Data Center Power, Space Costs Will Increase in 2010: Gartner

Gartner analysts say that the data center problems that have been plaguing businesses for years-including power, cooling and spaces costs-will only get worse in 2010, and that data center managers need to proactively deal with the issues. Gartner urged businesses to monitor and measure power use, get rid of old or underutilized servers and consolidate data centers.

The problems of power, cooling and space costs that have dogged data center administrators over the past few years will only get worse in 2010, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Given that, the onus will be put on the data center managers to figure out how to soften the blow on their companies, Gartner analysts said Nov. 24.

In a report issued Nov. 24, the analysts said businesses need to be proactive in dealing with rapidly rising costs. The report comes a week before Gartner hosts its Data Center Conference in Las Vegas Dec. 1-4.

"Energy costs are the fastest-rising cost element in the data center portfolio, and yet data center managers are still not paying sufficient attention to the process of measuring, monitoring and modeling energy use in data centers," Gartner analyst Rakesh Kumar said in a statement. "They need to realize that removing a single x86 server from a data center will result in savings of more than $400 a year in energy costs alone."

Data center administrators can take a number of steps to reduce costs in their IT facilities, including taking a look at the hardware being used to determine which systems are old or no longer useful. Gartner said that businesses have reported that such hardware rationalization has lead to 5 to 20 percent reductions in the number of servers being used.

In addition, companies should consolidate the number of data centers they're running, and use the various tools and techniques available for reducing power costs. Those range from increasing the temperature in the data center to reduce the amount of cooling necessary, using outside air when possible rather than air conditioning, and using the multiple tools and technologies offered by server makers to reduce the power consumed by the systems.

The analysts also said data center managers need to keep people costs under control and delay the purchases of newer systems if the ones in place are doing the job efficiently.

Businesses also need to take a look at their overall data center strategy. If a data center is located in an area with high labor or energy costs, data center managers should consider moving the facility to a placer with lower costs, Gartner said.

In addition, data center administrator should determine how long a refurbished facility will last. The analysts suggested ensuring that refurbished data centers offer at least five years of physical, electrical and networking capacity to make any renovation project worthwhile.

Another challenge is bringing new technologies and components into an existing data center. Data center managers need to work out the technical problems of bringing new components into their facilities and determine whether they can keep the data center up and running while renovations are being done, Gartner said.

The analysts also suggested that data center administrators make monitoring and measuring of energy use in the facility be a priority.