Forward vision 2015: Upcoming data centre trends #1 – Infrastructure efficiency comes of age by Ark Data Centres, 30th April 2015

We’re often asked to predict what the future holds for data centres. And while we don’t subscribe to crystal ball gazing, we are already building the data centres of the future.

So, here’s my first insight on what’s going to be hot for the coming months and beyond: the drive for energy efficiency will continue to be a key industry focus.

Sorry if you’re disappointed that I didn’t forecast a sexy new technology challenge – but some operational issues are too pressing to simply go away.

Over the past five years, industry movers and shakers have driven new standards in power usage effectiveness (PUE) reduction, pursuing rigorous new approaches to improving data centre infrastructure energy efficiency.

At Ark, for example, we’ve elevated mechanical and electrical (M&E) considerations from an art to a science and implemented a range of best practices and technologies to take data centre lighting, heating, cooling and power distribution to new levels. As a result, 85% of the annual energy used in an Ark data centre today directly supports the IT load.

And that’s where the next big push will be – driving energy efficiency in the IT infrastructure itself. As responsibility for energy efficiency increasingly falls on the shoulders of the IT manager, synchronising processing loads with server power and cooling demand will demand new ways of working.

The consequences of this redirection of emphasis include:

  • Data centre managers and IT managers will need to work collaboratively together, using integrated building management systems (BMS), energy management systems (EMS) and data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) tools to drive, demonstrate and report energy efficiency
  • IT power demand will no longer be flat – instead it will become dynamic as server applications ramp up and down and the data centre infrastructure responds to these changes with no loss in energy efficiency or service
  • Capacity management in terms of space, power and cooling will become more challenging, necessitating the use of DCIM tools to monitor IT asset performance, drive replacement and upgrade policies and predict demand growth.

In the future we’ll see the evolution of software-enabled data centres that integrate M&E and IT infrastructures much more closely. What’s more, the working relationship between data centre managers and IT managers will be increasingly pivotal to achieving measurable operational outcomes that achieve a delicate balance between energy use, cost and performance.

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