Gartner Says Efficient Data Centre Design Can Lead to 300 Per Cent Capacity Growth in 60 Per Cent Less Space

Analysts to Discuss Next Generation Data Centres at Gartner Data Center & IT Operations Summit 2010, 22-23 November, in London, and at Gartner Data Center Conference 2010, 6-7 December, in Las Vegas
(PresseBox) (Egham, UK, ) Emerging trends in data centre design mean that new data centres will be able to provide a 300 per cent growth in capacity in 60 per cent less space than existing data centres, according to Gartner, Inc. New data centres are being designed to be efficient in terms of power utilisation, space allocation and capital expenditure.

"There is a real and growing desire to increase productivity in data centres," said Dave Cappuccio, chief of infrastructure research at Gartner. "Organisations are starting to take a serious look at consumption ratios of compute power to energy consumed and then compare them against estimated productivity of applications and the equipment to deliver that application. Couple this with the realisation that most IT assets are underutilised - for example, x86 servers are running at 12 per cent utilisation, racks are populated to 50 to 60 per cent capacity, floor space is 'spread out' to disperse the heat load - it becomes clear that an efficiently designed and implemented data centre can yield significant improvements."

Traditionally, organisations would mitigate the power and cooling issues in data centres by spreading out the physical infrastructure across a larger floor space, but this trend is coming to an end as more servers are needed and floor space is becoming a premium. This is forcing organisations to more densely populate existing server racks, and as a result driving an increase in localised power and cooling demand.

Mr Cappuccio said the trend toward higher-density cabinets and racks will continue unabated through 2012, increasing both the density of compute resources on the data centre floor, and the density of both power and cooling required to support them. IT managers for the past few years have focused solely on solving the power and cooling issue with hot and cold isles, distributed equipment placement, specialty cooling and self-contained environments.

Gartner said in the future the issue will move up the corporate food chain as executives realise that the substantial energy costs for IT today are but a fraction of what future costs will be at current growth rates. At current pricing the operating expense (that is energy) to support an x86 server will exceed the cost of that server within three years. Given current trends it is likely that operating costs of servers could easily equal their capital costs within the first few years, putting severe strains on IT organisations to fully utilise equipment they have, while only using equipment absolutely necessary. "The days of idle machines sitting on the data centre floor during off peak hours will be a thing of the past. At current energy rates a 40kW rack could cost upward of $5,400 per server, per year," Mr Cappuccio said.

"The new data centres are not like the old ones. Organisations need to make a break with the past and realise that innovation in data centre design will yield both reduced capital and operating expenditure," said Mr Cappuccio. "Think small, think dense - the objective is the highest compute performance per kilowatt."

There are actions that can be taken today to reduce power consumption and thereby improve overall efficiencies in data centres. They include:

Implementing row- and rack-based cooling for higher-density equipment can reduce energy consumption by up to 15 per cent while making the data centre more scalable.

Rightsizing the new data centre by building and provisioning only what is needed - and then expanding only when needed - can reduce the long-term operating expenses by 10 to 30 per cent.

Using air economisers in certain geographies is a simple step with sizable rewards. Gartner said that many data centres actually have air handlers with economiser modes on existing equipment but have it disabled from the early years when energy was not the issue it is today.

Paying particular attention to floor layouts, not only with respect to hot aisle/cold aisle factors, but with regard to overall air movement (distance) to reduce workloads on your air handling equipment.

Virtualise as much as possible - especially on x86 equipment. The average x86 server has very low utilisation levels but requires a high degree of its maximum power to run. Push these systems to higher utilisation levels to reduce overall energy consumption, reduce floor space and see more-efficient use of your IT assets.

Gartner said that energy consumption will be the most dominant trend in data centres during the next five years - both from efficiency and a monitoring/management standpoints. Reduction in energy consumption will take on many forms, from introducing 'green' technologies, such as chilled water or refrigerant cooling at the device level, to real-time infrastructure management, which allows the movement of resources based on workloads and time of day. With potential regulatory involvement in data centre efficiencies, IT and facilities managers will be required to show continuous improvements in how resources are utilised.

Additional information on data centre design will be discussed at the Gartner Data Center & IT Operations Summit 2010, 22-23 November in London and at the Gartner Data Center Conference 2010, 6-9 December in Las Vegas. These events deliver a wealth of strategic guidance and tactical recommendations on the full spectrum of issues reshaping the 21st-century data centre. You can also follow the event on Twitter at http://twitter.com/... using #GartnerDC.

Members of the media wishing to register for the Gartner Data Center & IT Operations Summit 2010 in London can register by contacting Ben Tudor, Gartner PR at ben.tudor@gartner.com. For further information on the Summit, please visit http://www.gartner.com/....

Additional information on the Data Center Conference 2010 in Las Vegas is available at www.gartner.com/.... Members of the media can register for the event by contacting Christy Pettey at christy.pettey@gartner.com.

About Gartner Data Center & IT Operations Summit 2010

The Gartner Data Center & IT Operations Summit 2010 will provide Gartner's latest insight and advice on how to improve organisation's maturity in the areas of organisational transformation, process adoption and technology implementation. Gartner analysts will examine what the data centre professionals need to do to maintain cloud computing and virtualisation, which have become the first and second priorities for CIOs this year as "trusted" service provider to the business.

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