Energy and cooling expenses will grow eight times faster than the amount of money spent on purchasing new servers through 2010, says research company, International Data Corporation (IDC).
In addition, changes in power supply and cooling in data centres will have a serious impact on both users and suppliers of data centre solutions. Due to technology changes in the industry and business demands, data centre requirements are changing fast. The majority of existing data centres are not suitable for operating high-density systems.
Data centre suppliers and operators must rethink and apply different strategies to integrate the new technologies. To exacerbate this situation, the number of data centre experts, who have the knowledge required by the technology of that time, will decrease by 2015 and this expertise will only be able to cover about half of the demand.
"IDC predicts that in 2010 the amount spent on cooling and powering the existing installed base of servers will be over 70% of what is spent on purchasing new servers," warns Rodney Callaghan, MD: southern Africa, APC by Schneider Electric. "We could say that the data centre design methodology of yesterday, the conventional server technologies and today's requirements together will form the greatest IT challenge of tomorrow."
Information systems provide an increasingly ubiquitous network within the companies and offer services in new fields. Using this network, companies can provide faster and better services to their customers. The emerging and broadening information services also induce changes in data centres; they require more servers and processors, higher network and storage capacity.
Due to these changes, IT professionals face the following challenges: Speed and agility: The world of business that requires increasingly faster response relies increasingly on information systems that allow investment to grow with revenue. Impact on the infrastructure: modular and scalable solutions are needed for power supply and cooling.
Footprint, rental costs, and expansion possibilities: More equipment requires more floor space and constant expansion of data centres. The costs associated with occupied areas limit expansion possibilities, and in several cases, server rooms cannot be enlarged due to the lack of free space in the building. Impact on the infrastructure: higher power consumption, higher power density and overheating problems when using conventional cooling methods.
Security requirements, availability: The increasing amount of stored data, threats entering through e-mails, fear of terrorism and higher availability requirements demand more secure systems with higher availability. This trend is also fuelled by different requirements, regulations and internal policies (Basel 2, SOX, BCP BCP: Business Continuity Plan, DRP DRP: Disaster Recovery Plan, etc.) The fastest possible restoration after an unplanned downtime is becoming an even more important factor not only for information systems, but also for server infrastructure: instead of MTBF (Meantime Between Failures), MTTR (Meantime To Repair) is becoming the first priority. Impact on the infrastructure: emergence of easily reparable modular solutions, increased demand for comprehensively manageable equipment.
Cost reduction: Companies try to reduce their costs by cutting back on the expenditure related to employment, electricity and reducing floor space and amount of physical hardware devices. The energy costs can be significantly decreased by applying virtualisation technologies on several fields. Impact on the infrastructure: high-density devices require unconventional cooling and infrastructure devices have to be manageable.
Infrastructure challenges: High-density servers can generate high heat load on a much smaller place compared to equipment manufactured a few years ago. In addition, virtualisation technologies increase the average capacity utilisation five or six-fold, causing cooling problems to arise much earlier than power supply problems. The challenges of high-density cooling include separation of cool and warm air, increasing the efficiency of cooling, ensuring heat removal and possibilities for comprehensive manageability and predictive troubleshooting.