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Energy Efficiency Tops Data Center Managers’ Concerns

Data center energy costs and equipment efficiency are the top-of-mind issues for data center managers, according to a fall survey of data center users from Emerson Network Power. The new installment of the biannual survey polled members of the Data Center Users’ Group (DCUG), an association of data center, IT and facility managers sponsored by Emerson Network Power, and captured input from more than 160 respondents across North America.

The survey results show that, for the second time this year, energy efficiency, availability and infrastructure monitoring are foremost on the minds of data center professionals. When asked to identify their top three facility/network concerns, 48 percent of respondents cited energy efficiency, making it the leading response to the question for the first time since the survey began in 2005. In spring of 2009, efficiency had reached the second position, and as recently as spring 2012, it was at the third position.

Adequate monitoring and data center management (46.3 percent) and availability (45.7 percent) were second and third on the list of top concerns this fall. Many data center managers are turning to monitoring and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools to provide visibility into capacity, budgets and energy efficiency initiatives, according to Emerson.

Along with energy efficiency, capacity issues continue to strain resources and negatively impact performance levels. Forty percent of DCUG respondents said they expect to run out of data center capacity by 2014, with another 29 percent expecting capacity constraints by 2017.

As in previous years, the survey also shows that data centers are running out of power and cooling before they run out of physical floor space. Thirty-five percent of respondents cited power as the primary factor limiting data center capacity, while 16 percent cited cooling. Only 12 percent gave floor space as the primary factor. Additional responses include the following:

  • Sixty-two percent have already, or are currently, analyzing their energy efficiency. Another 19 percent said they will be conducting an efficiency analysis in the near future.
  • When asked who they turn to first for expertise in power and cooling system design, 23 percent and 28 percent of respondents cited power and cooling sales representatives, respectively.
  • Forty-five percent already have implemented wireless technologies in their data centers and another 25 percent are considering doing so.

A report from IDC finds that power problems undermine the business value of data centers.

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