Caleb Tennis Data center electricity economics

April 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

data center cabinetsGreg Ness has a great posting about the “new” economics of the data center, especially around electricity. In it, he sums up the thoughts of a few other leads in the data center world that server densities of replaced capital equipment are getting high enough that most legacy data centers simply cannot support those needs.

As we move to more powerful blade servers and virtualization and cloud, what happens to all of those data centers built more than say 5 years ago?

Excellent point, Greg.

Current server infrastructure is already quite dense, and we have nowhere to go but up.  In our data center, we have customers running 20kW of usable power to cabinets.  Is that the upper threshold, or will that number continue to creep up?

Data centers face two issues: the first is just having enough power capacity to be able to meet the needs of their customers.  Many are maxed out already, and those that are close to capacity make bad choices for customers who may need that capacity in another year or two, when it’s gone.

The second is the cooling factor, and this one is the much more difficult one for the data center, because cooling infrastructure takes up a lot of physical space, has to be thought out ahead of time, and is an expensive capital build.

We do think that the electrical aspect will be the most important one for data centers of the next few years, and that legacy data centers simply will not be able to keep up with the increased electrical loads and cooling demands.

If you agree, you should definitely check out our whitepaper on metered power and how it’s beneficial to you as a customer when buying large amounts of power from a data center.

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