by Timothy Prickett Morgan

It is probably telling that these days datacenter managers think of the infrastructure under their care more in terms of the juice it burns and not by counting the server, storage, and switch boxes that consume that electricity and exhale heat. Ultimately, that power draw is the limiting factor in the scalability of the datacenter and using that power efficiently can boost processing and storage capacity and also drop profits straight to the bottom line.

Three years ago, just as it was buying public cloud computing provider Savvis for $2.5 billion, CenturyLink took a hard look at its annual electric bill, which was running at $80 million a year across its 48 datacenters. At the time, CenturyLink had just finished acquiring Qwest Communications, giving it a strong position in the voice and data services for enterprises and making it the third largest telecommunications company in the United States. CenturyLink, which is based in Monroe, Louisiana, also provides Internet service to consumers and operates the PrimeTV and DirectTV services; it has 47,000 employees and generated $18.1 billion in revenues in 2013.

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