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Firms must see green datacentres as living organisms, says Gartner

Antony Savvas

Analyst Gartner says a true green datacentre means more than energy efficiency being considered by firms. To be successful, firms must see a green datacentre as a "living organism".

"If 'greening' the datacentre is the goal, power efficiency is the starting point but this is not sufficient on its own," said Gartner analyst Rakesh Kumar.

"Green requires an end-to-end, integrated view of the datacentre, including the building, energy efficiency, waste management, asset management, capacity management, technology architecture, support services, energy sources and operations," he said.

Legacy datacentres, constructed in the last decade are, in relative terms, functionally obsolete when addressing green IT, he said.

New, high-density, power-hungry datacentre equipment warrants more advanced power and cooling capabilities, said Kumar. If they are not fully aware of the problem, datacentre managers run the risk of doubling their energy costs between 2005 and 2011.

"If we assume that datacentre energy costs continue to double every five years, they will have increased 1,600% between 2005 and 2025," he said.

"Datacentre managers need to think differently about their datacentres. Tomorrow's datacentre is moving from being static to becoming a 'living organism', where modelling and measuring tools will become one of the major elements of its management.

"It will be dynamic and address a variety of technical, financial and environmental demands, and will be modular to respond quickly to demands for floor space. In addition, it will need to have some degree of flexibility, to run workloads where energy is cheapest and above all be highly-available, with 99.999% availability," Kumar said.

Gartner says that achieving an optimised, reliable and efficient datacentre environment requires a holistic and integrated approach, which can be broken down into six stages:

1) Pick the location according to a strategic facility strategy. High-bay, warehouse-type buildings provide more efficient rack layout and airflow

2) Develop the site on a modular basis

3) Include chillers and high-ventilation air conditioning units (HVACS).Build all new large facilities with chilled fluid plumbing at the outset

4) Introduce some recycling and alternative energy sources

5) Put in monitoring tools

6) Manage the server efficiencies.Move away from the "always on" mentality and look at powering equipment down

Kumar said, "In this way, datacentres will become more energy efficient, be better for the environment and use emerging green IT products and processes. In essence, this 'living organism' datacentre will be the green datacentre."

Gartner analysts will examine the concept of the datacentre as a living organism at the firm's Data Center Summit in Amsterdam this week.

Green datacentres to proliferate >>

Measuring the datacentre's power >>


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