Data centre expansion may become ‘infinite’

Businesses should be ready for the inevitability that data centres will continue to expand nearly endlessly moving forward. A recent Gartner report said that increasing corporate demands stemming from rising computing needs and storage capacity are placing greater emphasis on how well companies can support not only today’s functions, but tomorrow’s as well. Floor space, power and cooling are all major considerations for what the research firm calls the “infinite” data centre.

David Cappuccio, Gartner’s research vice president, explained that data centre managers often make a serious error based on their companies’ data centres. This mistake is that decision-makers base future estimates on current workloads and do not consider future growth.

“This seemingly logical approach is based on two flawed assumptions: that the existing floor space is already being used properly and usable space is purely horizontal,” Cappuccio said.

Rather than measuring data centre needs based on variables such as floor space, Gartner encouraged managers to consider computing capacity per kilowatt or per square foot to plan for future demands. This way, a data centre comprised of 40 server racks with 520 physical servers can be optimized to four times this amount during the next 10 years to house such equipment.

“A data centre manager who rethinks his organization’s floor plans, cooling and server refreshes can house the increased computing capacity in the original floor space, and help meet growing business needs indefinitely,” Cappuccio explained. “We will witness small data centre environments with significant computing growth rates maintaining exactly the same footprint for the next 15 to 20 years.”

Companies preparing for data centre growth
A Campos Research & Analysis survey conducted on behalf of Digital Realty found that 98 percent of senior executives expect their companies to expand their data centres this year or in 2014. This percentage marks the highest ever measured during the seven years that the study has been conducted.

Of those polled, the need for enhanced security was named as the top priority for data centre expansion, followed by energy efficiency, support for new applications and space requirements. This year’s study revealed that the average size of data centres is 18,500 square feet, compared to 17,200 square feet measured last year. In 2012, 74 percent of respondents used hot or cold aisle containment tools, while 80 percent are doing so this year.

A number of disruptive IT trends are reshaping the modern data centre. Digital Realty CEO Michael Foust said that technologies such as virtualization, cloud computing, big data and other solutions are all affecting the growth of data centres.

Executives who want to make sure their businesses are ready for the needed rapid expansion of the data centre will likely consider using virtualization and other similar methodologies to manage such expansion. FlexITy, one of the largest managed service providers in Canada, can help clients with their data centre workloads. With virtualization and other data centre solutions from FlexITy, companies are ready for today’s computing demands and tomorrow’s growth.