Data center operators cite rising power density, energy efficiency as chief concerns

June 5, 2008
June 5, 2008 -- Emerson Network Power recently announced the results of its Data Center Users' Group (DCUG) spring conference, held last month in Tampa, FL.

June 5, 2008 -- Emerson Network Power recently announced the results of its Data Center Users' Group (DCUG) spring conference, held last month in Tampa, FL. At the two-day conference, more than 230 industry experts representing 135 companies operating business-critical networks discussed issues including server virtualization, energy efficiency, cooling strategies, and high-density power distribution. Outcomes of the group's survey showed that data center operators are seeing rising power densities in their racks and a greater need for monitoring and energy efficient activities.

Emerson says that DCUG provides a collaborative, focused environment where those closest to the data center can address the issues, trends, challenges, and solutions associated with building a highly available, flexible, and cost-effective facility. The group's spring conference focused on analyzing emerging technologies and best practices for data centers, looking toward 2010 and beyond, and featured a series of discussions with experts from different focus areas, including presentations on subjects including: the impact of virtualization on the data center; next-generation cooling (supplemental, embedded and chip level); alternative UPS and distribution configurations; building an energy-efficient data center; and data center monitoring and measurement.

"The evolving data center demands new technologies and strategies, and a forum such as this, that includes industry thought leaders and experts sharing experiences and ideas, is an invaluable resource as we tackle these challenges," comments Bob Miller, vice president of marquee accounts at Emerson Network Power's Liebert business, and a member of the DCUG board of directors. "As an industry, we must adapt to take advantage of the opportunities presented by issues such as increasing heat densities, demands for high-density power distribution, and the growing need for effective energy efficiency strategies."

The DCUG members in attendance at the conference reviewed results from the group's recent industry survey that indicates an overwhelming majority of data center operators are seeing rising power densities in their racks and expect the trend to continue. Thirty-two percent of survey respondents reported an average of more than eight kilowatts (kW) per rack in their facilities, up from 25 percent at that level in 2006. Looking ahead, 57 percent said their rack power density would exceed that level by 2010.

"The significance is that once you get above eight kW, it really points out the need for next-generation high-density cooling strategies," notes Miller.

Survey respondents also demonstrated significantly more interest in monitoring and energy efficiency. In spring 2005, 18 percent said monitoring was important. That number jumped to 43 percent in this survey. The increased emphasis on energy efficiency is even more dramatic. In spring 2005, 0 percent said it was important. Now 40 percent say energy efficiency is important.

More than 150 DCUG member companies and non-member Fortune 500 companies participated in the survey, which covered a variety of data center topics including power management, precision cooling, server virtualization, and server consolidation.

Founded in 2003, the DCUG includes approximately 1,500 members; the group meets semi-annually to collaboratively discuss the most relevant issues affecting the reliability, availability and cost of operation for mission-critical installations. The group's membership comprises executives with a wide variety of IT and facilities management expertise from an assortment of companies, including board member companies Vanguard, Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions and JPMorgan Chase, among others.

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