Why Denser Data Centers Are Growing In Popularity

Josh Schaap
August 22, 2016

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An increasingly common conversation within the data center industry revolves around the need for flexibility balanced against the desire to save money. It’s getting harder to make the case that your enterprise needs more land for capacity expansion. At the same time, 27 percent of data center costs are for power, according to a DCD report in 2014 (http://anthesisgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Data-Center-Issue-Paper-final826.pdf). As you can imagine, the result has been a drive for proportionally higher server and power densities across the globe.

An new DCD whitepaper also found the following, related to density:

  • Management is growing more risk-averse. Maximizing a data center’s space lets its managers better handle demand down the road. 

  • Server racks are getting denser and denser. With this, they’re becoming more expensive to operate. As a result, the “fit out” has become more complex and dependent on networks and not just on servers. The demand for more outlets in a smaller form factor is likewise increasing.
  • IT loads are becoming less predictable. The peaks of demand fuelled by external sources, including mobile device traffic, will only grow exponentially with time. For data center managers, this translates to a need to stay ahead of demand via necessary infrastructure.
  • Data centers are quickly becoming spaces where companies share facilities with their competitors. Because of this, key architectures have emerged, including virtualization, cloud and software defined. These are abstracting the physical properties of the data center and reconstituting them wholly or partially into an IT layer.
  • Public scrutiny is driving denser data centers. Between public opinion and government regulation, the push is for data centers to be more energy efficient, using green tech. There’s also an economic motivation for data centers to conserve power: large facilities have been shown to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating expenses by adopting greener power management and cooling strategies.
The Impact of Increased Power Demand In Data Centers