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Data centers turn to outsourcing to meet capacity needs

James Niccolai, IDG News Service | May 10, 2011
More large companies are turning to collocation providers to relieve capacity constraints in their data centers, as a way to avoid the high cost of building their own new brick-and-mortar facilities, two studies suggest.

Uptime's data on cloud computing was mixed. Twenty-six percent of respondents said they were not considering cloud services of any kind. Twenty-one percent said they were building private clouds and 2 percent said they were using public cloud services. Fourteen percent were using both.

Companies that operate their own data centers are using several techniques to improve energy efficiency. The most widely used, according to the Uptime survey, are server virtualization, used by 82 percent of respondents; hot aisle/cold aisle containment, used by 77 percent; and power monitoring and measurement, used by 67 percent.

Fifty-seven percent have raised the inlet temperatures on chillers, basically running their data centers at higher temperature; and 46 percent are using variable speed drives, which allow cooling fans to adjust their speed depending on the temperature. (As with most of the questions, respondents could select all the answers that apply, so the percentages add up to more than 100.)

Other data points in the Uptime survey include the following:

-- Of those considering cloud computing, 61 percent said the primary driver is scalability/flexibility; 25 percent said it's to reduce costs; 9 percent said it's because they are running out of capacity; and 5 percent said they hoped to reduce staffing burdens.

-- Seventy-three percent of respondents said their facilities or real estate department pays the data-center power bill. Only 19 percent said it's the IT department and 8 percent didn't know. Industry experts say IT departments should be given at least some responsibility for the power bill, because it will encourage them to use less energy.

-- Of those trying to save energy, 87 percent do it to save money, 45 percent for corporate responsibility efforts, 37 percent to free up capacity, and 13 percent for compliance or regulation. Four percent said they do it for PR/marketing reasons.


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