Data center power underappreciated in aging UK

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No matter how virtual the data center environment may be, data storage, access, retrieval and crunching require the juice to drive it. And according to a study by Research Now, commissioned by Cable & Wireless and written by Morris Pentel, chairman of the customer experience foundation, the U.K. may be underestimating the power requirements of new data centers.

Power has become the leading cost for operating data centers, according to the report, which said many organizations do not take it seriously enough and lose a significant percentage of profit through power inefficiency.

At the same time, there is substantial growth in U.K. data centers. Taking this trend and the lack of power efficiency together, if proven, our research would indicate that the problem will only get worse, and organizations need to plan for a more efficient future, the report noted.

Power efficiency technology is outpacing the growth of data centers and making them comparatively inefficient in as little as three years, the report said.

Many of these organizations are turning to the use of co-location data centers rather than building their own facilities. Co-location data center solutions provide the opportunity for organizations to outsource their own data center requirements with as little or as much external support as they wish. It's also true that, in challenging economic conditions, there is a strong case to rent rather than build, allowing often large up-front capital expense to be replaced with predictable operating costs.

55 percent of respondents in a survey for the report say they will need to increase data center capacity over the next two years, with strong growth in the requirement for physical servers (38 percent) and virtual servers (61 percent.) But as they do so, they aren't seeing the opportunity to reduce costs through PUE--or Power Utilization Effectiveness--improvements, as a priority.

Only 21 percent of respondents are fully aware of their power costs and more than half of companies review their energy costs less than once per year.

With big data ascending as the next big opportunity for improving the customer experience, the report said personalized advertising, services and content will become the standard operating model for large organizations over the next five years, with as much as 50 percent of advertising being personalized by 2016.

This too has power implications. New capacity in virtual and physical servers may be required and the number of applications running on them will increase significantly. Although many organizations are aware of these increases, they are not yet planning for the real increase in the data these applications will need, the report said.

38 percent of survey respondents expect a growth in physical servers. However, 38 percent expect no change and 23 percent expect a reduction. The latter two may be due in part to an increase in co-location and offsite storage.

And when it comes to co-location, the survey identified communications service providers (38 percent) as the most reliable, credible and lowest cost partners, over systems integrators and IT companies (28 percent), hosting companies (13 percent) and co-location providers themselves (13 percent).

For more:
- see the full Cable & Wireless report

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