How to manage Data Centres

Started by dhilipkumar, Jan 02, 2009, 12:29 PM

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How to manage data centres

With a focus on going green, reducing the escalating power costs and lessening downtime to zero, the challenges to managing a data centre are manifold. IT consolidation and transforming the data centre has become the imperative need for a CIO. According to an IDC study, more than 40% of data centres will be replaced within the next 10 years. Over the next five years, power failures and limits on power availability will halt data centre operations of over 90% companies. Lee Bonham director worldwide solutions at HP believes that greening of data centres and delivering 24x7, lights-out data centre are the major requirements of companies now.

"Data centre transformation basically rests in four domains - facilities, IT infrastructure, management and operations and applications and information. The data centres also have to have built-in business continuity and availability. We at HP have managed to consolidate 85 data centres into six global ones," he says. The consolidation helped HP in 60% reduction in annual energy use. It also gave 80% more processing power with 30% fewer servers and reduced the data storage costs while doubling capacity.

Indeed, such a consolidation will be helpful as servers have become more power hungry even as they have become more advanced. This means, greater carbon emissions from data centres. Removing one server is equivalent to planting 12 trees or removing a car from the road, says global business manager for green IT at HCL Technologies' infrastructure services division Sumit Agrawal. "Every customer has green on his mind. Every CIO wants to consolidate his data centres," Mr Agrawal says. The awareness level is already there and customers are now looking at solutions to 'green' their data centres, he adds.

There are many technology solutions available in the market today which can reduce power costs, enhance cooling and reduce data storage costs through techniques such as virtualization and dynamic smart cooling. In a virtualized environment software can be run on virtual machines rather than actual hardware. The virtual machines simulate the hardware in real time. Smart cooling helps to reduce power costs and reduces companies carbon footprint. Former Nasscom president Kiran Karnik says: "Today what is good for the environment is also good for the business. So companies should come forward and reduce their costs by having state-of-the-art data centres."

The problem can get more acute as demand for data centres will only grow in the future. A surge in storage demand in India, growing from one petabyte (one quadrillion bytes) in 2001 to more than 34 petabytes by 2007, has increased the demand for data storage centres. The data centres growth will be driven by sectors such as banking, telecom, manufacturing and services. The total data centre capacity in India is expected to reach 5.1 million square feet by 2012 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 31% from 2007 to 2012, according to Gartner.

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