Reduce Data Center Over-Provisioning And Stranded Capacity For Sustainability

Improve data center planning and operational lifecycle management with digital twins.


In the ever-evolving landscape of data centers, the issue of stranded capacity has become a significant concern for operators. Stranded capacity refers to the underutilization of resources. It is best referred to as the elephant in the data center due to the enormity of its impact.

The losses are even more significant for the enterprise data center categories at above 40%. This outcome not only leads to financial waste but also hampers efficiency and sustainability efforts.

Whilst some of this stranded capacity is due to over-provisioning during the design stage of the data centers, the majority of these losses evolve during their operation over time.

To counter this issue effectively, data center operators are increasingly turning to adopting the digital twin of the data center as the platform for its design and operational lifecycle management. The increase in capacity utilization is massive, often well over 30%.

In this blog, we will explore how digital twins can revolutionize data center operations and greatly reduce stranded capacity.

Understanding stranded capacity

Stranded capacity in any data center is created through two distinct phenomena:

  • Design over-provisioning, where operators deliberately allocate more resources than necessary to ensure peak demand can be met safely. However, this is a relatively modest percentage of the total design capacity and can be manipulated.
  • Fragmentation of space, power, and cooling during operations. By far, the most dangerous of these three is the fragmentation of cooling, since cooling is dominated by airflow, which is invisible.

Unlike over-provisioning, capacity losses due to fragmentation are unavoidable, unpredictable, and unquantifiable.

The financial and environmental impact in the form of an increase in carbon footprint is immense.

The power of digital twins

Digital twins are virtual replicas of physical assets or systems that can be used for simulations, analysis, and predictive modeling. In the context of data centers, a digital twin represents a virtual replica of the entire facility, including its infrastructure, equipment, and operational characteristics. By leveraging the power of digital twins, data center operators can gain valuable insights into resource utilization, optimize capacity planning, and greatly reduce over-provisioning. These insights are especially important during ongoing operations where the operations and IT teams are responsible for making decisions quickly.

Quantifying the impact of any decision using modeling and simulation

One of the key advantages of digital twins is their ability to accurately model and simulate the behavior of a data center. By incorporating real-time data and historical trends, operators can create a virtual environment that mirrors the physical facility. This enables them to test different scenarios, evaluate the impact of resource allocation decisions, and identify potential areas of over-provisioning. As well as make informed decisions about the cooling temperature.

Optimizing resource allocation

Digital twins empower data center operators to make informed decisions about resource allocation. By simulating various scenarios, operators can identify the optimal balance between resource availability and demand. This ensures that resources are allocated efficiently, eliminating the need for excessive provisioning. With accurate insights provided by digital twins, operators can right-size their infrastructure, avoiding the pitfalls of the growth of stranded capacity.

Real-time monitoring and predictive analytics

Digital twins enable real-time monitoring of resource utilization within a data center. By integrating sensors and data collection mechanisms, operators can continuously monitor the performance of various components, such as power consumption, cooling efficiency, and network bandwidth. This data can then be analyzed using predictive analytics algorithms to identify potential bottlenecks or areas of underutilization. By proactively addressing these issues, operators can optimize resource allocation and reduce stranded capacity.

Mitigating risks and enhancing reliability

Digital twins also play a crucial role in risk mitigation and enhancing the reliability of data center operations. By simulating different failure scenarios, operators can identify potential vulnerabilities and develop contingency plans. This proactive approach ensures that resources are allocated in a manner that minimizes the risk of service disruptions without resorting to excessive provisioning. The ability to accurately predict and prevent failures helps in reducing stranded capacity and improving overall operational efficiency.


In the quest to reduce over-provisioning and stranded capacity, digital twins have emerged as a game-changing technology in data center planning and operations. By providing accurate resource modeling, simulation capabilities, real-time monitoring, and predictive analytics, digital twins empower operators to optimize resource allocation and make informed decisions. With the ability to identify potential areas of over-provisioning and mitigate risks, data center operators can significantly reduce stranded capacity, leading to improved efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced sustainability. As the data center industry continues to evolve, embracing digital twins during both planning and operations will be crucial for achieving optimal resource utilization and maximizing operational effectiveness.

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