Energy-related costs account for approximately 12% of overall data centre expenditure and are the fastest-rising cost in the data centre, according to Gartner, Inc. Analysts said that data centre power, cooling and energy supply, and cost problems are likely to worsen during the next few years as organisations grow their technology infrastructure as they emerge from a recessionary period.
"With upwards of 5% growth for server shipments predicted per year over the next two years, organisations need to forcefully control their energy consumption and costs," notes Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner. "To do this, data centre operators need to measure energy-related data across the whole site, including the building, the facility's components and the IT equipment portfolio."
Gartner analysts said continuous power utilisation efficiency (PUE) readings will become the norm for most large data centres, and by 2015, 80% of new large data centres will report continuous PUE readings across the data centre.
"However, despite the wide availability of measurement tools, experts and consultants on the topic, data centre operators struggle with the best place to measure the energy in their data centres," says Kumar. "What is needed is a breakdown of the ideal approach to data centre energy management into a pragmatic approach that will provide sufficient information for most operational planning purposes."
To get a comprehensive, accurate and real-time record of the energy used in data centres, users need to measure across six areas: building, electrical facilities, building facilities, racks, IT hardware and virtual machines (VMs). By measuring across these areas, data centre operators can obtain a highly detailed, comprehensive and, in most cases, a real-time usage picture of the energy that is being consumed across the whole site.
Gartner recommends developing a pragmatic approach to data centre management, whereby the six areas are prioritised and divided into three main segments.
"Energy management across IT hardware, racks and electrical facilities should be tackled immediately, while measurements across data centre building facilities and buildings will be necessary mainly for hosting providers that want to charge customers specifically for energy usage," Kumar says. "Measurement across VMs will happen during the next four or more years, becoming relevant when users want to examine the energy associated with a workload and when that workload is running in a separate VM."
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