Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Data Centers: The Heat Is On

Suddenly, IT managers are dealing with a hot topic: Electricity and cooling costs are eating into server managers' budgets as vendors pack more processing power into smaller spaces. From switching on the AC to basing installations on newer, lower-power processor lines, smart server managers can realize serious savings by managing factors that affect electric and cooling bills.

A year ago, the costs of electricity and cooling were so neglected that they appeared in only 2 per cent of data center managers' budgets, according to Paul Miller, VP of Marketing for HP's Proliant blade servers. Today, 20 per cent of such managers find these expenses coming out of their pockets, not the general facilities management budget. Similar accountability will fall upon half of server managers by year's end, he predicts.

"Power and cooling requirements are a big issue. Some customers tell us it's their fastest-growing cost in data centers," says Miller. "One hundred per cent of my customers ask about it in my presentations, and we often spend 30 minutes on the subject."

Data centers' power consumption rose 25 per cent over the past four years, announced a panel of experts at Liebert's Incredible Universe conference in October. Moreover, electricity is becoming more scarce in certain markets. "A lot of data centers are capped out on their power availability," says Miller. "London and New York City in particular are power and air (conditioning) constrained."

So common are these constraints becoming that HP and other hardware vendors devote considerable effort to helping customers overcome them. "In every data center project, HP has teams that help customers plan for the power and cooling ceilings they face," says Miller.

  • 1