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Key Issues to Be Analyzed at Data Center Conference in Las Vegas NV, December 1-4
The energy, space and technology problems currently facing data center managers are set to worsen in 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. These issues will continue to plague users in 2010, and data center and IT managers need to find pragmatic ways in which to deal with them.
“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,” said Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner. “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.”
Gartner has identified the critical questions that managers need to focus on in order to overcome the challenges they face:
Is there a standardized way to break down my data center costs?
There is no single, standardized method to account for data center costs. Gartner advises users to define a chart of accounts that specifies all the cost elements that constitute the overall cost and the key portfolios or categories that are part of that cost.
Do you have any pragmatic tips for helping me to cut my data center costs?
Gartner has a number of suggestions:
1. Rationalize the Hardware. This involves taking out those systems that are underutilized or old, or where the workload can be run on more-efficient hardware. Gartner clients have reported that rationalization and consolidation programs have resulted in 5 percent to 20 percent fewer servers being deployed.
2. Consolidate Data Center Sites. Consolidating multiple sites into a smaller number of larger sites will often result in financial savings.
3. Manage Energy and Facilities Costs. Tools and techniques for managing the energy cost curve include: raising the temperature of the data center to around 24 degrees Celsius, which reduces the level of cooling required; using outside air as an alternative to air conditioning where possible; using hot aisle/cold aisle configurations, blanking and economizers; and using server-based energy management software tools to run workloads in the most energy-efficient way.
4. Manage the People Costs. People costs still form the single largest cost element for most data centers, sometimes as much as 40 percent of overall costs.
5. Sweat the Assets. Delaying the procurement of new assets is a necessary step for all data center managers, especially as a server’s useful life often exceeds its amortized life.
Should I start measuring the energy efficiency of my data center?
Energy management can be effective only through advanced monitoring, modeling and measuring techniques and processes. Metrics form the bedrock for internal cost and efficiency programs and Gartner urges data center managers and IT organizations to make this area a high priority, which will be essential for the adoption of so many new technologies and adherence to government policies.
What are the pitfalls of refurbishing my data center?
- Location of Current Data Center. Many businesses have data centers that have been acquired over many years through business growth and not all are ideally located — for example, some are in cities where labor costs are high. Companies need to evaluate the location of the data center in terms of labor rates, cost of energy and facilities and weight against security risks
- Life Span of Refurbished Data Center. The essential consideration is whether or not the site is large enough to accommodate growth, given the investments required to refurbish and the long-term scenarios that the organization has for data center servicing provision. The refurbished site must provide at least five years of capacity (physical, electrical and networking) to make the project worthwhile.
- Structural Work Needed. New facility components are expensive, but the real problem is in integrating new products in an existing building and with existing components. Companies should focus on the technical problems of integrating new facility components into an existing building, as well as evaluating whether it’s possible to keep the data center in action while renovations are carried out.
Gartner analysts will examine the key issues facing the data center industry at the Data Center Conference taking place December 1-4 in Las Vegas. The Gartner Data Center Conference is the most comprehensive compilation of sessions and advice on the future of the data center ever held. It offers the latest actionable insights and best practices in all areas affecting the data center — cloud computing, virtualization and real-time infrastructure, servers and storage and business continuity and disaster recovery. The Gartner Data Center Conference hits the critical spot between strategic planning and tactical advice for IT organizations as they look to implement new technologies into their data centers and maintain the most efficient data center they can. Additional information is available at www.gartner.com/us/datacenter. Members of the media can register to attend by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information is also available in the Gartner report “Q&A: Critical Issues Facing Data Center Managers.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1217721.
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