Even if you’re consistently staying within budget and keeping spending on track, there could still be a surprising number of ways to maximize a data center’s budget even further. The trick is knowing where to look; you could be spending more than you needed to in certain areas without even realizing. The key is to know where you can afford to cut spending without making the data center vulnerable to risk.
For example, you could drastically reduce certain equipment costs by purchasing refurbished servers instead of new ones. Companies like Alta Technologies have used servers for sale from a huge variety of brands, and they stand behind their products with warranties, customer support, and more. There are plenty of other ways to save money too; just keep reading to learn more about them!
#1: Review the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations
Just like manufacturer’s maintenance contracts benefit them just as much as they do you, their maintenance recommendations are similarly designed to make them more money. Not that they’re totally unnecessary; it’s just that they tend to go way beyond what your equipment actually needs. Data center managers often commit to bloated maintenance contracts because they want to err on the side of caution – after all, nobody wants to risk system failure from inadequate maintenance – but some of that money doesn’t have to be spent.
Most of the time, the manufacturers recommend maintenance schedules that are more frequent than they need to be, or they attempt to sell additional hardware that the data center will probably never use. If you think this might be the case for you, here are a few tips to reduce the scope of the maintenance contract to a more sensible size:
- Eliminate site visits related to preventative or minor maintenance
- Remove preventative maintenance from the contract
- Reduce response times
- Rearrange the maintenance schedule
Even if you don’t use a third-party maintenance provider, you could ask your current maintenance provider to renegotiate the contract.
#2: Optimize stocking, efficiency, and organization
A lot of data centers don’t use their machines to their full potential. In order to address this issue, you can rationalize your hardware to improve asset and inventory management; this will give you the big picture for how to use your machines more efficiently.
Once this is done, you can expect to see lower costs for support, maintenance, and energy costs. On average, these changes will save you more than $400 per year, per server.
One inevitable cost of running a data center is the HVAC, but you don’t necessarily have to pay as much as you currently are. You could slightly raise the set temperature without compromising performance; according to research firm Gartner, the temperature can safely be raised to up to 24 C without the risk of overheating. You could even utilize outside air if possible.
Here are a few other steps you can take to increase efficiency and prioritize reliability:
- Switch off servers that are dead or not in use
- Merge storage
- Increase UPS efficiency
- Link servers
- Use power-management features for all server systems
#3: Utilize a third-party maintenance provider
The average manufacturer will tell you that they know what’s best for their servers, so they (or their authorized representatives) should be the ones taking care of them. They may be perfectly well-qualified to do this, but they’ll also charge quite a bit of money for the service. Maintaining your servers is something you can’t do without, but you can certainly reduce the bill by using a third-party maintenance provider.
On average, you can expect to save about 60% on your OEM support list price with a third-party maintenance contract. Depending on location, equipment type, and product density, you could save between 50% and 95%.
If you have a contract with a third-party maintenance company, you can expect them to provide the following:
- Extensively trained engineers
- Support for multi-vendor infrastructure at no additional cost
- Custom contracts and support offers
- Excellent service and coverage
- Large inventory of IT hardware
The benefits of using one of these companies include:
- Reducing spending related to fixing mistakes
- Eliminating the cost of training sessions
- Optimizing the organization’s resource utilization
- Creating a single contact point for all of the data center’s maintenance needs
With the help of a reliable third-party maintenance provider, you can reduce the risk of catastrophic mistakes due to human error, and have peace of mind that your equipment is in safe hands.
#4: Outsource personnel costs
For the majority of data centers, the single largest expense is personnel costs. There are two primary ways to reduce this expense: review staffing levels, and outsource when needed.
Even if all of your employees are both skilled and motivated, they might not be the people you need for the job. You could have too many in one department, and not enough in another. By reviewing your staffing levels, you can figure out if you’re using your current employees as effectively as you could be.
Outsourcing doesn’t have to take the place of your regular hiring practices, but it should be something to consider. Overseas labor can be much cheaper per hour in certain countries, so it’s an obvious money-saving strategy.
#5: Capitalize on monitoring capabilities and systematize maintenance
Consolidating data center sites is one way to cut down on expenses without sacrificing functionality. From small machine rooms to complex installations, consolidation can save between 5% and 15% of the total budget through eliminating overlapping maintenance contracts, software contracts, disaster recovery contracts, and IT assets.
It would also be beneficial to enhance the monitoring capabilities of the data center. Effective networking can aggregate monitoring for multiple locations, which has a number of advantages. These include reducing the cost of UPS and general maintenance, and lessening the number of site visits needed.
Whether you implement one or two of these strategies, or all of them, you’ll still be able to optimize the data center’s budget. All you have to do is find out where the budget is being allocated, and then figure out how to do it better.