Data Centers Could Run Out Of Space, Power By 2014

Submitted by: Phil Riebel 07/04/2013

Skyrocketing amounts of data create such constant demands that most executives feel some of their organizations’ data centers will run out of power, cooling, or space by the end of 2014, according to a study by Siemens, UBM Tech and Information Week Marketing Services.

Energy Manager Today - July 1, 2013

Skyrocketing amounts of data create such constant demands that most executives feel some of their organizations’ data centers will run out of power, cooling, or space by the end of 2014, according to a study by Siemens, UBM Tech and Information Week Marketing Services. However, because of budget issues, most respondents will not invest in new data centers, but are planning on upgrading existing facilities.

The growing concerns about space constraints, power usage, cooling loads and physical security have led to a notable trend – the emerging nexus between facilities management and information technology management, two areas that were typically treated as distinct silos within an organization.

Conducted in April, the study takes an in-depth look at how IT decision makers rate the challenges they face, as they ramp up data centers to handle fast growing volumes of data. Among the key findings - 17 percent are actively planning or undertaking to build a new data center. However, over the next two years, 29 percent of respondents say they plan to perform a major upgrade on one or more data centers and
20 percent would consolidate data centers into fewer facilities. Meanwhile, 18 percent plan only to maintain their current data centers without significantly upgrading hardware.

Because of budget constraints, instead of investing capital in new buildings, study respondents are upgrading equipment, consolidating and refreshing hardware. More than half of the IT executives are actively considering moving forward with server consolidation, blade deployment, virtualization and outsourcing servers or storage, and installing more energy-efficient equipment.

Back in 2008, when Siemens sponsored a 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). But that’s changed.

Now, aging facility infrastructure is a growing concern, with 31 percent of IT professionals 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). It is this shift in concerns to overlapping issues that has led to common ground between IT and facilities departments.

According to the DatacenterDynamics 2012 Global Census, there has been a 63 percent growth in global data center power requirements, which has led most companies to make efficient management of power and cooling costs a priority. About 40 percent of IT executives surveyed said their organizations have taken steps toward making their data centers greener while another 40 percent surveyed said 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, but they often fail to track critical metrics like power usage effectiveness (PUE), key performance indicators or cost of energy as closely or consistently as they should, the survey found.

Like the Siemens study, another survey done last year by Emerson Network Power found that data center energy costs and equipment efficiency are at the top-of-mind issues for data center managers. When asked to identify their top three facility/network concerns, 48 percent of respondents cited energy efficiency, making it the leading response to the question for the first time since the survey began in 2005.