Do You Need a New Data Center? Options for businesses that are outgrowing their critical infrastructure IT departments today are all about speed – adding more
A variety of solutions are available for upgrading and expanding
applications faster to satisfy voracious global appetites for mobile,
your critical infrastructure, including building a new data center,
social media, streaming video and other resource-intensive
but how do you know which option is best? Here are some
applications. These applications must be available, regardless
important questions you should consider that will help make
of their impact on critical infrastructure performance. If growth
the business case for whatever path you decide to take when
is stretching your resources too thin, you must take action to
you think you’re outgrowing your data center.
ensure availability. But because IT organizations are pressured to lower costs, you have to build an unassailable business case when deciding how to expand.
Have You Assessed and Optimized Your Existing Critical Infrastructure?
Server Virtualization According to the V-index, a measure of virtualization penetration by percent of servers from Veeam Software and Vanson Bourne, the virtualization rate
Most data centers offer much room for improvement. These questions will help you discover if yours is one of them.
as of Sept. 2011 was 38.9 percent. According to VMware, every server that is virtualized
• Are you following efficiency best practices that can add capacity? • Do you know that you’re getting everything you should from your assets; what are your utilization rates?
saves 7,000 kW of electricity and four tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
• Do you have dead servers sitting around wasting capacity?
• What percent of your servers are virtualized; can you boost that?
Responses to the Data Center Users Group Survey
• Are your racks as dense as they could be?
indicated that 37 percent (the highest percentage)
• Are you/can you take advantage of new, more efficient technologies?
currently operate at a server density of 4-8 kW and 32 percent will be at that same density for the next 2 years. While 2 percent operate at 12-16 kW now, 13
If you’re behind on adopting best practices, such as using power management features on servers and economization for cooling, you’re throwing away the chance to significantly increase efficiency, which gives you more power and cooling capacity. Further, adopting all 10 vendor-neutral strategies in Energy Logic 2.0 can help you reclaim up to 74 percent more power and cooling capacity as well as gain three to five times more compute capacity or resource productivity.
Server virtualization is also an effective way to gain capacity in an existing data center. If you’ve already virtualized, you may be able to go further. For example, increasing from 30 percent server virtualization to 60 percent can provide a 29 percent reduction in data center energy consumption. This gives you additional
percent believe they will achieve that density in the next 2 years.
Additional Resources Uptime Institute 2012 Data Center Industry Survey, Matt Stansberry and Julian Kudritzki.
When Should You Consider Building New?
power and rack space for growth. Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) can help you increase virtualization rates by providing visibility into how virtual servers are deployed and into the infrastructure capacity supporting those virtual servers: infrastructure capacity can be fully utilized without risking over provisioning.
Because you can take many actions short of building a new data center to improve your critical infrastructure, you may want to consider building new only as a last resort. Building new is expensive and difficult. A new data center can cost in the range of $17M per megawatt, with ways to push this down to $12M per megawatt (for example, through UPS utilization improvements). Factors such as getting a loan, finding a location and determining if you can get fiber optic cable all come into play. It can take three years before the new space is operational, and managing logistics for a move is challenging.
Companies have saved as much as 50 percent of data center energy just by virtualizing and turning off what they aren’t using. An idle server wastes nearly double the amount of energy it draws when you consider the resources that support it. Getting a handle on this wasted energy saves money and capacity. Do you know if all your servers are serving a purpose?
Still, there are times when building new is a good choice:
Additionally, increasing rack density increases efficiency and frees up capacity. Many businesses have increased density to 6-8kW per rack, but few have pushed it to 12-14kW per rack. More servers per rack means fewer racks taking up floor space or more racks to take on new servers. On the cooling side, if you upgrade your cooling systems to newer, more efficient technologies instead of going through the hassle of replacing them, you can get 50 to 100 percent more cooling capacity.
• Your business growth is through acquisition, and you need to consolidate a number of acquired data centers. You may have to build new to accommodate them. • You don’t have a disaster recovery site. You can build new and use the old facility for this purpose. • Your equipment is so old and poorly maintained that it’s not worth it to upgrade. Building new is an opportunity to take advantage of new, more efficient technologies.
In short, a comprehensive assessment of your existing infrastructure will find stranded and/or wasted capacity and inefficiencies that can be addressed by retrofitting.
Read this Playbook for Change to discover additional strategies and learn more about why and how to evaluate your critical infrastructure.
Is Using Co-lo or Cloud Infrastructure an Option for Your Organization? If optimizing your critical infrastructure doesn’t recover enough capacity, consider using someone else’s infrastructure. Options include: • Using a co-location facility for overflow. Some newer co-los offering dedicated suites provide more control than co-los with cages of shared resources. • Moving to the cloud. One strategy is to keep critical applications in-house, put the rest in the cloud, and get the best compute and space deal you can.
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Published on May 31, 2013