Any time you have a server that isn’t being used to capacity, or maybe isn’t used at all; you have server waste. Data centers often have servers that are underused, or perhaps aren’t needed. However, these underutilized servers still require power and cooling. When considered across the data center, this can add up to a large amount of wasted or unnecessarily used electricity.

To help you use all your servers to their full potential, we’ve put together a list of ways you can get the most of them.


1. Move to the Cloud

If you have any processes, data or applications that can be moved to the cloud without impacting business operations or data security, do it! By using the power and efficiency of cloud computing for your organization, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and free up servers to be used for other things.

2. Virtualization

Along the same lines as moving to the cloud, using virtualization on your servers can maximize the computing power of a single machine by having it run many instances simultaneously. Virtualization is quickly scalable and can reduce hardware costs.

3. Consolidating Servers

Server consolidation works by putting more applications or processes on fewer machines. This can be accomplished by combining applications onto a single server or clustering servers to use a single backup server for a cluster of servers. As with virtualization, this maximizes server usage to reduce server waste.

4. Store Data More Efficiently

If you are using servers for data storage or backup, there are ways you can reduce the amount of space needed for the data you’re storing. Consider using compression, deduplication, and tiering the data by according to demand to use less space. When you need less space for storage, you can reduce the number of servers required to store the data or use those servers more efficiently.

5. Only Buy What You Need

Whether you rent servers or space in a hosted data center or have your own, try only to purchase what you actually need. Doing this, you’ll reduce the likelihood of having servers that aren’t being used or aren’t being used efficiently. Plus, you’ll save money by only buying the equipment you need.

6. Decommission Unused Servers

Chances are, there are a few old servers in any data center that aren’t being used anymore but are still running and using electricity. These servers have been forgotten as IT staff have been busy deploying new products or maybe they’re still there “just in case.” Often, network monitoring tools use pings that check for server availability, and these unused servers can go unnoticed. If you find servers that aren’t being used and are no longer needed, decommission them and consider selling them rather than sending them to the landfill.

Reduce Energy Costs and Save Money

Electricity is needed to power servers, heating and cooling systems, and lighting in data centers, and that electricity costs money. Managing your servers to increase their efficiency and reduce server waste will help you reduce your energy needs. For other tips and ways to reduce your data center’s carbon footprint, check out our post on lowering power usage in your data center.