Firms failing in datacentre provision

Organisations challenged when coping with the intense power and cooling demands of modern hardware

A survey by the Aperture Research Institute (ARI) of more than 600 datacentre facilities worldwide has shown that datacentres are aging and companies are not planning ahead or demonstrating timely investment in new datacentres.


ARI surveyed more than 100 datacentre professionals in the finance, healthcare, government, retail, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications industries and sought to  highlight the management challenge faced by datacentre managers that are increasingly responsible for more disparate and numerous operations.


More than a third (38%) of the companies surveyed currently operates more than six datacentres and over a quarter (28%) has over ten facilities and an identical number of organisations surveyed said that their current datacentre was built over four years ago, which says ARI reflects the challenge a lot of organisations have when coping with the intense power and cooling demands of modern hardware such as high-density blade servers and virtualisation technologies.


In what is seen as a worrying trend, the majority of those surveyed, almost two-thirds (64%), admitted they were not planning or building new datacentres.  The remainder, just over one third (36%), had predicted the demand for scaling with their operations and are building and/or planning new datacentres.


Analysing the results, Steve Yellen, Principal of the Aperture Research Institute said, “The average time required to plan and build a new datacentre is typically three or more years, which leads us to a worrying conclusion about the future of datacentres and the impact of this lack of foresight. Datacentre managers are already facing day-to-day challenges on managing increasingly complex technologies in old facilities. But adding new technology to an aging environment is like building a high-rise office complex in a rural town.


“The small town, like a legacy datacentre, cannot support the infrastructure requirements for the office complex to operate efficiently and the occupants will never realise the benefits of the upgrade they expected. Installing state-of-the-art equipment in an aging facility will limit the benefits that can be delivered by the new technology, and in some cases, will overload the infrastructure to the point of failure.”


Despite the age and unreadiness of current datacentres, the survey identified an investment in high density computing with over four-fifths (87%) of organisations having introduced blade servers.


Of survey respondents that were building a datacentre, more than a quarter

(26%) were anticipating a build time of between two and three years before the centre would go live, while 15% had planned more than three years for builds.


Power demands, one of the challenges that is creating much discussion about and within the datacentre industry, is showing little sign of slowing down. More than half (57%) of all respondents with current datacentre builds, say their datacentre will consume between one and five megawatts, with the same level of consumption being expected by those with planned builds (55%). Almost a quarter (22%) of planned builds will operate between five and ten megawatts.

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