When you have a good drum and you are trying to get people to dance, you have to bang on it a lot. And so it is that IT consultancies and the trade press have been banging the drum concerning energy issues in the data centre. Like everyone else - including those at Datamonitor for that matter - the analysts at Gartner are trying to suss out the energy and space issues in data centres and give people advice on how to cope.
Back in December, Gartner made a prediction that by the end of 2008, 50% of the data centres in the world would not have enough power to meet the power and cooling requirements of the high-density computing gear that vendors are increasingly peddling. Last week, ahead of its eponymous symposium and IT expo in Orlando, Florida, Gartner is now predicting that by 2011, more than 70% of data centres in the United States will have 'tangible disruptions' because of energy and floor space constraints in their data centeres. The problem? We had legacy servers, and now we have legacy data centres.
"Legacy data centres typically were built to a design specification of about 100 to 150 watts per square foot," explains Rakesh Kumar, a research vice president at Gartner. "Current design needs are about 300 to 400 watts per square foot, and by 2011, this could rise to more than 600 watts per square foot. The implication is that most current data centres will be unable to host the next generation of high-density equipment, so CIOs will have to refurbish their established sites, build new ones, or look for alternatives, such as using a hosting provider."
Among the Global 1000 corporations, who operate the largest data centres in the world, Gartner expects that more than 70% of these companies will have to significantly modify their data centre facilities in the next five years, and the United States, which has the largest concentration of big, legacy data centres with more than 50 000 square feet of floor space, is facing the biggest issues since most of the data centres were build during or prior to the dot-com boom.
They simply cannot power and cool ultradense servers, storage, and networking gear. So companies may get stuck paying higher energy bills, delaying new technology rollouts, and having to outsource some of their IT to make it all work. Companies in the US have been reluctant to use hosting services, but in the past nine months, Gartner has detected a slight shift in the market, and now more companies are willing to consider this option, despite their security fears.