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Top Ten Data Center Trends and Challenges for 2009


Top Ten Data Center Trends and Challenges for 2009 Matt Stansberry Senior Site Editor 541-505-7793 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Top Ten Data Center Trends and Challenges for 2009

Top Ten Data Center Trends and Challenges for
  • Matt Stansberry
  • Senior Site Editor
  • 541-505-7793

  • Data center operators are facing more change
    today than any time in the past 10 years. The
    increased demand for computing capacity, uptime
    and lower costs is forcing data center pros to
    push the boundaries of traditional data center
    designs and technologies. This presentation will
    offer an overview of the top ten trends shaping
    the industry in 2009.

What We Learned From Our Survey
  • Server trends are holding steady -- x86 rack
    based computers are driving data center
    purchasing and design.
  • Data center managers are paying more for power
    and becoming increasingly aware of new green
    technologies. But nearly 40 of respondents dont
    know if their power bill changed from 2007-2008
    they are not measuring costs or consumption.
  • Virtualization is mainstream and growing, with VM
    deployments and density on the rise. Backup and
    DR tools lead the current third party tool usage
  • Systems management spending is still weak, but
    the majority of companies are investing or have
    invested in CMDB software, which analysts say is
    the first step toward building a mature systems
    management foundation.

About The Audience
  • 12 of respondents identify themselves as IT
    execs (VP, CTO, CIO), 27 as IT managers.
  • Nearly 30 work for companies with over 1
    billion in revenue and over 10,000 employees.
  • 73 of respondents work in a central data center.
  • 13 manage over 1,000 servers.

Budget Growth Averages 5.12 -- An Increase From
2007 Growth Estimates
1. Container Data Centers
So What Is A Container Data Center?
  • Portable data centers are built into a standard
    20' shipping container.
  • External cooling and power infrastructure are
  • Some systems use closed loop water cooling, some
    specialized high density air cooling.
  • Different designs have variable compute
    densities, ranging from 8 to 28 racks, depending
    on server form factor and cooling strategies.

Why Data Center Trailers? Unsustainable Data
Center Growth
  • Companies are building new data centers to
    provide additional power for an increasing number
    of servers.
  • The primary drivers are application growth and
    disaster recovery.
  • In our 2007 survey on data center construction,
    more than 80 of respondents said they planned to
    build new facilities or expand in the coming 18
  • According to AFCOM, over 60 of pre-2005 data
    centers will be incapable of supporting business
    requirements because of capacity constraints by
  • This construction boom is not a onetime catch-up.
    Uptime says server growth will drive additional
    data center construction every three to five

Everybody Is Building Containers
  • Sun Modular Data Center
  • Verari FOREST Container
  • HP Performance Optimized Data Center (POD)
  • IBM iDataPlex container
  • APC mobile data center
  • Dell (coming soon)

Suns Modular Data Center
Modular Data Center External Infrastructure
Rackable ICE Cube
Top Selling Points For Containers
  • Ten times faster to deploy than a traditional
    data center.
  • Reduced capital expenses with incremental growth.
  • Flexibility to relocate and reuse data center
  • High density, high efficiency design.

Top Container Drawbacks
  • Cost premium on one-off designs
  • Specialized engineering requirements
  • Homogenous IT architecture isnt a fit for most
  • Difficult to work inside containers
  • Scale is too large for most companies

2. CMDB Implementations
  • 80 of IT failures are due to changes in the
  • IT admins' daily to-do lists are getting longer,
    and the information they need to complete these
    tasks is changing faster.

What Is A CMDB?
  • A configuration management database (CMDB) is a
    database that contains all relevant information
    about the components in a data center, and
    relationships between those components.
  • CMDB components are referred to as configuration
    items (CI). CIs can include software, hardware,
    documentation, and personnel.
  • The processes of configuration management seeks
    to specify, control, and track configuration
    items and any changes made to them in a
    comprehensive and systematic fashion.

Rapid Adoption Of CMDBs
  • In SearchDataCenter.coms 2007 purchasing
    intentions survey, 24 of respondents had
    invested in a CMDB, and another 24 were
    evaluating them.
  • 2008 55 have invested in a CMDB, 5 will
    purchase, and another 19 plan to evaluate this
  • HP, BMC lead in market share, with CA and IBM

Adoption Vs. Implementation
  • Gartners CMDB adoption numbers match ours, but
    say only 3-5 of global 2000 companies have
    completed the implementation of a CMDB.
  • One wonders how many people doing CMDB are in
    fact putting in an asset database, or some other
    user-defined version of CMDB. Or how many are
    there where doing means Fred has been told to
    come up with something in his spare time with no
    budget. Or where doing means we bought a tool
    that says CMDB on the brochure but we havent got
    past implementing network alerting or incident
    tickets yet. IT Skeptic

CMDB Implementation Pitfalls
  • Manually populating a CMDB is time consuming
    project. Automated data management products can
    federate systems quickly, but homegrown
    applications and heterogeneous data centers make
    automation difficult.
  • IT systems change faster than staff can manually
    update the CMDB. Without automated federation,
    latency develops in the system.

3. Put Servers To Sleep
  • A server running at 20 utilization may draw up
    to 80 of its maximum power.
  • The vast majority of companies could throttle or
    power-down idle servers with no impact on
    application performance.

Power-Down Features Gain Ground In 2008 Survey
How Do You Power-Down Servers?
  • Chip Level AMD and Intel Corp. use features that
    allow server firmware to throttle down CPU cycles
    during low-demand periods. Intel calls the
    technology Demand-Based Switching, which
    minimizes the applied voltage and clock speed on
    a microprocessor until more processing power is
    actually required. AMD calls the technology
    PowerNow and claims that it can reduce CPU power
    at idle by 75.
  • OS Level Microsoft built processor power
    management into its operating system in Windows
    Server 2003, but the majority of users never
    enabled the feature. In Windows Server 2008 power
    management is enabled out of the box. The new
    power management feature provides finer-grain
    controls that allow the OS to scale back the
    voltage going to the processor, rather than
    putting CPUs to sleep when servers are idle,
    which can result in latency issues.

Power-Down Process Continued
  • Element manager level These software tools ship
    free with servers. Major players are entering
    this field, but the capabilities are often
    single-vendor solutions. HPs Insight Power
    Manager (ProLiant and Itanium) and IBMs
    PowerExecutive (BladeCenter and System x) are two
    examples. While specific to hardware vendors,
    these tools allow for real-time monitoring, power
    capping and CPU throttling.
  • Third-party tools New companies are touting
    vendor neutral products that can manage across
    virtual and physical servers, providing
    policy-based throttle down features. The most
    prominent company in this space is Cassatt.
    Virtualization vendors such as Virtual Iron,
    VMware and Citrix are all getting involved in
    capabilities to shut down physical machines when
    there are no virtual machines running on the
    hardware, but these are brand new features.

Active Power Myths Debunked
  • MYTH 1 Some believe that turning servers on and
    off compromises hardware reliability. But
    computers are designed to handle 40,000 on-off
    cycles before failure, and youre not likely to
    approach that number during the average
    computers five- to seven-year life span. In
    fact, IBM and Hewlett- Packard encourage their
    employees to turn off idle computers, and some
    studies indicate it would require on-off cycling
    every five minutes to harm a hard drive.
  • MYTH 2 It takes more energy to turn off a server
    for a few hours and then back on rather than to
    just leave it running. The small surge of power
    created when devices such as computers are turned
    on is vastly smaller than the energy used by
    running a device when it is not needed.

Problems With Power-Down
  • Performance latency potential.
  • Servers support fragile, multi-tiered data center
  • Huge consequences for system failures.
  • A lack of major case studies.
  • Hardware stability FUD.
  • Case for ROI is still developing.

4. Cloud Computing Goes Mainstream
What Is Cloud Computing?
  • The basic concept is on-demand access to
    computing power and storage space via the
  • Companies are providing CPUs and storage, but the
    next step is providers bundling applications and
    platforms into the mix.

Resistance Is Futile
  • Google, Yahoo, MSFT host applications I use in
    the cloud every day (like Gmail).
  • At a recent industry conference, data center
    managers from very conservative companies (Ford,
    Boeing) said theyd have no problem putting
    non-critical apps into the cloud.
  • Data center hosting companies are talking about
    building out high density infrastructure to
    either rent to cloud providers -- or to become
    cloud providers themselves.

Benefits Of Cloud Computing
  • Lower capital costs Cloud costs less than data
    center expansion.
  • Increase efficiency by reducing over-provisioning
    of data center resources.
  • More business agility On-demand computing is
    faster than data center infrastructure build out.
  • Disaster recovery Backup can be abstracted from
    physical layer

Cloud Risks And Pitfalls
  • The main consumers of cloud computing are SMBs,
    startups and end users that don't have legacy
    constraints of large companies.
  • Cloud companies could go under, get acquired or
    just disappear in an outage. Users need to have
    documented recovery processes.
  • Compliance and security issues with sensitive
    data, shared IT resources and unknown third-party
    IT staff.
  • Lack of ISV application support as each cloud
    architecture is different.

Cloud Computing Providers
5. Hot And Cold Aisle Containment Gaining
  • Up to 40 of cooling in traditional
    hot-ailse/cold-aisle doesn't do any work. Air
    mixes over the tops of racks and around the rows.
  • Hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment uses a physical
    barrier to separate airflow through makeshift
    design solutions, ducted plenum systems and other
    commercial offerings.

Benefits Of Containment
  • The separation of hot and cold air can provide
    much better uniformity of air temperature from
    the top to the bottom of the rack.
  • That uniformity of temperature enables data
    center pros to raise the set point temperature
    more safely.
  • William Tschudi from LBNL said that, together
    with VFDs, containment can reduce fan energy use
    by 75.

Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle Containment Problems
  • APC promotes hot-aisle containment, while Emerson
    Liebert's product line supports cold aisle. No
    standards at this time.
  • Hot aisle containment can pose a problem for
    staff that need to access the 110-degree hot
  • Fire suppression issues abound. Are you putting a
    sprinkler inside every containment unit? Are you
    using plastic sheeting that will melt and drop to
    the floor?
  • Executives may not support that your data center
    looks like the back of a butcher shop.

(No Transcript)
Who Is Doing Containment?
  • Yahoo reduced data center cooling energy use 21,
    reduced PUE ratio from 1.52 to 1.44, saving
    563,000 annually in a 8,000 sq. ft. room within
    Yahoos 40,000 sq. ft. data center in Santa
    Clara, Calif.
  • Advanced Data Centers is building a facility in
    Sacramento, Calif. The hot aisle will be
    contained by attaching a ducted plenum and
    chimney to exhaust the hot air outside, allowing
    ADC to pressurize the entire room with cool air.
  • Storage vendor NetApp has employed vinyl meat
    locker curtains to contain air in the hot aisles
    in its Silicon Valley data center. These curtains
    alone save NetApp 1 million kWh of energy per

6. Global Warming Policies Impacting The Data
Computers Run On Coal
  • Half of all the electricity generated in the U.S.
    comes from coal-burning power plants.
  • By reducing energy consumption, we lessen the
    demand to build more of these polluters.
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that
    a 500-megawatt coal-burning power plant
    generates 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide,
    the primary cause of human-related global
    warming 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, which
    causes acid rain and 500 tons of airborne
    particles, responsible for respiratory health

Regulation On The Horizon?
  • There are massive efforts afoot in government
    agencies to start reporting carbon emissions and
    energy usage. That responsibility is going to be
    shifted to IT departments that maintain the data
    centers. We've attended the EPA forums, and it's
    not a question of if, but when, it is coming and
    what metrics will be required. It'd be far better
    for the people who run and operate data centers
    to come up with metrics that mean
    something. -Mike Manos, Microsoft

Climate Change Legislation Imminent
  • A carbon cap and trade scheme will drive energy
    costs up an estimated 20. Data center operators
    already constricted by huge power bills are in
    for even more sticker shock at the meter in the
  • The Warner-Lieberman Climate Security Act did not
    pass Senate committee, but both presidential
    candidates will make this a priority in the
    upcoming term.

7. IT Certifications Become Less Relevant
Has Certification Been A Factor In Your Hiring Or
Has Certification Been A Factor In Bonus Or
Certifications Not Worth Much
  • Regard for IT certifications has taken a nosedive
    -- 80 of respondents said IT certifications had
    no impact on their hiring, promotion or salary in
    the past year.
  • According to research from Foote Partners LLC, an
    IT job research firm, the pay for noncertified IT
    skills now averages more than pay for certified
  • IT has become less technical and has gotten
    closer to the customers and lines of business.
    Companies want more industry experience and
    understanding of the business process.

Exceptions To The Rule
  • VMware Certified professionals Companies want
    employees with three to four years of
    virtualization experience.
  • Marists CDCP certification is made up of six
    associate certifications. It takes two years to
    go through the coursework.
  • Data center engineering in demand. From the NY
    Times People with the skills to design, build
    and run a data center that does not endanger the
    power grid are suddenly in demand. Their status
    is growing, as are their salaries -- climbing
    more than 20 in the last two years into six
    figures for experienced engineers.

8. Virtualization Production Issues, Third-Party
Tools At A Turning Point
  • According to a 2008 survey
    --61 of our readers use some form of
    virtualization and another 29 will deploy it
    this year. Only 10 of respondents had no plans
    for virtualization.
  • But virtualization isn't without its
    difficulties. Asked which systems management
    tasks gave them trouble in VMware environments,
    respondents replied with a laundry list of
  • Customers are waiting to see third-party
    virtualization management tools mature before
    investing in them.

Top Virtualization Systems Management Challenges
  • Performance management, noted by 47 of
  • Capacity planning (45)
  • Backup and restore, change management, disaster
    recovery, troubleshooting and migration were all
    listed as challenges by 20 to 30 of

Which Third-Party VM Security Vendors Do You
Which Third-Party Migration Tools Do You Use?
In A VMware Environment, Which Systems Management
Function Do You Find Most Challenging?
What Is The Main Reason For Not Investing In
Systems Management Software?
9. Server Trends For 2009
Nothing Too Shocking
  • HP is still the favorite x86 server vendor.
  • A good portion of data centers still favor rack
    servers over blades.
  • The vast majority use Microsoft Windows as the
    primary operating system.
  • Increase in large symmetric multiprocessing (SMP)
    servers, probably driven by the expanding use of

Which Operating Systems Are You Using For Mission
Critical Apps? (Check All That Apply)
Web Servers The Most Common App
Performance Is Still The Most Important Factor
For Purchasing Blade Servers
Intel Continues To Dominate Processor Selection
On x86 What Processor Will You Specify For
Servers In 2008?
10. Standardizing Data Center Energy Metrics
Energy Issues Increasingly Important How
Important Is Energy Efficiency In Your
36 Of Respondents Dont Know What Their Power
Bill IsThis is dysfunctional!
Why Metrics Matter
  • Metrics like PUE will help data center managers
    make better decisions. You cant manage what you
    cant measure. This will give us empirical
    evidence on which energy efficient best
    practices are really working and allow users to
    determine ROI on projects.

PUE Total facility power IT equipment power
Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency Or PUE
  • Power in to the data center (measured at the
    utility electric meter), divided by power out
    used to run the IT equipment for computing.
  • The Uptime Institute 85 corporate members (the
    largest financial data centers in the world) have
    an average PUE of 2.5. This means that for every
    2.5 watts in at the utility meter, only one
    watt is delivered out to the IT load.
  • Uptime estimates a best case scenario of 1.6 PUE
    for companies with the most efficient equipment
    and no over provisioning capacity.

Measuring PUE
  • Take a measurement at the facilitys utility
    meter. If your data center is in a mixed-use
    facility, measure only at the meter that powers
    your data center facility. If power to your data
    center is not on a separate utility meter,
    estimate the amount of power being consumed by
    the nondata center portion of the building and
    remove it from your calculation.
  • The next step is to measure the IT equipment
    load, which should be measured after power
    conversion, switching and conditioning is
    completed. According to the Green Grid, the most
    likely measurement point would be at the output
    of the computer room power distribution units
    (PDUs). This measurement should represent the
    total power delivered to the compute equipment
    racks in the data center.

Measuring PUE (Continued)
  • While PDU is an accurate measurement, experts say
    the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) output may
    be a better option. If you measure at the UPS
    output, theres only one place to measure. If you
    do it at the pure location, which is the PDU
    output, you would likely have to measure 600 to
    700 locations to get the same information. One is
    more pure, but much more difficult. Whichever
    means users select, its important to measure the
    same way consistently.

  • Matt Stansberry, Senior Site Editor