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Gartner: no relief for data center costs

'Significant disruptions'

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The future holds no comfort for data centers aching over energy consumption and floor space, predicts Gartner.

By 2011, more than 70 per cent of US enterprise data centers will face "significant disruptions" related to an apex of these mounting woes, the technology research firm says.

"CIOs of large US organizations must prepare for a period of rapid changes in their data centers," said Rakesh Kumar, research veep. "This disruption will be accompanied by a significant increase in capital and operational expenditures. Failure to respond quickly and appropriately to the changing market conditions and technologies will result in needlessly high energy bills, expensive service contracts and delays in implementing new technologies."

Gartner thinks more than 70 per cent of Global 1000 businesses will need to significantly modify their data center facilities during the next five years. The US will presumably take the biggest hit as it has the most large data centers (< 50,000 square feet), with the majority built more than seven years ago.

"These legacy data centers typically were built to a design specification of about 100 to 150 watts per square foot," said Kumar. "Current design needs are about 300 to 400 watts per square foot, and by 2011, this could rise to more than 600 watts per square foot."

Few current data centers will be able to manage the next wave of high-density equipment. Their owners will need to establish new sites, refurbish the data center, or look towards alternatives such as using a hosting provider, said Kumar.

Gartner's soothsaying derives from three issue already plaguing IT departments, which will combine to create the disruptions, according to the company. It is written:

  • Older data centers shalt lack power and cooling for the next generation of high-density server and storage gear.
  • IT infrastructure growth shall exceedith available floor space.
  • A need unto IT for managing rising energy costs through optimization tools and modeling techniques.

Over the next three or more years, mid-to-large sized data centers in the US will more frequently use data center hosting services, said Gartner. Although American IT teams have historically been reluctant to lease space remotely, the costs will change hearts, according to Gartner. It has already detected a shift in attitudes during the last nine months.

Gartner gives a plug for leasing data center space sooner, rather than later - it says the market is already supply constrained and a continued push will result in rapid cost increases.

Which, by the way, was the problem in the first place. ®

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