Building towards the data centre of the future – transparent management
The data centre is increasingly the focus for the need to deliver greater value from IT at lower cost. Over the past 12 months, facility managers and CIOs have felt the constant daily pressure to improve operational efficiency and deliver availability and scalability, but to do so with fewer resources. We have witnessed significant trends over the past year which has seen the emergence of new monitoring tools and some equipment operating standards that could have considerable impact on daily operations.
The turbulent economy, budget cuts and the constant pressure to manage a date centre whilst keeping costs down has seen the industry look for innovative ways to power and operate the data centre efficiently. Because of this, usual measures such as power usage effectiveness (PUE) are now outdated by a more integrated approach such as data centre infrastructure monitoring (DCIM). IT professionals and facility managers alike are beginning to demand a new level of transparency and awareness when it comes to data centre management going into 2012.
ASHRAE thermal guidelines
A change towards server operating temperatures will be a significant trend in 2012, impacting on energy, running costs, and the green credentials of facilities.
The release of ASHRAE’s 2011 Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments include guidelines for running certain types of data centers at hotter operating temperatures and humidity levels than previously recommended. Over the next 12 months the industry will witness the implementation with manufacturers such as Dell and HP leading the way. The guidelines, if properly implemented, could pave the way for increased savings in the data centre with the upper limit raised to 40╦?C.
Chris Smith says: “The ASHRAE guidelines will allow the use of ‘fresh air cooling’ in the most densely populated climates. This will bring big CAPEX and OPEX savings but will require a change of mind-set within the white space. Data centre equipment in the UK could eventually run much hotter than ‘traditional’ power and cooling practice.”
The ASHRAE guidelines could well be a ‘game changer’ for the data centre industry and in conjunction with technologies such as fresh air cooling could lead to significant savings and greener IT.
Data centre infrastructure management (DCIM)
Data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) has already been a hot trend for 2011, but will become a more accepted approach to managing infrastructures over the next year as IT managers – pressured increasingly by C-level executives - demand to see energy metrics at more integrated level. According to industry analysts, Gartner, DCIM will jump from its current 1 per cent market penetration to more than 60 per cent by 2015.
Major data centre equipment manufacturers such as HP and Dell have taken notice of this new thinking, and, in the last two years, both vendors have either developed or redesigned their own platforms to support this emerging demand for hotter running equipment. As the industry begins to move away from ‘first generation’ measures like PUE, DCIM will help monitor the power usage of separate processes and even monitor power usage down to the individual server level.
This shift means that IT professionals can start to plan and achieve in-depth analysis of how data centre power is being used, therefore allowing corporate decision-makers to analyse equipment usage and power uptake trends in their data centres, to identify where they can make operational changes to reduce energy waste. This opportunity will detect the business unit which uses the most energy, and in turn, helps change behaviour. DCIM is critical because it provides all the information necessary to run an efficient and cost-effective data centre and provides clear metrics to present to board level executives.
Businesses’ rapid adoption of Cloud Computing is changing traditional IT operations and data centres. Throughout 2011 many businesses have considered the cloud as there are potential benefits including business agility and optimum energy efficiency. According to global technology trends researched by IBM, 75 per cent of data centre organisations will build cloud infrastructures within the next two years.
With Cloud being used by more and more corporations, facility managers will have the potential to do more with less. However issues such as security, compatibility with existing applications and privacy still remain concerns for facility managers. Big player IT vendors and manufactures have seen this as a potential area to build cloud infrastructures that are security safe and supportive of existing infrastructure. Having the ability to consolidate server space within the data centre is a huge advantage.
As we move into 2012, the Cloud is becoming a more dominant force within the IT industry as massive investments in new data center technologies and computing clouds are leading to unprecedented efficiencies. Simply put, clouds are less expensive to operate, consume less energy, and have higher utilisation rates than traditional data centres. As a result, the transition to the cloud will continue to accelerate, and much of the work done today in internal data centers will be outsourced to the cloud by the end of the decade.
Tags: Design & Facilities Management, Applications, Hosting & Colocation, Power & Cooling, Security, Storage Networking