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Volume 29, Issue 4

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Wednesday, 24 April 2013 16:33

Emerson Network Power Survey of North American Data Center Users Shows Growing Concern Over Heat Density; Infrastructure Monitoring Remains Important

Columbus, Ohio – Heat density is once again becoming
a top-of-mind issue for data center managers, according to a spring
survey of data center users from Emerson Network Power, a business of
Emerson (NYSE:EMR) and a global leader in maximizing availability,
capacity and efficiency of critical infrastructure.

The spring installment of the biannual survey, sponsored by Emerson
Network Power, polled members of the Data Center Users’ Group^® (DCUG),
an association of influential data center, IT and facility managers, and
captured input from more than 100 respondents across North America. The
questions covered a variety of data center topics including data center
monitoring and management, capacity constraints, third-party colocation
providers, energy efficiency and heat and power density.

The survey results show that, for the first time in two years, heat
density is again one of the three biggest concerns for data center
professionals.When asked to identify their top three facility/network
concerns, 42 percent of respondents cited heat density, ranking it
third, behind energy efficiency (49 percent) and adequate monitoring (51
percent). Heat density was cited as the number one concern for the first
four years of the survey, starting in 2005. In the spring 2012 survey,
it dropped to fourth place, and adequate monitoring, availability and
energy efficiency remained in the top three until this spring’s survey.

“Throughout the past few years, much emphasis has been placed on
availability, infrastructure monitoring and efficiency; and rightly so,”
said Bob Miller, vice president, Liebert global solutions, Emerson
Network Power in North America, and a member of the DCUG board of
directors. “As data center professionals continue to struggle with
growing capacity needs and tightened budgets, attention is turning back
to one of the most fundamental aspects of the data center infrastructure
– effectively and efficiently managing heat. If not addressed, heat
density issues threaten to negatively impact performance levels of the
data center.”

The trend toward consolidation and growth is reflected in the plans data
center professionals have for their data centers throughout the next 12
months. When asked the question, 65 percent plan to consolidate or
replace existing servers, 64 percent plan to add additional servers, 27
percent plan to consolidate multiple data centers and 19 percent plan to
build a new data center. While 26 percent expressed plans to move at
least part of their operation to colocation or hosting providers, there
are still some perceived drawbacks to the option. Seventy percent cited
lack of control as the primary drawback of utilizing a colocation or
hosting provider; this was followed by increased cost (53 percent),  a
setup not unique to specific needs (29 percent) and security concerns
(22 percent).

When asked how the professional skill set demanded of data center
managers is changing, 75 percent said it’s increasingly important to
understand how various data center systems work together to support
overall objectives. In addition, 73 percent of respondents indicated
that a greater ability to ‘see the big picture’ is a necessary skill.
“It’s no longer enough for data center managers to know that all the
lights in their facilities are green,” said Miller. “They need to
understand the interconnectivity of systems and how they collectively
support the business’ abilty to grow and change. This is also likely why
we’re seeing data center monitoring and management rank as the top
concern, since these data center infrastructure management systems can
provide a window to those valuable business insights.”

Additional results include the following:

  * Fifty-six percent believe their existing data center capacity will
    suffice for three years or less.
  * Twenty-seven percent reported experiencing hot spots within the past
    12 months, while 15 percent reported experiencing an outage.
  * Thirty percent cited a lack of capital expenditure as the primary
    limiting factor on their organization’s ability to accommodate growth.
  * The average power density per rack was 5.94 kW, up slightly from
    5.92 kW in the fall 2012 survey.
  * The top operational and efficiency-related metrics being measured in
    the data center are temperature (93 percent), power utilization (88
    percent), humidity (79 percent) and cooling utilization (72
    percent). Fifty-six percent of respondents currently measure power
    usage effectiveness (PUE).

Founded in 2003, the DCUG consists of approximately 1,000 members across
North America; the group meets semi-annually to collaboratively discuss
best practices, share experiences and address the most relevant issues
affecting the reliability, availability and cost of operation for
critical installations. The group’s membership comprises executives with
a wide variety of IT and facilities management expertise from numerous
companies and industries, including board member companies Vanguard,
Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions and Delta Air Lines, Inc., among

For more information on the DCUG, visit www.DataCenterug.org
<http://www.DataCenterug.org>. For more information on technologies and
services from Emerson Network Power, visit www.EmersonNetworkPower.com