A Canadian digital media studio has become one of the first companies to uncover massive energy waste in their data center using a new software-based approach to energy efficiency. Arc Productions works in animation and visual effects for projects like Gnomeo & Juliet and Halo 4 from their headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. In a project launched in September, Vancouver-based TSO Logic took a closer look at power consumption by the studio’s in-house server farm, made up of over 600 servers.
Even with server utilization rates that are better than the industry average, Arc learned that more than two-thirds of the time, half of their servers are powered on but completely idle. In two months, they identified potential energy savings of 56 percent. With electricity costing the studio hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, these savings represent a major business opportunity.
“The whole process of working with TSO Logic and their product has been surprisingly easy,” says John Hickson, Head of Systems and Rendering at Arc. “With no infrastructure changes, we are getting data we never had before. This allows us to capture savings and lower costs in our studio,” says Hickson.
TSO Logic’s proprietary technology looks at server activity on an application level, monitoring consumption patterns and finding opportunities to automatically conserve.
“We call it application-aware power management, and believe that it’s a totally new approach to intelligently saving energy,” says Aaron Rallo, the founder and CEO of TSO Logic. “Basically, our technology allows data centers to power down servers automatically when demand is low. This happens seamlessly, does not impact performance and provides deep insight into the environment,” says Rallo.
The company’s twin suite of energy efficiency solutions, called TSO Metrics and TSO Power Control, shows that most data centers with variable load have an untapped savings potential.