Datacenter infra issues set to increase rapidly

by CXOtoday Staff    May 18, 2010

A significant increase in server sales during the next two years will lead to a further acceleration of datacenter power, cooling and space problems. As a result users need to quantify the effects of new deployments and take action without delay. Gartner has identified a number of actions that users need to undertake to manage these problems in 2010 and 2011, including:

Do not underestimate the issues: Quantify the problem. Users need to get accurate capacity-related data to quantify the impact of infrastructure expansion on the amount of data center power, cooling and available space. This involves working with facility teams to see what is available and how quickly it could be used up. It also means that the infrastructure and operations (I&O) groups need to work with the application and architecture teams to see what is being planned for the next few years and to translate those needs into energy and space metrics. Many of the consolidation and virtualization projects that started two years ago will continue to yield benefits that will offset the impact of new hardware deployments. However, in all cases, accurate modeling and quantification are key to addressing the problem in a controlled manner.

Use monitoring tools: Users need to start implementing energy-monitoring tools to manage and predict capacity requirements and to control operational costs. The use of monitoring tools remains low but is readily available as part of core server management tools or as separate, server-independent tools for organizations.

Accelerate consolidation and virtualization projects:
Many of these projects were started two years ago as the IT recession started. These are multiyear activities, with benefits occurring over the life of the projects. However, the benefits often increase toward the end of the project, so users should accelerate the speed of adoption and change. This should provide extra energy capacity and floor space to offset the needs of new hardware.

Assess the benefits of delaying new server purchases: Many organizations will look to deploy new servers as a result of new projects over the next few years. However, I&O departments need to fully assess the benefits and pitfalls of doing so. In some cases, it may be beneficial to delay the acquisition and use capacity that is freed up from consolidation and virtualization projects. The equation is complex, because new servers typically use less energy than older ones, and, in some cases, have greater capacity as a result of new multicore processors. They also have better energy management tools. However, there will likely be spare capacity on older machines that could also be used.