Data Center Power and Cooling Needs Quickly Outgrowing Current Solutions

July 01, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

The explosion of data generated and used by corporations, organizations, and individuals today places constant demands on data centers, from space constraints to power usage, cooling loads, and physical security. These findings appear in a new study conducted by sponsored by Siemens Infrastructure and Cities Sector. According to the results, most executives feel that their organization’s data centers will run out of power, cooling, or space by the end of 2014. Efficient powering of IT and communications infrastructure will be the focus of the keynote address, “The Evolution of Energy Management” that will open Darnell’s Energy Summit, to be hosted in Dallas, Texas, September 9-13.

In a 2008 Siemens-sponsored study of data center energy efficiency, aging facilities were much less of a concern (only 15 percent) than lack of processing capacity (27 percent) or the risk of losing data (25 percent). Nowadays, aging facility infrastructure is a growing concern, with 31 percent of IT pros flagging this as their chief problem, followed by concerns about equipment issues, such as running out of processing headroom (27 percent) and the fear of losing data (15 percent). This highlighted another notable trend: the growing nexus between facilities management and IT management, areas that were traditionally treated as distinctly different silos within an organization.

With budgets being an issue, companies are focusing on major fixes and upgrades, rather than investing capital in new buildings. In fact, more than half of the IT executives said they were actively considering or moving forward with server consolidation, blade deployment, virtualization and outsourcing servers/storage, and installing more energy efficient equipment.

According to the DatacenterDynamics 2012 Global Census, there has been a 63 percent growth in global data center power requirements—causing most companies to prioritize the more efficient management of power and cooling costs. About 40 percent of IT executives surveyed say that their organizations have taken steps toward making their data centers greener, and another 40 percent surveyed say they would like to go in this direction.

Yet a surprisingly large number of respondents—almost half—had no idea what percentage of their data center's total cost of ownership is comprised of energy costs. IT professionals are aware of how to make data centers greener, according to the research; however, they often fail to track critical metrics like PUE, KPIs, or cost of energy as closely or consistently as they should.

“We demand all information on every device we own, everywhere we go. Fast. To accommodate, industries are not only demanding more power than ever, but they are seeking new levels of efficiency in the power chain and new, more environmentally responsible sources of generation,” Keynote presenter, D. Scott Barbour, Executive Vice President, Emerson, and Business Leader, Emerson Network Power Systems observed. “Once disparate industries from IT to telecommunications to content delivery, are converging at record pace. Energy delivery and management, too, has become a melting pot. Both AC and DC power are viable options in facilities of all types and are bringing new energy-saving possibilities to micro grids. And the intelligence to see and control that energy use doesn’t stop at the outlet. Smart Grid innovations are magnifying the energy savings made possible by the visibility and control now possible within a building’s walls. My keynote at Darnell’s Energy Summit will look at today’s rapidly changing energy management landscape and provide a glimpse into what may come next,” Barbour concluded.