Wednesday, 18 April 2007

The Power Question

I've seen a lot of discussion (and I think a bit of a theme at SNW) on power consumption in datacentres. Obviously the subjects of global warming and increased energy prices have put the subject at the centre of focus. But I think when datacentres are being built, there isn't an issue. The problem comes along as the datacentre fills up with equipment. Invariably, new equipment (especially in the storage world) is coming in denser and requiring more power per rack or square metre. So, as equipment is swapped out and replaced, the original calculations done on how much power per square metre is needed are no longer accurate and the balance tips from one of "have we got the space" for new equipment to one of "can we power the new kit up".

I don't see how this problem will be solved as datacentre planners will always cater for the power/cooling of today's products, not the mythical power demands of future products. Datacentres will therefore have a finite life, after which you may as well start again.

Here's a practical example; There is a manufacturer of highly dense storage arrays (that don't need to be powered up all the time) who can't deploy into a number of London datacentres I know because product density would cause the array to fall to the floor. The datacentres were never designed to take products of that weight...

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