Energy costs are now the top priority for data centre operators

Inthepress:Energycostsarenowthetoppriorityfordatacentreoperators

LastupdatedonJune24th,2019

Thechangeinapproachhasbeenswift。

“Energycostsarenowthenumberonepriorityfordatacentreoperators,”saysBrianMurray,strategistforthetechnologyservicesprovider2e2。

“It’snotjustaboutthecostofpower–it’saboutcapacityconstraintsandsecurityofsupply。

Weareseeingmoreandmorecommunicationsproviders,forexample,chargingperkilowattratherthanperrackunit。



AlastairMcAulay,infrastructureexpertwithPAConsultingGroup,concurs:“Datacentreoperatorsarethinkingseriouslyabouttheseissues。

Itissomethingwehavetolookatverycarefully。

”Thisyearwaswheninformationtechnologybudgetswereexpectedtofindnewlife。

Somelimitedgrowthhadbeenexpected,buttheEuropeandebtcrisisandthethreatofdouble-diprecessionthrewthatintodoubt。

Forrester,theconsultancy,saysgrowthhasnowstalled。

ColtisatelecomscompanythathasexpandedintoITservicesmanagement。

BernardGeoghegan,executivevice-presidentofColtdatacentreservices,says:“It’sdifficultforchiefinformationofficerstoday。

Theyareexpectedtocutcostswhilehelpingtoexpandthebusinessintoothermarkets。

FewbusinessesaregoingtointernationalisewithoutITbehindthatexpansion。



AnimmediateconsiderationforCIOs,therefore,iswhethertobuildtheirowndatacentreoroutsourceITtoathirdparty。

“Rightnow,”saysMrMcAulay,“people–atleastintheprivatesector–aremoreinclinedtogotothemarket,ratherthanbuildtheirown。



ThecurrentbalanceintheUKisabout70:30infavourofowningyourown,butthepictureischanging,albeitslowly。

MattHawkins,managingdirectorofC4L,theUK’slargestprivatelyowneddatacentrenetwork,isquicktopointoutthesubstantialcostsofrunningafullyresilientdatacentre。

Theyincludethecostsofhavingengineersandsecuritystaffonsitesevendaysaweekinadditiontoinsurance,maintenance,fuel,uninterruptiblepowersuppliesandhigh-capacitycommunicationslinks–allofwhichhavetobemirroredformaximumpeaceofmind。

AccordingtoMrHawkins,thetheoreticalbreak-evenpointforbuildingyourownversusoutsourcingis400ormorephysicalserversor10,000virtualservers。

RiccardoDegliEffetti,datacentremanagerforRackspaceUK,saysthebestwaystoreducedatacentreoperatingandenergycostsaretoadheretobestpractice,tomakeeffectiveuseofautomation,andtoemployvirtualisationandcloudcomputing。

Virtualisation–essentiallyrunninganumberofoperatingsystemsandapplicationsonthesameserver–isoneofthemosteffectivewaystocutcosts,improvingutilisationofaserverbyonaverage10times。

Thecloudcomputingmodelbestdescribedas“payasyougo”shiftspaymentsfromcapitalexpendituretooperationalexpenditurewithaconcomitantreductionincarbonfootprint。

DavidLeyland,directorofdatacentresolutionsforDimensionData,theservicesgroup,arguesforunification,whichhedescribesasthe“goldstandard”forcomputingtoday。

“Thisiswhereallthesystemelements–server,switchingandstorage–worktogetherinacoordinatedmannerfromasinglemanagementwindow,allowingthepeaksandtroughsofdemandtobeaccommodatedsimplyandoptimally。

“Thesesolutionsareofferedbyanumberofmanufacturersworkinginconsortiums。

Thecustomerbuysbalancedconfigurationsofallsystemselementsin‘pods’or‘blocks’。

Withthesesolutions,utilisationlevelsof70percentormorearecommon。



Datacentres,ingeneral,havebenefitedfromnewandbettertechnology。

“Manyorganisationsaresweatingoldassetsinthebeliefthattheyaresavingcapitalexpenditureandnotincurringadditionaloperationalexpenditure,”saysRobertRutherford,chiefexecutiveofQuoStarSolutions,theITservicesproviderandconsultancy。

“Inreality,olderserversaremorepower-hungry,notaspowerfulandcanintroduceriskintothebusiness。

Youwouldbesurprisedhowquicklyyoucouldgetareturnwithanew,efficientinfrastructure。



Therehasbeenarevolutionincooling。

Ice-coldcomputerroomsarerapidlybecomingathingofthepast。

Freshair,cleanedbyfiltersanddrivenbyfans,isthewayofthefuture。

MrGeogheganofColtsaysthatin2010thecompanyusedonlyeighthoursofauxiliarycoolingtoaugmentitsfresh-airsystems。

Coltprefabricatesdatacentresoff-site,deliveringthefinishedproducttothecustomer。

ThecomputingservicesgroupCapgeminihascreatedadatacentrecalledMerlin,whichusesfresh-aircoolingtoreducerunningcostsby80percentandcarbonemissionsby50percent。

PaulAnderson,Capgemini’sprogrammedirectorforglobalinfrastructureoutsourcing,claimspowersavingsof91percentcomparedwiththeindustryaverageandapowerutilisationeffectivenessof1。

1(PUEistheratioofthepowerusedincomputingtothepowerusedbytheentirecentre)。

Youcould,ofcourse,siteyourcentreinacoldcountrysuchasNorwayorIcelandtotakeadvantageofcoldambientairandcheaphydroelectricityorgeothermalenergy。

Some,housedinformerNatobunkersarereallyverysecure。

Source:FT。