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7 ways green sensibilities will affect future data center infrastructure purchases

Is your team still ignoring or resisting the potential of green IT when it invests in new data center infrastructure? Well, that ship has sailed.
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Is your team still ignoring or resisting the potential of green IT when it invests in new data center infrastructure? Well, that ship has sailed. Close to 30 percent of the data center infrastructure spend by 2015 will be explicitly focused on technologies and software that have energy efficiency twist, according to cleantech research firm Pike Research. The total spend on data centers is estimated at $150 billion.

In a new report called "Green Data Centers," Pike Research says the following sensibilities are likely to reshape the way that data center managers think about future investments. So, even if you still scoff at the word green and couldn't care a hoot about decreasing your power consumption because you aren't "accountable," you're going to be forced to think about green technology -- if for no other reason than your suppliers and vendors are reshaping their portfolios to account for energy efficiency, environmentally sound sourcing choises and what happens to all this stuff when we are done with it.

Here are 7 things you should think about:

  1. Moore's Law - Do you REALLY need to change out equipment every three years just because a depreciation schedule tells you to do so? With all respect to Gordon Moore, who is probably the most humble, gracious high-tech executive I have ever had the honor to meet, businesses need to rethink when it is a legitimate time to increase their computing power. Cloud computing, with its ability to push IT spending from a capital expenditure format into an operational expense consideration, will also affect upgrade cycles.
  2. Virtualization - You're all already doing this for your servers. Now, what about your storage and networking gear? There is so much farther we can go to get rid of unnecessary hardware.
  3. One-for-one cooling and power - This is my way of describing the push for power and cooling infrastructure to be more closely aligned with the IT infrastructure it supports. So, we only have as much power and cooling as we need. Not some mega-huge cooling infrastructure that is meant to accommodate peak loads. Sure, you still need to handle the peak, but why shouldn't your power and cooling scale along with your IT infrastructure.
  4. Management - This is that mysterious science we've all been longing for forever. Management, and automation of certain tasks, will continue to push the envelope over the next four years. The tricky part is that virtualization exacerbates this challenge.
  5. Visibility - This kind of fits with the management theme. Basically, it's the idea that business departments and executives should have a more granular view into the exact costs of their IT infrastructure. This is another reason that cloud is becoming more more interesting -- because it allows that view and flexibility. At least in theory.
  6. New performance metrics - The Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating is just the start of better visibility.
  7. Modularity - The modular data center is here to stay, because it allows for much more flexibility in provisioning and procurement. So, the way you design your data center has been forever altered. Deal with it and figure out how it will help your team.

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