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Structural Issues

8:00 AM -- Byte and Switch recently hooked up with Bill Clifford, CEO of Aperture Technologies Inc. , which offers software to visualize and manage the physical aspects of a data center -- cooling, power consumption, space, and the like.

"Our hypothesis is that just about every data center built is obsolete," he says. Data growth at present levels will soon force even the most stubborn ostriches out there to acknowledge their plight. We're running out of space and power to get it all done.

It's not a new admonition. The power, cooling, and space problems caused by burgeoning data management gear have been cited by 365 Main Inc. and other service providers as key to sizeable growth. Not to mention the "green movement" that's underway in IT, spurred by power grid concerns, and boosted by a rebate program initiated by a West Coast utility. (See 365 Main and Copan Pushes Power Savings.)

Back to Aperture, whose Vista software depicts overhead schematics of data centers, with racks color coded (green, red, and yellow) to indicate their power consumption. Floor space and cooling is also monitored and incorporated into a sophisticated, multiview package that includes a database of info on roughly 30,000 pieces of IT equipment, including servers, storage arrays, and switches.

Here's a prediction: This kind of tool -- and the kind of planning this tool represents -- will become increasingly important in the near term, as issues of power come to the fore on the government and business fronts. A time is coming when it won't be optional to have your environmental act together at the corporate level.

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