Emerging trends in datacenter design will mean that new datacenters should be able to provide a 300 percent growth in capacity in 60 percent less space than existing deployments, according to analyst firm Gartner. Key enabling trends will be power utilization, space allocation, and capital expenditure improvements
"There is a growing desire to increase productivity in datacenters," said Dave Cappuccio, chief of infrastructure research at Gartner. "Organizations are starting to take a serious look at consumption ratios of 'compute power to energy consumed' and then compare them against estimated productivity of applications and the equipment to deliver that application. Couple this with the realization that most IT assets are underutilized — for example, x86 servers are running at 12 percent utilization, racks are populated to 50 to 60 percent capacity, floor space is ‘spread out’ to disperse the heat load — it becomes clear that an efficiently designed and implemented datacenter can yield significant improvements."
Traditionally, Gartner suggests that organizations have taken steps mitigate the power and cooling issues in datacenters by spreading out the physical infrastructure across a larger floor space, but this trend is coming to an end as more servers are needed and floor space is becoming a premium. This is forcing organizations to more densely populate existing server racks and as a result driving an increase in localized power and cooling demand.
Cappuccio said the trend toward higher-density cabinets and racks will continue unabated through 2012, increasing both the density of compute resources on the datacenter floor and the density of both power and cooling required to support them. Gartner foresees that this issue will move up the corporate food chain as executives realize that the substantial energy costs for IT today are but a fraction of what future costs will be at current growth rates.
"The days of idle machines sitting on the datacenter floor during off-peak hours will be a thing of the past. At current energy rates, a 40kW rack could cost upward of $5,400 per server, per year," Cappuccio said.