Data centres running out of electricity

Data centres running out of electricity

Some 42 per cent of US firms expect to run out of power and cooling capacity within two years

Some 42 per cent of data centre managers expect to run out of electricity within two years, and 39 per cent say they will exceed cooling capacity within the same period.

A survey of 311 data centre managers in the US was conducted by the Uptime Institute earlier this month. Every respondent reported they were running out of power and cooling capacity, with some expecting to hit current limits earlier than others.

The result is that all data centres will have to spend considerably more money on electricity to power and cool equipment in the future, with ongoing power and cooling costs set to exceed server purchase price for the first time in less than two years, according to the survey.

CPU and server manufacturers are looking to build computers that use less power, and data centre managers can help by decommissioning older, power-hungry servers which are only partially utilised and consolidating their workloads elsewhere.

Companies can also help reduce energy bills by switching to thin client devices in their infrastructure.

Separate research commissioned by thin client vendor IGEL Technology and conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute last year estimated that thin clients use up to 50 per cent less power than desktop PCs – between 40 and 50 watts (including the server) compared to 85 watts on average.

Based on the latest IDC figures that suggest thin clients represented 10 per cent of new PCs shipped in Western Europe in 2007, this has already saved 166,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.