Top Trends to Watch for the Data Center

In a recent Gartner presentation on “Infrastructure and Operations: Top 10 Trends to Watch,” Gartner Managing VP Ray Paquet noted the impact of increasing computing density on the data center. One interesting graphic showed that while the installed base of new servers has held fairly steady at 50 billion over the past six years, power and cooling purchases have more than doubled during the same time period. This is quite a testament to the trend toward high density, high use of floor space, and the need for cooling devices to contain the heat and energy usage in the data center.

Gartner’s Top 10 Trends to Watch:

1.    Virtualization Is Just Beginning
2.    Big Data — The Elephant in the Room
3.    Energy Efficiency and Monitoring
4.    Unified Communications — Extended
5.    Staff Retention and Retraining
6.    Social Networks — Ready or Not
7.    Legacy Migrations — Your Users
8.    Compute Density — Scale Vertically
9.    Cloud Computing
10.  Converged Fabrics

Gartner noted that organizations are contending with cores doubling every two years, racks continuing to get denser, and a movement toward smaller data centers with greater density.

Paquet noted that a typical data center can consume 40 times more energy than the offices it supports. That’s a big imbalance that needs to be addressed – and Gartner says that monitoring and reporting on energy consumption will be mandated by 2012, involving the EPA in the U.S. and the EU in Europe. As Gartner says, “The power issue is moving up the food chain.”

Data center managers are beginning to map server growth to the energy and cooling required by those servers.

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