Reducing Home Lab Power Usage

I have come to the conclusion that in 2017 I will need to down scale my home lab in order to reduce power & cooling usage.  It’s grown year over year and unless I start making changes it’s not going to start going down.

My plan is to beef up VMH02 with more RAM so that it can handle the full load of the VMs. Then I will have VMH01 powered-off in stand-by mode. This way only one of the ESXi hosts are running at a time but can still quickly spin up when needed using VMware power control with IPMI if needed. This should reduce my power usage in the lab significantly, especially because both of my ESXi servers are dual CPU socket – they love to eat up power. Having only one of the servers running should make a huge difference. I have never used VMware power management before so I am both curious and excited to make use of it.

In order to make sure we’re making a difference I can see my power consumption graphs from BC Hydro. It will take some time to see the true gain, especially in the summer time when more cooling is needed.

2015 Power Usage (Dark Blue)

  • Power Consumption: 12,064.52 kWh
  • Power Costs: $1,262.02 CAD

2016 Power Usage (Light Blue)

  • Power Consumption: 14,550.86 kWh
  • Power Costs: $1,790.40 CAD

Power usage continued to increase in 2016. Each month I used more than the previous year by 10% or more.  I used an average of 9 kWh or 25% more electricity per day than the billing period last year. Ouch! For reference  I pay $0.0797 per kWh for first 1,350 kWh then $0.1195 per kWh over the 1,350 Step 1 threshold + $0.1764 per day.

I have some RAM on order from eBay so that I can do a bit of re-design of the lab to make it more power efficient. I will have another post showing the reduced power usage once I have some more details stats to post. The goal is to reduce my power usage for 2017 back to 2015 levels or better!

Karl has been involved in the virtualization, server, web development and web hosting industry for over 15 years. In his current role at a managed service provider, he is focused on cloud-based solutions for enterprise clients. His diverse background of sales, management, and architectural/technical expertise bring a unique perspective to the virtualization practice.