Do You Really Need More Data Centre Space?

As demand for data centres grows, relocation or expansion may seem the only option. However, it’s worth thinking more broadly about your needs: you may well be able to get more data centre capacity in your existing location.

Speaking on the subject of improving data centre capacity at the Gartner IT Infrastructure Operations & Data Center Summit today, Gartner analyst David Cappuccio (who obviously isn’t exhausted after yesterday) emphasised that many organisations over-estimate the amount of floor space needed. (I’m covering the event this week as part of our World Of Servers series.)

Rapid advances in technology make future planning difficult and mean we often overestimate space needs, he said. “In many cases performance growth rates surpass capacity needs.”

If you are considering a new data centre deployment, Cappucci advises not paying too much attention to your existing approach. “Don’t start with where you are; start with where you should be,” he said. “And don’t tell them what to build; tell them what you’re looking for.

It’s easy to underestimate just how much capacity can be implemented in a single rack with intelligent cooling and a careful approach to virtualisation. As an example, Cappuccio pointed out Gartner calculations which suggest it should be possible to fit 2744 physical servers running 24,600 images and storing 22 petabytes in a relatively small floor area of 418 square metres. “We’re not saying you should do this, but knowing this is possible should get you to start thinking about what you actually need.”

Getting funding for that redesign might be tricky, but as we’ve already noted this week, power costs could be your friend. “Energy savings could fund 80 per cent of your refresh,” Cappuccio said.

Lifehacker’s World Of Servers sees me travelling to conferences around Australia and around the globe in search of fresh insights into how server and infrastructure deployment is changing in the cloud era. This week, I’m in Sydney for the Gartner Infrastructure, Operations & Data Center Summit, looking for practical guidance on developing and managing your IT infrastructure and using virtualisation effectively.

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