servers depends upon the availability on servers – sanjay p Jan 10 '12 at 19:53
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    Many CDU/PDU systems report per-tower or per-infeed -- a few even exist that support per-outlet information (e.g. servertech.com/products/smart-pdus/smart-pdu-cs-12hd ) – voretaq7 Jan 10 '12 at 22:13

Use PDUs [See footnote 1] that provide metering capabilities, such as these Metered Rack PDUs from APC. Monitor the PDU using software-- APC provides software which allows continuous power monitoring, and there are other options. Your best bet is to monitor power consumption trends over time.

Some PDUs only monitor down to the circuit which will still allow you to localize servers with high power consumption. Some of the newer PDUs allow monitoring all the way down to the outlet.

From what I know, a typical Datacenter spends more then 50% of it's energy budget on cooling. Computers generate heat, which then needs to be cooled by energy-intensive methods. Heat is one of the primary drivers of energy cost. Nearly every major air-handling vendor offers equipment which allows the company to monitor the power consumption.

Really, there is an entire industry out there which can help you monitor power consumption in your datacenter.

Footnote 1: PDUs are fancy power strips. Some people, especially electrical contractors, use the term "PDU" to refer to the big box which distributes power from the mains or the UPS.


Its mostly the CPUs that are consuming power. You can look up their wattage in their specs. But they will be most propably be in low-power mode when there is nothing to do. So look up these specs as well (it depends on your OS which power-saving mode will be activated).

Additionally there is the wattage used by the disks.

So all in all the fastest multi-cpu-monsters with lots of internal disks are probably the power-eaters.

  • Idle CPU wattage is usually lower than idle (spinny) disk wattage -- unless you spin down the drives :) – voretaq7 Jan 10 '12 at 22:11
  • @voretaq7 problem is I never wanted to spin down server disks. So my assumption is that you leave the disks running anyway. But nice idea - I have to check this on a server that monitors its own wattage and is not in use any more. – Nils Jan 11 '12 at 20:55
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    that was my point -- You could have a 64 CPU box with no disks sitting idle and it would use less power than a 1 CPU box with 24 disks :) Generally speaking you never want to spin down rotating drives if you don't have to :) – voretaq7 Jan 11 '12 at 21:08
  • Ok - so your point is with current CPUs the disks are the culprits. I had my old Pentium HT in mind that can`t clock down much. The question also does not include the OS - so perhaps the OS is not able to power down CPUs at all... – Nils Jan 11 '12 at 21:13

The question is old but as it is very interesting to me and I may have a solution, here it is.

There is a pretty recent project that allows to measure the power consumption of your servers and the processes running on it: scaphandre

It's working for most amd/intel x86 cpus built after 2012.

There is also an "example" dashboard that shows what kind of metrics you can get.

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