New Data Centers Will Enable 300 Percent Capacity Upgrades: Gartner

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-11-18 Print this article Print

Thanks to virtualization options and improving application and middleware software, storage capacity, processor performance and cooling apparatuses, new data centers are inherently more efficient.

IT researcher Gartner reported Nov. 18 that most new data centers now being planned and built will have inherent efficiencies that will enable up to 300 percent growth in storage capacity and use 60 percent less floor space to do it.

According to consistent reports from eWEEK industry and analyst sources, a large number of current data centers 10 years and older are reaching their limits in physical space and/or in power allocation.

Thanks to new virtualization options and improving efficiencies in application and middleware software, storage capacity, processor performance, and cooling apparatuses, new data centers are being designed specifically to be efficient in terms of power utilization, space allocation and capital expenditure. 

In the past, organizations would temporarily solve power and cooling issues in data centers by simply spreading out the racks in the physical infrastructure across a larger floor space, Gartner said. But this trend is coming to an end because more servers are needed to handle the increasing deluge of data being stored. Floor space also is becoming a premium.

This is forcing organizations to cram more servers and storage arrays into existing server racks, thus causing increases in localized power and cooling demand.

"There is a real and growing desire to increase productivity in data centers," said Gartner Chief of Infrastructure Research Dave Cappuccio. "Organizations 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 realization that most IT assets are underutilized; for example, x86 servers are [generally] running at 12 percent utilization, racks are populated to 50 to 60 percent capacity, floor space is 'spread out' to disperse the heat load. It becomes clear that an efficiently designed and implemented data center can yield significant improvements."

Cappuccio said the trend toward higher-density cabinets and racks will continue through 2012, increasing both the density of compute resources on the data center 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 aisles, distributed equipment placement, specialty cooling and self-contained environments.

The researcher has two data center-related conferences coming up: the Gartner Data Center & IT Operations Summit 2010, Nov. 22 and 23 in London; and the Gartner Data Center Conference 2010, Dec. 6 and 7, in Las Vegas.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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