Top 10 datacentre stories of 2012

Software-defined datacentres, sustainable and green IT, power and cooling management, DCIM tools and keeping the datacentre running despite hurricane are 2012's datacentre highlights

The emergence of software-defined datacentres and the growing focus on a datacentre facility’s energy efficiency were the two crucial factors that defined the industry in 2012.

Lowering IT budgets and ever-increasing volumes of data meant that datacentre managers had to make their datacentres efficient or be blamed for running a “cost-centre”.

Shrinking space and rising utility costs were the biggest pain-points for datacentre managers. So, despite growing volumes of data, they could not simply add more hardware racks to the datacentre but improve the utilisation rate of existing storage resources and cut cooling costs.

But the pressure to make a datacentre “green” and energy efficient was not just to save on power costs but also to comply with the stricter and more complex carbon emission regulations.

Studies showed that by 2012, datacentre power requirements grew by 63% globally to 38GW from 24GW in 2011.

2012 was also the year when more enterprises such as Google, Intel, Facebook and Goldman Sachs among others made a green datacentre part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. For instance, Google collaborated with Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to use wind energy to power its Oklahoma datacentre.

Even smaller, colocation facilities also focused on making their datacentres efficient with the use of environmental-friendly cooling techniques such as free air cooling and water cooling to power their datacentres.

But those that didn’t think about datacentre energy too much paid a heavy price. For instance, the NY Times article on Microsoft wasting tonnes of energy to avoid penalties raised serious questions about the bad practices in the industry.

Meanwhile, the industry consortiums such as The Green Grid, the British Computer Society (BCS) and the European Commission outlined measures to make datacentre industry “green” and “sustainable”. 2012 was the year when new energy metrics were launched and the call to standardise PUE intensified.

As enterprises embarked on a strategy to make their datacentres efficient performance-wise too, vendors launched initiatives to help companies automate their datacentres. A software-defined datacentre is one where all infrastructure, including networking, storage and security, is virtualised and delivered and managed entirely by software. It was seen as the first essential step towards the journey to the cloud.

Here are our top ten datacentre stories that defined the industry in 2012:

Microsoft's datacentre energy waste highlights datacentre bad practices

Microsoft has wasted millions of watts of energy in its Redmond Quincy datacentre to avoid a $210,000 fine for underuse, according to the New York Times. While at a legal level, the software giant was right, morally and environmentally Microsoft “does not have a leg to stand on,” say experts.

Goldman Sachs adopts modular datacentres to save costs, improve efficiency

In its bid to reduce carbon footprint and save energy costs, investment bank Goldman Sachs has adopted modular datacentres in US, UK and Singapore. The modular datacentre strategy is part of the bank’s commitment to green technology. In May 2012, it planned to invest $40bn in clean energy products over a 10-year timeframe.

Manual efforts keep Peer 1 datacentre running amid Hurricane Sandy

Four days of non-stop manual efforts by datacentre staff at Peer 1 Hosting to deliver gallons of fuel to 17th floor generators has helped the colocation provider’s Manhattan facility remain operational despite hurricane Sandy.

Global census shows datacentre power demand grew 63% in 2012

Datacentre energy requirements grew massively in 2012, suggesting that existing measures are not enough to limit datacentre power use. Between 2011 and 2012, power requirements grew by 63% globally to 38GW (gigawatts), up from 24GW in 2011, a study revealed.

Google to use wind energy to power Oklahoma datacentre

Google has entered into an agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to use 48MW of wind energy to power its Oklahoma datacentre as part of the company’s commitment to carbon neutrality.

Software-defined datacentres demystifies

Software-defined datacentre was one of the biggest highlights of the annual VMworld 2012 event. The premise behind a software-defined datacentre is that all infrastructure, including networking, storage and security, is virtualised and can be delivered and managed entirely by software. But what does it bring to an enterprise’s IT infrastructure?

Global taskforce for datacentre energy efficiency pick three new metrics

In addition to PUE, datacentre operators have three new metrics – Green Energy Coefficient (GEC), Energy Reuse Factor (ERF) and Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE)

Domino’s Pizza:  Datacentre Transformation

IT director from Domino’s Pizza explains at Computer Weekly’s 500 Club for IT leaders in May 2012 how a project to move the company datacentre into the cloud, has transformed its online business. It covers Domino's datacentre transformation programme and the impact it had on the business.

Truths and myths of datacentre energy efficiency

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to optimising datacentre efficiency, so CIOs should consider all available options.

The rise of Datacentre infrastructure management (DCIM)

DCIM brings together what used to be stand-alone functions such as datacentre design, asset discovery and management, capacity planning and energy management. Choosing a datacentre infrastructure management tool can be a daunting task, but doing so can go a long way toward making your datacentre more efficient.

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