Customers Appreciate Foresight

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2006-07-30 Print this article Print

"Its nice to see such foresight, particularly when talking to a vendor," said Dawn Sawyer, operations manager for Dallas-based GuideStone Financial Resources.

GuideStone runs about 80 servers in an 827-square-foot data center, and cooling and power are growing issues, Sawyer said. The company brought in blade servers over the past couple of years but has since taken most out because they ran too hot.

For Crossmark Holdings, a business services company in Plano, Texas, power is a bigger concern than cooling. The company has engineered its 3,000-square-foot data center to handle cooling needs, but in July Crossmark—which uses plenty of 1U (1.75-inch) and blade servers—had to bring in extra power cables. "Hopefully well be good for 18 months, but well see," said Charles Orndorff, vice president of infrastructure services at Crossmark.

Earlier this year, AFCOM, an association of data center managers, and its Data Center Institute conducted a survey of its 3,000 members. Among resulting predictions were that by 2010 more than half of all data centers will have to relocate to new facilities or outsource some applications.

Another was that over the next five years, data center operations at 90 percent of businesses will be interrupted by power failures or power limitations.

AFCOM President Jill Eckhaus said such findings make it crucial for vendors such as HP to take a hard look at what theyre doing to address such issues. Both she and Sawyer, who also serves on the Data Center Institutes board of directors, said the work vendors are doing now—from building more efficient processors to adding features to systems that help deal with power and cooling—is a step in the right direction. Having people such as Daniels thinking of entirely new scenarios also is important. Its going to take a combination of traditional offerings and new models to address the issues, particularly power, which Eckhaus said is the "No. 1 issue in data centers right now."

The U.S. Senate is next in line to take up the issue of power consumption in data centers. Click here to read more.

However, work must be done within budget constraints, which means wholesale adoption of entirely new models probably isnt feasible in the short term. But Daniels said he sees these changes happening in an evolutionary fashion over a number of years. Eckhaus said that makes sense.

"Theres not just one solution and probably wont be just one solution," said Eckhaus in Orange, Calif. "What HP is doing is important, and I think every vendor should do what theyre doing."

Senior Writer Chris Preimesberger contributed to this report.

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